EPCOR Prepares For South Bruce Natural Gas Application
EPCOR is another step closer in its bid to bring natural gas to the Southern Bruce municipalities of Arran-Elderslie, Kincardine and Huron-Kinloss.
The first 90 days of 2017 will be crucial in EPCOR’S planned application to the Ontario Energy Board following a recent decision to allow for competition and ratepayer protection through fixed rates.
Part of the plan is to set rates 10% to 15% lower than the current $0.64 per cubic metre, the current average cost of propane to heat a home in southern Bruce County.
EPCOR’s Vice President of Business Development Karim Kassam says getting people on board to convert to natural gas, is critical to the success of the program, as is revenue and government funding.
“Once you invest in a capital project, let’s $100-million, you need to collect revenue in order to pay for the investment and the only way you can get that revenue is to actually get people enrolled o use your gas,” says Kassam.
A number of public consultations are set for February 2017 and Phase 1 of construction in Kincardine, Tiverton and Bruce Industrial Park is possible in October of 2017.
The lower part of the proposed gas pipeline has been shifted further south to accommodate the agricultural sector, like local farms and elevators.
Kincardine’s mayor and council are completely on board with the entire project and aware of the benefits that access to natural gas will bring to the municipality and the region.
“It is a huge economic benefit and it’s well worth us investing in,” says Mayor Anne Eadie. “We’ve already invested in it, we want to see this through.”
Annual savings on residential, commercial and industrial bills are pegged at $10-million to $20-million.
The Environmental Impact Assessment is due to be completed in March 2017, at which time EPCOR will file its application to the OEB, consult with the public and get the ball rolling.