September 27th, 2022

Natural gas rates set to rise again on Ford’s watch, ahead of winter

Families need relief on their surging bills as heating season approaches: NDP

QUEEN’S PARK – With natural gas rates set to rise again on Oct. 1, Interim Ontario NDP Leader Peter Tabuns is calling on Doug Ford to give families relief on their bills instead of quietly rubber-stamping increases while Ontarians worry about heating costs ahead of a cold winter.

This isn’t the first time Ontarians have been hit with an increase in natural gas rates this year. On the heels of previous rate increases that include a roughly 20-per-cent hike on July 1, Enbridge customers — who make up the vast majority of natural gas customers — have seen their rates close to double in the last year.

“Families were already feeling squeezed by the skyrocketing cost of everything, and people are extremely worried about another natural gas price increase as winter approaches,” said Tabuns. “Will families be forced to wear their winter coats and mittens inside to keep their heating costs down? Will seniors on fixed incomes be forced to cut back their grocery budgets even more than they already have?

“The Conservatives made mighty promises about making energy bills more affordable than they were under Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals. But after four years and counting, Ontarians have only seen their energy bills surge on Ford’s watch. Mr. Ford has left families at the mercy of price-gouging energy companies and volatile energy markets, and keeps quietly rubber-stamping increases to natural gas rates — most recently ahead of a winter that is expected to be cold.”

Experts are predicting a cold winter, which will only put more financial pressure on people who have heating bills to pay.

“We should be providing immediate relief on natural gas bills to families struggling to keep up and people who need it most,” said Tabuns, “and we should be funding aggressive energy conservation programs that will help people cut back substantially on use while keeping them warm and comfortable.

“Ontario ultimately needs to shift to cheaper renewable energy as part of our fight against the climate crisis — it will lower people’s bills and reduce emissions instead of locking the province into relying on increasingly expensive natural gas.”