Cold weather brings higher heating costs - January 2019 Rates

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Understanding Quarterly
Rate Changes

The rates Union Gas charges customers are regulated by the Ontario Energy Board and are adjusted every three months (January, April, July and October), to reflect changes in the market price of natural gas and natural gas transportation services. We buy these items from the market and pass the costs through to our customers without a mark-up. You pay what we pay.

How this impacts you
North American market prices for natural gas have increased recently as demand has risen due to colder than normal weather. Union Gas has applied to the Ontario Energy Board for an increase in the rates customers pay for natural gas starting Jan. 1, 2019 to reflect this change, which means bill increases for residential and business customers as follows (list):

Residential1 customers who buy natural gas from Union Gas will see the following changes:

  • Southern Ontario – an increase of about $55 a year, or about 8 per cent of the total natural gas bill.
  • North West Ontario – an increase of about $71 a year, or about 8 per cent of the total natural gas bill.
  • North East Ontario – an increase of about $53 a year, or about 5 percent of the total natural gas bill.

Business2 customers who buy natural gas from Union Gas will see the following changes:

  • Southern Ontario – an increase of $1,808 a year.
  • North West Ontario – an increase of $2,985 a year.
  • North East Ontario – an increase of $2,239 a year.

Despite the increase, your rates are lower than a year ago
This proposed rate increase follows four successive decreases in 2018 which means your total annual household bill is still up to 5 per cent lower3 than a year ago.

Union Gas can help you manage your energy costs

More than 50 per cent of the total amount of energy used in a home goes towards heating. So naturally, cold weather usually brings higher heating costs along with it. A few low-cost upgrades and simple changes of habit can help show real savings on your heating costs.

  • Programmable thermostat: Remember to set lower temperatures for sleeping and when you aren't at home.
  • Change furnace filters: Check them monthly and replace regularly.
  • Don't overcrowd your heating system: Allow air to flow freely.
  • Have your heating system serviced: For safety and efficiency.

Union Gas also offers the following programs to help you reduce and/or manage your energy costs:

  • Energy-saving advice, rebates and promotions
    We provide a variety of energy-saving programs, incentives and tools to help you save money on your energy bills. Find more tips and information at:
  • Equal Billing Plan
    Our Equal Billing Plan will help spread your gas costs evenly throughout the year so you won't get bigger bills in the winter and smaller ones in the summer. Enrol in the Equal Billing Plan today!

Natural gas remains the most affordable energy choice

Natural gas supplies are abundant and as a result the price gas consumers pay has steadily declined over time. Although there are seasonal fluctuations, natural gas prices are lower today than they were 10 years ago.

Heating your home and water with natural gas is far cheaper than using electricity, propane or oil. Homeowners can save between $1,700 and $2,200 a year by using natural gas rather than electricity, oil or propane for heat and hot water, compared to these other fuels.

Average Ontario Estimated Annual Cost of Energy
(annual average use of 82 GJ)

Information as of October 2018
Sources:
Propane & Heating Oil: The Kent Group. Rates taken for London for the South and Thunder Bay for the North.
Natural Gas: Union Gas Limited Rate Schedules.
Electricity: OEB time-of-use rates & utility-specific charges. Rates taken for London for the South and Thunder Bay for the North.

When will these rate changes go into effect?

We expect to apply to the Ontario Energy Board for January rate changes in mid-December. Once the rate changes are finalized and approved, the rates would remain in effect from Jan. 1 through Mar. 31, 2019.

Will the price of natural gas increase in the future?

The price of natural gas can vary based on the amount of supply or demand for the product. Although weather-related price fluctuations can happen, long-term forecasts indicate that natural gas will continue to be the most economical source of energy for homes and businesses.

How will this rate change impact equal billing customers?

Equal billing payments were established in September based on a forecast of the amount of natural gas used over the course of a year, and of what natural gas prices were forecast to be during that same period. We review equal billing accounts periodically through the year to determine if equal billing payments are set at the correct level based on more current information which includes rate changes. If it is not, we adjust payments up or down so that the total amount paid remains aligned with the expected cost. A final true up between what was paid and the actual cost occurs in August.

How does this rate change impact customers who buy natural gas from an energy marketer?

If you purchase your natural gas supplies from an energy marketer, the price paid for gas depends on the terms of the contract, and is excluded from this estimated rate change.

1 Average household using 2,200 m3 of natural gas a year
2 Average business using 73,000 m3 of natural gas a year in Southern Ontario and 93,000 m3 in Northern Ontario
3 Change in average annual bill - Jan. 1, 2018 to Jan. 1, 2019: South +4%, Northwest (–5%), Northeast (-1%)