April 4, 2011

Regulator denies consumers $870 million bill reduction

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has knee-capped conservation efforts in Ontario by denying Enbridge Gas and Union Gas budgetary approval to develop more comprehensive and robust energy efficiency programs. The budget proposals put forward by the OEB’s own staff would have allowed the two gas utilities to implement new energy efficiency programs which would have cut their customers’ gas bills by close to a billion dollars. Now, instead, the utilities will essentially face an energy conservation budget freeze.

The OEB’s surprise decision is a slap in the face to Energy Minister Brad Duguid who on July 5, 2010 asked the Board “to consider expanding both low-income and general natural gas DSM [demand-side management] efforts relative to previous years.”

According to a report prepared by independent advisors for Enbridge, the natural gas consumption of its residential, commercial and industrial customers can be cost-effectively reduced by 18%, 29% and 34% respectively by 2017 through proven energy efficiency measures. A similar report for Union Gas concluded that its customers’ gas consumption can be cost-effectively reduced by 30%.

As a result of the Board’s decision, more Ontario dollars will continue to flow to Alberta to purchase natural gas instead of being used to finance energy efficiency investments right here in Ontario which will reduce our energy bills, create green jobs and make our industries more competitive.

Energy conservation is win-win-win. It’s unconscionable that the OEB would put the interests of Alberta gas producers ahead of Ontario’s consumers and businesses.

Please click here to send a letter to Ontario’s Energy Minister Brad Duguid asking him to direct the OEB to increase the gas utilities’ energy efficiency budgets by $89 million as per the recommendation of the Board’s own professional staff, thereby saving consumers like you and me and Ontario’s businesses $870 million.

Thank you!

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director
Ontario Clean Air Alliance
402-625 Church St, Toronto M4Y 2G1
Phone: 416-926-1907 ext. 246