Natural gas development fee supported by South Glengarry

South Glengarry Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

LANCASTER – A request by Enbridge Gas to add a surcharge to new natural gas developments is being supported by South Glengarry council.

Enbridge has applied to the Ontario Energy Board for a 23 cents per cubic meter surcharge for all future expansion projects.

The fee would only apply to first-time customers for a period of up to 40 years on systems with 50 or more customers and up to 20 years for users on a system with fewer than 50.

In supporting the application, Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden used his Lancaster home as an example, saying the extra $460 a year for the 2,000 cubic meters he uses could lead to natural gas investment in the future in South Glengarry (Note: Warden was using his home as a consumption/fee example. He wouldn’t have to pay the fee, if approved, because it’s an existing system).

“Yes, it’s going to cost new users…but I can tell you from previously being in the oil business and delivering propane, the cost savings are going to be a lot more than what being on electricity or oil or propane would be. If we could get this out to – like the projects we put in down in Bainsville – there’s potential for benefit to the local economy,” Warden said.

The township will be sending in a letter of support to the Ontario Energy Board on behalf of Enbridge. Comments are being received by the OEB until next Tuesday, which will be followed by a hearing with written submissions.

South Glengarry Planner Joanne Haley says the local community will benefit.

“Hopefully, if we are successfully approved for the expansion and if that (fee) gives us access to other dollars in the future or even other municipalities, it’s going to benefit our residents overall,” Haley said.

In April, the township submitted its priority areas after being asked by Enbridge, as the company plans it natural gas expansion projects. The two priority areas are the Bainsville-Curry Hill area and the area around the Cornwall Regional Airport, north of Summerstown.

The provincial government announced $130 million in December 2019 to do natural gas expansion projects with construction slated to happen between 2021 and 2023.