Monday’s announcement that Ontario is putting $100 million toward expanding natural gas access in rural and northern Ontario is ‘good news’ for local residents says Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff.
About 75 per cent of Ontario households heat with natural gas, and residents in communities without access often have to heat their homes with more expensive sources such as electricity, oil or propane.
Mayor Quaiff, who is also chair of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus said they are pleased to see one of their asks get addressed by Premier Kathleen Wynne at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference.
The government estimates that switching from electricity to natural gas could save consumers $1,500 a year, while switching from oil to natural gas could save the average consumer $1,100 a year.
As the Liberal government faces rising anger over high electricity bills it has been looking for ways to cut consumers’ costs, particularly in rural Ontario where bills are highest.
The government had earlier proposed establishing a $200 million natural gas access loan program and a $30 million grant, but municipalities called for just a grant program instead.
The $100-million grant, with money coming from an infrastructure fund, will see municipalities and First Nations communities work with utilities and natural gas distributors to make proposals starting this spring.
(With Files From The Canadian Press)