The Peterborough Examiner e-edition

Energy bill is misguided

The Keeping Energy Costs Down Act, recently introduced into the Ontario Legislature by Todd Smith, Doug Ford’s minister of energy, is both misnamed and misguided.

The purpose of the Act is to overturn a decision of the Ontario Energy Board — an independent regulator charged with ensuring that the province has a reliable and affordable supply of energy.

That decision barred Enbridge Gas from continuing its longstanding practice of subsidizing new natural gas hookups by having them paid for over 40 years by all Enbridge customers.

The board’s decision was rooted in the fact that increasing numbers of Ontarians are choosing to replace their gas furnaces with electric heat pumps, which are more economical to operate and do not produce climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The board saw that as Enbridge lost customers, the remaining customers would be left to pay for natural gas infrastructure that was no longer in use, and no longer generating revenue. It ruled that from now on, developers and home buyers should pay for natural gas hookups in full at the time when they are made.

The advantages of this arrangement are clear: Enbridge customers of the future will not be saddled with the cost of stranded natural gas infrastructure assets, and new homeowners will have an incentive to make the sound choice of installing a heat pump as their house is being built, when this can be done most cheaply, rather than being lured by the artificially low initial cost of a subsidized natural gas connection.

The Ford government should withdraw the Act, and respect the decision of the OEB. Mark Bullock, Peterborough





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