By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
More than 100 homes and businesses in Grafton will join the ranks of those who are enjoying the reliability and savings that come from connecting with natural gas, thanks to a $2.8-million project announced Friday.
Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini (the new Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks) was joined by Minister of Energy Todd Smith, Northumberland County Warden Bob Crate, Alwnick-Haldimand Township Mayor Gail Latchford for the announcement, along with Cynthia Hansen, Enbridge Inc. Executive Vice-President and President of Gas Distribution and Storage.
“We made a commitment as a government that beyond the city, beyond the GTHA, there are Ontarians who get up every day, working moms and dads, farmers, community members who deserve and need access to reliable natural gas,” Piccini said.
“We are really excited about delivering on this promise to make prices more affordable for families and for businesses right here in this area but also across Ontario, expanding access to natural gas, putting money back into people’s pockets,” Smith added.
“We are committed to having reliable, affordable, sustainable energy in the province.”
Smith cited estimates that the average household could save up to $1,500 per year by using natural gas, and the savings for businesses could be up to 30%.
“The best part of this plan really is that it’s funded by existing natural gas customers, existing natural gas ratepayers, which is fantastic. This natural gas expansion is financed through a $1-per-month charge included in their bills,” he pointed out.
“Having access to natural gas will be a boon for small and remote communities right across Ontario, to make life more affordable, allow businesses to reinvest in our community and economy, and make communities more attractive to job creation, bringing prosperity and making sure Ontario remains open for business.”
This is Phase Two, with more than $234-million to be allotted for 28 different projects that will facilitate about 8,750 connections in 43 rural, northern and Indigenous communities.
In many cases, Smith noted, the up-front costs of these projects would not have been affordable to their host communities.
All 28 are expected to be underway by the end of 2025, he added.
“Affordable heating is coming our way,” he said.
“We are very pleased to have been chosen as one of the 28 successful applications to receive the funding,” Latchford said.
“One hundred nine homes and businesses in Grafton have the ability to connect and considerably reduce their costs of energy.”
“In order to grow the economy of rural communities, our families, farms and businesses need access to natural gas,” Warden Bob Crate stated.
“Alternate sources of fuel can be more expensive, increasing the costs to heat our homes and making it more difficult for our farmers and businesses to be competitive.
“Energy is one of the largest costs to local homes, farms and businesses. This project will help lower energy costs for over 100 potential customers, thanks to the investments from the province.”
“Enbridge Gas is glad to be able to bring that much-needed and -wanted natural gas to over 100 different residences and businesses, providing significant energy savings while supporting business attraction through local investment and supporting Ontario’s growth and economy,” Hansen said.
“Homes that connect to natural gas can save up to 50% of their energy costs each year, and businesses can save up to 30%. Beyond these savings, there’s the unparalleled reliability, a more sustainable choice for some customers switching from oil and propane for their heating.
“Thanks to the government of Ontario for its commitment to bring that affordable energy to more communities across Ontario. The projects selected would not have been economically viable without this incredible economic support.”