At a public meeting Tuesday night, residents of Inuvik, N.W.T., got more information about what switching from natural gas to propane for home heating will cost them.
Inuvik Gas’s natural gas well is running out earlier than expected, and the company is proposing a switch to a propane-air mix.
"Understanding the cost of propane, understanding the cost of delivery, we estimate the cost will be in the $40 [per gigajoule] range, which is approximately double what you pay today," said Mike Dever, who works with Inuvik Gas.
Inuvik mayor Denny Rodgers said the switch to propane would be temporary, and he added that propane is still less expensive than heating fuel.
"It’s not great news to ever have to have your gas bills essentially double for a year or two, but we do think there’s some long-term possibilities here," said Rodgers.
Rodgers said burning the synthetic natural gas would be a short-term solution while the town continues to look for a long-term solution.
Companies like Inuvik Gas said they won’t invest more than $40 million to build a new well. That leaves the project $30 million short – money they want the territorial government to provide.
But Rodgers said so far, the government has refused.
Residents are concerned about the potential hike in heating costs.
"We’re paying $500, $600 a month, and that’s enormous. That’s a lot of money. And so you can imagine – it’s going to double," said Mary-Ann Ross, who owns a home in Inuvik.
Some residents are considering a switch to pellet stoves.
The first increases could be seen as soon as August.