An Ontario government bill, which could extend rural access to natural gas, has passed the Second Reading
Rural residents have hope for more affordable and efficient natural gas, thanks to the passing of the Second Reading of Bill 32 by the Ontario government, said a Tuesday release from the Office of the Minister of Infrastructure.
If passed, Bill 32, the Access to Natural Gas Act, would permit the government to develop a natural gas program that promotes partnerships between private distributors and communities, widening access to “affordable and efficient natural gas,” the release said.
The act builds on the Ford government’s decision to eliminate the carbon tax from natural gas bills, allowing small businesses to save roughly $285 a year and families to pocket roughly $80 annually.
“In Southwestern Ontario, where I was born and raised and where I still call home, an estimated 40 per cent of households do not have access to natural gas,” Monte McNaughton, minister of infrastructure, who introduced the legislation, said in the release.
The act could create natural gas connections for roughly 80 communities and could connect roughly 33,000 households.
“If we’re successful in passing this legislation … from an agriculture and business standpoint, it really sends a signal that Ontario is open for business,” McNaughton said to Farms.com yesterday. “For those businesses who have access to natural gas, it will lower their energy costs.”
A residential customer who switches to natural gas can save, on average, between $800 and $2,500 annually, the release said. The benefits can be even higher for farm families.
“Recently, I met with a farmer from Southwestern Ontario who switched to natural gas, and they are saving $40,000 per year,” McNaughton said to Farms.com. “This is keeping in-line with what we committed to during the election campaign. We announced during that campaign that we would put forward an aggressive plan to expand natural gas across rural and Northern Ontario … to lower energy costs for those businesses and families.”
The government will provide program details if Bill 32 is passed and related approvals are received.
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