Inuvik, N.W.T., heating bills almost double

Heating bills have almost doubled for some businesses in Inuvik, N.W.T., since the town's gas well has been replaced by synthetic natural gas.
Heating costs for some businesses in Inuvik have almost doubled since the town switched from the town's gas well to synthetic natural gas. (CBC)

Some businesses in Inuvik, N.W.T., are finding ways to adapt after their heating bills almost doubled over the past month.

The price has gone up because the natural gas well the town depended on for fuel is no longer usable. It’s been replaced for now by much more expensive synthetic natural gas.

Capital Suites manager Newton Grey said the hotel saw a 90 per cent increase in its bill since last month. Grey has been looking for other areas to cut costs over the past year in anticipation of the hike.

"This is an operating cost you can't do a lot about because you have to keep people warm, you can't play with that, so for example I did some work with electricity," he said.

Grey added motion sensors to many of the lights in the hotel. He said raising room rates is also not out of the question.

The Northwest Territories Power Corporation has been using diesel to power its generators since the gas ran out. But it’s planning to replace diesel with liquefied natural gas.

Mayor Floyd Roland said the same solution is being considered as an alternative for heating fuel.

"We're paying close attention to what the Power Corp. is doing with its LNG [liquefied natural gas] discussion and seeing if that can be applied to the community itself," Roland said.

Roland said the town’s upcoming budget will reflect the higher costs for heating.