Ontario has announced the passing of Bill 32, The Access to Natural Gas Act. The legislation makes it possible for a new program that, once the regulations are in place, would be designed to expand access to natural gas to more parts of rural and northern Ontario, as well as First Nations communities.
The province says the number of rural Ontario residents who stand to benefit from natural gas access is in the “tens of thousands.”
Switching from propane, electric heat, or oil to natural gas can save an average residential customer between $800 and $2,500 a year, the province estimates.
“This is really exciting news,” says farmer Duane Ferguson, owner of Ferguson’s Scattered Acres at Warwick. Ferguson grows soybeans, cereals, corn and sugar beets, and estimates his farm would save about half of its $50,000 heating bill once converted to natural gas.
The new program will be designed to help the private sector expand access to natural gas for up to 78 new communities in Ontario, the province says.
“We believe that a market solution, a private sector alternative, can keep more money in your pocket instead of using taxpayer dollars,” says Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines
Ontario is working with the Ontario Energy Board to develop the details of the new program.