KAWARTHA LAKES-Bobcaygeon will be getting natural gas according to the province.
“I appreciate your interest in Phase 2 of the program and I’m happy to inform you that the following proposal was selected for funding in your community: BOBCAYGEON.” said Bill Walker, Associate Minister of Energy in a letter to Mayor Andy Letham.
However, the following proposals for expansion projects in your community were not selected for funding: KIRKFIELD, COBOCONK AND NORLAND; SCUGOG NORTH SHORE; and WOODVILLE according to the Minister.
Walker says there was tremendous interest in Phase 2 of the NGEP and 210 submissions greatly exceeded the funding available.
“I can assure you that, in assessing the project submissions, my ministry used consistent criteria to assess each and all projects. Our top priority was to connect the most customers, as broadly across the province as possible, in the most economically feasible way. To account for these factors, we used the OEB’s Profitability Index (PI) indicator to guide us in recommending the most suitable projects for eligibility under Phase 2.” the letter continued.
Walker says going forward the province will continue to consider opportunities to further support natural gas expansion beyond Phase 2.
“I would note that natural gas utilities are welcome to propose expansion projects to the OEB at any time if they are economically viable, and municipalities may want to consider what they can do to assist with the economics of projects in their areas.”
“I think it’s fabulous news that people will have the option of natural gas if that’s what they would like. We have a local company, British Empire Fuels, here in Bobcaygeon who provides other options and who has been an amazing support to our community for decades donating thousands of dollars over the years. We can’t forget about our local businesses who employ many local residents.” Councillor Kathleen Seymour Fagan told Kawartha 411 News
British Empire is investing over $1million dollars on a new propane plant for the area.
When natural gas came to the Fenelon Falls/Cambray area many residents were surprised at “hidden fees” that weren’t’ mentioned in company literature.
Sarah Campbell and her family were excited at the prospect of saving money when natural gas came to Cambray. That excitement quickly turned to anger when they got their first bill. “I was not aware of this charge prior to switching everything over for natural gas. We spend thousands of dollars to convert.” Campbell told Kawartha411 News in February 2019.
Copies of her second bill, sent to Kawartha 411 News, show a “Gas Expansion Surcharge” and it”s approximately 75% on top of the standard fee’s. For example the standard charges on her bill from December 18th to January 17th are $160.89 and the surcharge is an additional $118.45. The first bill was only for ten days and had a $30 surcharge.
Enbridge admitted that local residents are being charged more and says their marketing material now contains a disclaimer notifying local residents of the Gas Expansion Surcharge. However they admit the first version of the material may not have had this information. You can see even now, its in very tiny fine print and does not say how much it will increase the bill.
The project is expected to be completed by 2025.