“This is definitely something that doesn’t bode well for consumers, because if we have a cold winter and don’t have a lot of gas in stock to rely on, it could be a concern,” Dulles said. Wang, analyst and director of the Wood Mackenzie Canadian gas research team, in an interview.
“We expect to see prices increase for consumers this winter.”
The Henry Hub natural gas spot price on Thursday was US $ 4.95 per million British thermal units, a 133% increase from the same day a year ago.
Rob Roach, chief economist for the financial institution and Alberta crown corporation ATB Financial, noted that it is still a long way from the heyday of the mid-2000s, when natural gas prices soared. sometimes reaches $ 10 to $ 11.
Still, Roach said it’s been a while since we’ve seen a natural gas market like this, and prices will likely rise again before spring.
“These are not records, but in the North American market the prices have been quite low in recent years,” he said. “So we’re going to feel that, as consumers. It will be an expensive winter, ”he said.
Already, several Canadian natural gas distributors have notified their customers of rate increases. FortisBC Energy Inc., British Columbia’s largest natural gas distributor, will increase rates effective October 1, with most customers expecting their monthly bills to increase by about $ 8, or nine percent. .
“In fact, we are not increasing the cost of gas. Customers pay what we pay for the cost of the merchandise, ”FortisBC spokesperson Diana Sorace said in an interview.
Enbridge Gas, which serves 3.8 million customers in Ontario and heats more than 75 percent of that province’s homes, also announced it would increase rates on October 1. In a press release, the company said the typical residential customer will see an invoice. increase of about $ 7 to $ 44 per year depending on where they live.
Manitoba Hydro, which has already raised its rates to reflect rising commodity prices, said a typical residential customer’s annual bill would increase by about 8.7%, but higher volume customers could see increases of up to 19%.
Rising commodity prices, while bad news for consumers, are good news for Canada’s natural gas industry. Improving balance sheets is expected to lead to increased spending, output and employment through 2022.
“Here in Alberta it’s a godsend for a lot of people who work in this industry, and the fallout is pretty good for our economy,” Roach said.
But other industries, from manufacturing to agriculture, will feel the effects. Mark Reusser, vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, said natural gas is his turkey farm’s second-largest expense after food. Each year, he pays to heat three barns of 2,160 square meters.
“I have spent huge amounts of money insulating and making sure they are as up to date as possible in terms of energy savings. But you still need the warmth – this is Canada, ”said Reusser. “So this is going to be a huge blow to my results. “
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 23, 2021.
Companies in this story: (TSX: FTS, TSX: ENB)
Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press