Union Gas customers in northwestern Ontario could pay more to heat their homes starting next month.

The company has applied to the Ontario Energy Board for a rate increase that would take effect April 1.

Union Gas spokesperson Carrie Dudley-Tatsu said the average residential customer in the region could pay about $190 more on an annual basis.

Customers in southern Ontario would pay about $200 more.

"You know we've had a very cold winter, record temperatures across North America, which has led to an increase in demand," Dudley-Tatsu said. 

She said the rate increase reflects market prices that the company expects to pay to its suppliers in the next year.

Dudley-Tatsu noted that rates are still lower than those seen a decade ago.  

She added that the natural gas supply in Canada is "plentiful" and that the company's long-term forecast is that prices will remain "relatively low" well into the next decade.