EPCOR warns Kincardine residents about natural gas deadline

EPCOR suggests Kincardine residents who have their natural gas line and meter installed on their properties need to get in touch with a local contractor to convert pipes and connections in their homes.

EPCOR says a deadline is approaching for those homes to start receiving natural gas to avoid an additional fee in the fall.

“In order for a home or businesses to be connected to the natural gas distribution system, customers must hire an HVAC contractor to convert their appliances or equipment within their property to natural gas. If customers don’t convert and start using gas a year from the time their meter was installed, we will no longer be able to provide the first 30 meters of their line of the exterior connection to them free of charge,” said EPCOR VP Ontario Region, Susannah Robinson.

She says although many residents in Kincardine are already enjoying the convenience of natural gas service, there are many who initially signed up for natural gas last year who have yet to convert
their property to natural gas.

Robinson points out HVAC contractors are busy so people should book an appointment as soon as possible.

“I encourage residents to visit our website for a full list of HVAC professionals and find out which companies are available and have the capacity to do the work,” said Robinson. “I would  encourage residents to book an appointment with an HVAC contractor as soon as possible, to ensure they get hooked up to natural gas over the summer so they can start enjoying their natural gas appliances like an outdoor fireplace now and avoid the fall rush.”

Several companies in the region, such as Talon Heating and Cross Heating & Air Conditioning, said they are always busy in the spring and early summer installing and repairing air conditioners, however by July and August their workload typically slows down and should then have capacity to support this work.

“We’re definitely busy but we can still get to most customers within a week or two,” said Troy Talon, owner of Talon Heating.

Jason Kennedy, an inside sales and marketing representative for Cross Heating & Air Conditioning, said his company still has plenty of availability throughout the summer months.

“Once the end of June hits, and everyone’s air conditioners are either repaired or installed, things slow down. By the fall, we’re usually busy again installing and repairing furnaces, so it’s best to book an appointment now,” said Kennedy, adding his company deals with everything from the gas meter inwards.

According to EPCOR, connecting to the natural gas supply requires a flexible, stainless steel pipe that runs to individual appliances. Coated with a yellow exterior plastic coating, piping is typically routed beneath, through and alongside basement floor joists, inside interior wall cavities and on top of ceiling joists in attic spaces. Depending on how many appliances need to be hooked up, it usually only takes a day to convert a home to natural gas.

“When someone calls, we send our residential sales consultant to do a full assessment and if they get the green light to go ahead, we’ll have an install crew visit about a week later to do the work,” said Randy Barnes, regional marketing manager for Service Experts.

He said his company also provides customers the option to buy brand new, energy efficient equipment with no money down or installation charges for a single monthly payment. The cost of any repairs and maintenance is also covered with a rental package.

According to EPCOR, the average cost to convert a typical home from propane to natural gas is about $1,000 but if a home only needs to replace an orifice, a conversion kit can cost $300. For simple conversions, the process takes less than two hours per appliance, provided there are no gas piping changes. For larger projects, such as replacing a furnace or boiler, it can be handled in a day.

In November, EPCOR announced that it had connected its first residential customers to its natural gas distribution system in Kincardine. Later this year, the team expects the project will begin supplying gas to additional communities in Kincardine, Huron-Kinloss and Arran-Elderslie. To find a local HVAC contractor customers should visit epcor.com/hvacproviders.