Natural gas utilities are now required to purchase emission credits called “allowances” for the GHGs that are created when natural gas is used by their residential and business customers. For residential customers, this means paying for GHG emissions related to the use of natural gas including for home and water heating. The charge to recover GHG emission costs is included in the delivery line on your natural gas utility bill. Conserving natural gas will help manage the extra cost on your bill.
Cap and trade will cost, on average, about $6-7 per month on typical residential customers’ natural gas bills, based on the interim rates set for each utility. The exact monthly costs will depend on how much natural gas a customer uses. These costs may be higher in winter for households heating with natural gas but will level off in the summer time.
To calculate your exact costs, you need to know two things:
1. Your utility’s cap and trade charge. This is a charge in cents per cubic metre of natural gas, which is available on your utility’s cap and trade web page and through other materials such as bill inserts. You can also contact your local utility or the OEB to find this out.
2. How much natural gas you used for the month (in cubic metres), which is listed on your monthly natural gas bill.
Once you have this information, multiply the cents per cubic metre cost for cap and trade by the amount of natural gas you used, and you’ll get the cost you paid for cap and trade for the month. Using this calculation, the cost will be in cents. To get the dollar amount, multiply it by 100.
Both Enbridge and Union Gas also have a cap and trade bill calculator tool on their website, which allows you to enter in your monthly natural gas usage found on your bill and then it does the math for you. Utilities also offer conservation tips and programs to help you manage your monthly natural gas costs.
Resources for customers
The OEB expects utilities to provide consistent and clear information to their customers to help them understand cap and trade and how to manage their GHG emissions. Utilities have a number of channels that they are already using for customer outreach, including websites, call centres and bill inserts. The Ontario government also has information about cap and trade on its website. If customers have questions about cap and trade, they can contact their utility or the OEB.
Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc.
Union Gas Limited
EPCOR Natural Gas Limited Partnership
Government of Ontario
Ontario Energy Board
1-877-632-2727 (toll-free within Ontario)
416-314-2455 (within Greater Toronto Area or from outside Canada)
OEB Information officers are available to serve you in English or French from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern Time).