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Enbridge Gas wants to 'harmonize' its four Ontario rate zones

If approved, the annual savings for residential customers would be nearly $200, and over $5,900 for commercial clients
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Enbridge Gas is proposing some changes for its Ontario operations, including amalgamating the Northeastern Ontario zone with the province's three other regional rate zones.

The notice also advises that Enbridge is asking the Ontario Energy Board to initiate a regulatory process (rebasing) which would lead to changes in natural gas distribution, transportation and storage rates as of January 2024.

The public notice shows that Northern Ontario customers would see an annual bill decrease with the proposed changes, while other areas could see an increase.

The public notice shows that for customers in the Northeast, these changes would result in a bill reduction of $193 per year for most residential customers, and a $5,947 decrease for commercial customers. In the Northwest, the savings would be $65 per year for most residential customers and a $1,222 decrease for typical commercial customers.

The South region residential customers would see a $91 annual increase and $1,320 for commercial customers. EGD (former customers of Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc.) would see an annual increase of $28 for residential and $88 for commercial.

There will be no change in rates related to rebasing before 2024, but standard quarterly rate adjustments can still be expected, with the next one in January 2023.

Enbridge has also filed a plan with the OEB to harmonize its four rate zones and to establish new rate classes and a common suite of services across the province.

Andrea Stass, manager of external communications, said that since Union Gas and Enbridge amalgamated in 2019, many systems and services have been harmonized "for a consistent and simplified customer experience."

She said in order to further reflect the operations of a single company, Enbridge is proposing to further align and simplify its rates and services in phases between 2025 and 2026.

"It will give Enbridge Gas the ability to treat customers across Ontario similarly, applying the same rates for the same service ... regardless of where they are located. This will result in varying one-time changes across our current rate zones," Stass said.

Information provided in the public notice indicates that, as a result of rate harmonization, most residential and commercial customers would see a maximum increase of one per cent as of April 2025, while the impact on some other customer classes would range from a decrease of three per cent to an increase of five percent in April 2026. 

As well, Enbridge has applied for approval of an incentive rate-making mechanism (IRM) for the years from 2025 to 2028.

The IRM applies a formula that includes inflation and other items to determine rates.

This is the first cost-based rate application for Enbridge Gas since the OEB approved the amalgamation of Enbridge Gas and Union Gas in 2019.

The energy board will hold a public hearing on the company's proposals.

Anyone may apply to the board become an intervenor by Dec. 2.