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Ford introduces bill to protect Enbridge Gas’ profits – at your expense

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In AWARE News Network
Mar 6th, 2024
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ONTARIO CLEAN AIR ALLIANCE

Last week, the Ford government introduced a bill to reinstate a massive subsidy for fossil gas pipelines to new home developments and to boost wasteful spending on other fossil gas infrastructure. The legislation will increase both climate damage and energy bills.

Ford’s gas pipeline subsidy means most land developers will pay nothing to run gas pipelines in their developments, so they will have zero incentive to install the best equipment for customers – electric heat pumps. Instead, it means the vast majority of the 1.5 million new homes the Premier insists he will get built will be heated with polluting fossil fuels.

Keeping these new homes reliant on old style gas systems will create the same climate pollution as 22 million cars driven for a year when we consider the lifespan of their fossil fuel furnaces.

The name of this bill is The Keeping Energy Costs Down Act. But it really should be called The Protecting Enbridge Gas’ Profits ActIt is ludicrous to claim that continuing a massive subsidy for gas pipelines that is paid for by every gas customer in the province (at an average of $600 per customer) is a way to keep energy costs down. If the housing developers that the Ford government bends over backwards to serve installed heat pumps instead, homes could be built faster (no pipeline construction needed!) and homeowners’ ongoing energy costs would truly be lower.

There is a lot of money at stake here for Ontario’s fossil gas monopoly. Enbridge will earn more than $2 billion in profits if the wasteful capital spending on unnecessary and outdated gas infrastructure is reinstated (over the 60 years it will take gas customers to pay it down). And all gas customers will help ensure land developers continue to get a free ride on putting in gas pipelines – just so old-school developers can avoid any change in how they do things.

So it’s not surprising that Enbridge has launched a fierce disinformation campaign. If only there was an expert body that could sort fact from fiction. Oh wait, there is! The Ontario Energy Board (OEB)! Its mission is to “deliver public value through prudent regulation and independent adjudicative decision-making which contributes to Ontario’s economic, social and environmental development.”

But the Premier’s friends really did not like the OEB’s rational decision that continuing fossil fuel subsidies – at a time when we are trying to shift away from climate damaging energy sources – makes no sense. So the Premier has replaced the OEB’s detailed examination of the issue with his own “common sense.” And just to make it clear whose opinion really counts, his energy minister also decided it is time to replace the OEB’s chair!

We know the Premier is not listening to us (or you) on this issue. But our Opposition Leaders (Marit Stiles, Bonnie Crombie and Mike Schreiner) and your local MPP need to hear how you feel about the Premier’s plans.

Please send them a message  by email or phone using our one-click tool  asking what they are doing to call out this glaring giveaway to Enbridge Gas and developers.

Thank you for making your voice count.

Angela Bischoff, Director

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