Windsor

Essex County council warned natural gas costs could rise

Natural gas prices could go up as much as $50 a year for homeowners if the Energy East Pipeline project is approved, a representative from Union gas told Essex County Council Wednesday.

If the Energy East Pipeline project is approved, natural gas costs could go up, says Union Gas

Natural gas prices could go up as much as $50 a year for homeowners if the Energy East Pipeline project is approved, a representative from Union gas told Essex County Council Wednesday.

Council decided to send a letter to provincial and federal officials urging them to force TransCanada Corp. to absorb any potential costs of disrupting a natural gas line if the proposed pipeline project is approved.

The rate increase for hospitals in Ontario could be up to $25,000 and up to $500,0000 for industrial facilities per year, according to Matthew Jackson, a spokesperson for Union Gas.  

TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline would ship crude from Alberta to New Brunswick. (Canadian Press)

"We want to still try to be competitive in Ontario in energy prices and keep those industries here keep our jobs here. When you start seeing number like $300,000 to $500,000 per year for the next 50 years, we should be nervous," Tecumseh mayor Gary McNamara said.

The Energy East Pipeline project would convert an existing natural gas line stretching from North Bay, Ont. to Ottawa, which supplies communities across Essex County with energy. 

Under the project, that line would be replaced with a new one that's estimated to cost $1 billion and according to Union Gas, is too small to meet existing needs and could potentiality drive up energy prices.

"In a time of increasing energy costs that is cause for concern," said Jackson, the manager of municipal and franchise relations for Union Gas.

TransCanada Corp. wants to use a combination of existing pipelines and new construction to carry more than a million barrels of crude oil a day 4,600 kilometres across the country from Alberta to export terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick.

The National Energy Board is still reviewing the Energy East application and has received 1,805 applications to participate in the hearing for TransCanada Corp.'s proposal.  

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