Frequently Asked Questions about the April 2019 Rates

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has approved changes to the rates Enbridge Gas Inc., operating as Union Gas, charges its customers effective Apr.1, 2019. These new rates remain in effect through June 30, 2019 and incorporate applicable temporary charges and credits that don't affect the annual impacts on your bill.

Note that temporary charges and credits are excluded from the annual impacts table on the back page of your rate notice and explains what may appear as discrepancies between the information in the paragraphs and the tables.

Please go to rates to view the rates specific to your area.

Are my rates changing?

Yes, rates are decreasing for all customers. The details include:

  • Changes in the market price of natural gas and transportation services,
  • A small decrease in delivery rates,
  • Decreases in storage rates for Union North West and North East zones, and
  • Price adjustments from prior periods.

Gas costs - Gas commodity costs include information on the "Gas used" and "Gas price adjustment" lines on your bill. The net natural gas rate reflects what we expect to pay for gas supplies and transportation services during the next year as well as any adjustments to make up the difference between our forecast cost for gas and actual costs from prior periods. Also, in the Union South zone, the cost of transportation to Ontario is included in the "Gas used" charge and therefore there is no longer a separate "Transportation to Union Gas" line item on customer bills.

For customers in the Union South zone, the net decrease for gas supplies is about $20 a year. In the Union North West zone, there is a net annual decrease of about $17 for gas supplies, and there is a net annual decrease of about $25 in the Union North East zone.

Transportation costs - Transportation costs include all information on the "Transportation to Union Gas" and "Transportation price adjustment" lines on your bill and reflect the cost of transporting natural gas to Ontario from its North American sources.

Transportation costs vary depending on where you live due to changing fuel prices, pipeline tolls and available capacity on pipelines serving different parts of Ontario.

For customers in the Union South zone, the transportation cost is included in the "Gas used" line on your bill. In the North West zone, the net transportation cost decreased by about $32 annually. In the North East zone, the net transportation cost decreased by about $25 annually.

Delivery costs - Delivery costs include information on the "Delivery" and "Delivery price adjustment" lines on your bill and reflect the cost of delivering natural gas to your home or business through our safe and reliable distribution system.

For all residential customers in Ontario, there's a small decrease between about sixty cents and one dollar and ten cents a year in delivery costs; depending where you live, to safely and reliably deliver natural gas to your home or business.

Storage costs - Storage costs include information on the "Storage" and "Storage price adjustment" lines on your bill and reflect the cost of storing natural gas.

Storage cost decreases in the Union North West and Union North East zones are between $2.62 and $25.11 a year depending where you live. There is no change for customers in the Union South zone.

Why is Enbridge Gas Inc., operating as Union Gas, changing the rates customers pay for natural gas?

The current rate change reflects decreases in the price we expect to pay to buy natural gas supplies and transportation services from the market in the coming year. Enbridge Gas buys natural gas supplies from the market and we pay other pipelines to transport the gas supply from where it is produced into our distribution system in Ontario. We adjust the rates we charge our customers for these items quarterly to reflect changes in market prices, which are passed on to our customers without mark-up. In addition, there are adjustments for the difference between our forecast for natural gas and natural gas transportation market prices, storage and distribution costs and the actual costs from prior periods.

How long will these rates remain in effect?

These customer rates will remain in effect from April 1 through June 30, 2019.

Why do costs differ for different parts of the province?

Different areas of the province are served by a different mix of natural gas transportation pipelines and gas supply sources, and as such, the cost to purchase gas supplies and the services to transport the supplies into our distribution system in Ontario from the market for our customers, varies by location.

Are the rate changes a result of the announced merger between Union Gas and Enbridge Gas Distribution?

No, this rate change is part of an adjustment we make every three months, following Ontario Energy Board (OEB) approval, to reflect changes in the market price we expect to pay for natural gas supplies and transportation services. There are no changes Union Gas customers pay from the merger between Union Gas and Enbridge Gas Distribution.

I heard that Union Gas and Enbridge Gas Distribution have amalgamated, and I notice that my bill now includes mention of the name Enbridge Gas Inc. Is Union Gas changing its name and what does that mean for me?

On Jan.1, 2019, Union Gas and Enbridge Gas Distribution amalgamated into one utility, with the legal name Enbridge Gas Inc. For now, it is business as usual with no change to the services you receive from Union Gas. Please continue to interact with Union Gas as you have in the past; and our contact and emergency numbers have not changed. Union Gas will transition to the Enbridge name over time and we will keep our customers informed of any future changes.

How will this rate change impact Equal Billing Plan customers?

Equal billing payments are set each year in September based on a forecast of the amount of natural gas you would use in a year, and where natural gas prices are expected to be during the year. Periodically throughout the year, we review your equal billing account to determine if the payment is set at the right level. If it is not, we adjust it up or down based on the more current information, which includes your actual gas use and all rate changes. A final true up between what was paid and the actual cost occurs each August.

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

If you buy natural gas from an energy marketer, the price you pay for your gas supplies depends on the terms of the contract and is excluded from this rate change. For other services purchased from Union Gas (natural gas transportation, storage and delivery), residential customers will see an overall decrease of between $1 and $51 a year depending on location.

What are price adjustments and why does Union Gas adjust for the cost of natural gas and gas transportation services from prior periods?

The rates we charge customers for natural gas and gas transportation services is based on a forecast of the prices we expect to pay to buy these items from the market. The actual market costs can differ from our forecasts and adjustments are made quarterly (Jan. 1, April 1, July 1 and Oct. 1) to either refund or collect the difference so that you only pay the actual costs for these services and nothing more.

I noticed the same line twice on my bill. Am I being billed twice?

No, the billing period doesn't begin and end on the first and last days of each month, but covers a period somewhere mid-month to mid-month. Natural gas consumption for the period prior to a rate change is billed at the old rate and gas consumption after a rate change is billed at the new rate. The number of days at each rate depends on the monthly billing cycle of your account.

I heard that the Federal Government is implementing a carbon pricing program. How will that impact natural gas customers?

In October 2018, the federal government confirmed that Ontario will be subject to a carbon-pollution pricing program under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. Under this program, a new carbon charge of 3.91 cents per cubic meter (m3) of natural gas used will apply to natural gas, starting April 1, 2019. For the average Ontario household, it will add about $86 to $94 to your annual natural gas bill and the charge is expected to increase annually in April. All the money that we collect for the federal carbon charge goes to the federal government.

Current status

We applied to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) for approval to add the federal carbon charge to customer bills, effective April 1, 2019. Our application is still under review by the OEB, who will consider comments of stakeholders and external parties before making a decision on any new charges and bill presentation matters.

That means customers will not see any charges related to the federal carbon pricing program until the OEB provides approval. In the interim, we are required to track the costs related to the federal carbon charge starting April 1,2019 and will seek to recover these costs from customers at a later date.

What is Union Gas doing to help me manage my energy costs?

Union Gas is committed to improving energy efficiency through a range of products, services and incentive programs to help customers lower their energy use and save money. Learn more about Union Gas energy savings programs at uniongas.com/savemoney.