In January, the effective price of fuel was set at about 32 cents per cubic metre for Hamilton. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
As the cost-of-living crisis plagues more and more Canadians, home heating bills continue to skyrocket.
Hamilton residents, along with those across Ontario, have reported natural gas bills that are double what they were in 2021 despite having used less fuel.
Social media users have been sharing photos of their heating bills online and some have faced increases of hundreds of dollars.
Fortunately, the “effective price” or market price of gas, labelled “gas supply charge” on Enbridge bills, dropped slightly in January 2023 after seeing four straight increases in 2022.
The prices are re-evaluated every three months.
The effective price of fuel was set in January 2023 at about 32 cents per cubic metre for Hamilton and the surrounding area.
That’s down from 36 cents per cubic metre from October 2022, but significantly higher than January 2022 when the price was 18 cents and January 2021 when it was 13.5 cents.
Another significant cost on hydro bills is the federal carbon tax. That is set to increase once again on April 1.
The price of gas will also be re-evaluated in April in accordance with quarterly rate setting.
It remains to be seen whether the price will increase like the majority of 2022 or whether prices will continue the slight decrease seen in January.
The significant increase in price recently is largely attributed to a dramatic decrease in European natural gas supply and the situation in Ukraine.
But, the Canadian federal government has also come under fire recently for neglecting Canada’s natural gas industry.
Countries like Germany and Japan have begged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to approve more natural gas projects and export capabilities to help fill the global supply.
To the confusion of energy industry specialists, Trudeau said that “there was no business case” for exporting Canadian natural gas. Analysts say differently.
Another issue that has arisen is that Enbridge reportedly had a staff shortage and has had to estimate customers consumption and then readjust bills later.
The company is reportedly required to read household metres every two months, but, especially in 2022, they were unable to do so in some cases.
That has resulted in overbilling of customers that then later gets reimbursed but also underbilling that then results in Enbridge sending people a larger than normal bill when they do not expect it to “catch up.”
There are 3.9 million Enbridge meters.
Luckily, Ontarians should soon see some relief on their bills as Premier Doug Ford’s Ontario Government has included more than $6 billion in the 2023 budget devoted to “electricity cost-relief programs.”
A report from the Ontario Financial Accountability Office found that 2022 subsidies and rebates from the Ontario Government saved each household an average of $50 each month.
Based in Hamilton, he reaches hundreds of thousands of people monthly on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. He has been published in The Hamilton Spectator, Stoney Creek News, and Bay Observer. He has also been a segment host with Cable 14 Hamilton. In 2017, he received the Chancellor Full Tuition Scholarship from the University of Ottawa (BA, 2022). He has also received the Governor General’s Academic Medal. He formerly worked in a non-partisan role on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.