Prepare for bill shock, Union Gas customers

Saturday, March 15, 2014   by: Rick McGee

Fallout from the long, cold winter of 2014 will likely mean a hard hit on Union Gas customers' pocketbooks.

Significantly higher bills could very well be a reality as early as next month.

Union Gas has applied to the Ontario Energy Board for rate increases that, if approved, would take effect as of April 1, 2014.

Customers should get ready for their bills to jump by about 20 percent.

“Residential customers in Northern and Eastern Ontario who buy gas from Union Gas [will] see an increase of about $16 a month, or $190 per year,” Union Gas spokesperson Carrie Dudley-Tatsu told Friday afternoon.

“That’s about a 20 percent total increase in their monthly gas bill.”

Dudley-Tatsu was describing the impact on a "typical" customer.

Proposed adjustments would, if approved, also see Southern Ontario residents absorbing monthly increases of $17, or about $200 for the next 12-month period.

Media coverage has also noted that Enbridge Gas Distribution wants to increase its price for natural gas by 40 percent.

According to CBC News, natural gas providers are seeking changes because cheaper supplies have been used up due to the harsh winter weather.

Providers must secure more expensive gas on the open market.

Union Gas says the increases it wants would boost residential customer costs to 20 cents per cubic metre.

That’s still well below the charge of around 27 cents per cubic metre in place 10 years ago.