More natural gas access will open up in southern Grey-Bruce as part of the next phase of a provincial gas expansion plan.
Areas of Kincardine, Arran-Elderslie, Brockton and West Grey should begin to have access to natural gas in 2024, announced EPCOR, the company that will install and own the lines.
About 219 customers in Neustadt will also be able to connect to natural gas in this phase through work of Enbridge Gas.
Phase 2 of the provincial Natural Gas Expansion Program has allocated more than $234 million to support approximately 8,750 connections in 43 rural, northern and Indigenous communities, a government news release said.
The average household could save between $250 to $1,500 per year in energy costs by switching to natural gas from electricity, propane and oil, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker, the associate minister of energy, says in a Brockton news release.
His office said the government passed legislation in 2018 that in part allows gas companies to collect the $234 million though a $1 monthly charge to existing natural gas customers to fund the expansion.
Businesses are expected to save up to 30 per cent per year on energy costs, Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson said in a news release.
Brockton Mayor Chris Peabody said “This will enable our agribusinesses, developers and smaller businesses in our rural hamlets and villages to remain competitive, and will offer rural residents equal access to this clean and affordable source of energy.”
This expansion will extend natural gas to most of Brockton, including to Elmwood, Vesta, Solway, Cargill, Pinkerton, Bradley, Glammis, Chepstow, Greenock and Riversdale and places in-between — more than 500 connections in all there.
Brockton’s chief administrative officer, Sonya Watson, called the opportunity to access natural gas significant.
“Brockton is the leader in agricultural production in Bruce County, and access to natural gas tops the wish list of many of our largest producers, from grain drying operations to biogas producers and poultry, dairy and beef operations.”
EPCOR has been installing natural gas lines in southern Bruce County since 2019.
Late in 2020, the first residential customers started to receive natural gas. The $80-million project involved construction of an approximately 120-kilometre main line from Dornoch to the Bruce Industrial Park near the Bruce Power nuclear development, then down the Lake Huron shore and southeast to Lucknow.
Another approximately 178 kilometres of smaller diameter distribution piping was to be constructed to serve the communities.
An EPCOR spokesperson in November 2020 said more than 2,200 residents and businesses in the Municipality of Kincardine signed up to receive natural gas.