Homeowners and tenants of non-inclusive housing units can expect their heating and electricity bills to rise this winter, as Enbridge Gas has applied to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to raise natural gas rates once again.
If the request is approved, this year’s increases will add up to an average household paying $500 more in natural gas for 2022, compared to last year, squeezing people’s pocketbooks at a time of rising interest rates and other inflationary pressures.
Enbridge adjusts its prices every three months, in January, April, July and October.
The last hike came in early summer, after the OEB approved a 20% increase in June.
The escalation in rates reflects demand pressures in the market fuelled by geopolitical events, particularly the ongoing war in Ukraine that has caused natural gas prices around the world to soar, the global transition to renewable energy, Canada’s federal carbon tax and seasonal demand.
Approximately two-thirds of Canadians use traditionally gas-powered systems like furnaces and boilers to heat their homes, according to Statistics Canada.
Nearly 10% of the country’s electricity is generated by natural gas.
Homeowners can apply for different incentives to make their homes more energy-efficient. Enbridge offers a $5,000 rebate for eligible upgrades, including insulation, air sealing, water heater, boiler, furnace, and windows and doors. Low-income households can also apply for free insulation, draft proofing and a smart thermostat to reduce energy costs up to 30%.