From heating bills to the grocery store produce section, the relentless cold temperatures this winter are starting to take a toll on people’s wallets.
For those who heat their homes with natural gas, Union Gas says the average user can expect their bills for January and February to jump about $40.
The utility — which serves more than 400 Ontario communities — said gas use is up 20 per cent this winter, compared to last year.
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“We have obviously received calls. It is cold and so there is always in those times concern about increased gas bills,” said Union Gas spokesperson Andrea Stass.
Increased heating costs are not just being felt by homeowners.
The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association reports the cost of indoor growing has skyrocketed, which could lead to higher prices for things like cucumbers and tomatoes.
And not only is more gas being used to keep warm. Stass said higher demand tends to drive up the price of the product itself.
“Natural gas is a commodity that's traded like other commodities and as demand goes up, so too can the price,” she said.
Union Gas adjusts its pricing every three months, based on the cost of the commodity.
For those who struggle to pay those higher bills, Stass noted Union Gas does not cut off supply to homes in the winter months when bills are in arrears.
She said the utility works with the United Way to help low-income customers. Arrangements can also be made for a payment plan to help people catch up.