Ontario has been working tirelessly on ensuring that the electricity system be reliable, clean, and affordable. It was reported that the Natural Gas Grant Program launched in January 2017, would provide around $100 million to facilitate the projects in rural, northern, and First Nations communities, which would help widening access to natural gas, and lower heating costs. It was also cited that over 11,300 homes and business would be able to connect to natural gas through supported projects. Currently, the lowering of heating costs is helping many families and business. It is expected that the move would save families around $1,100 every year.
In this context, projects were announced by Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Minister Responsible for Small Business, Jeff Leal, who was joined by Lou Rinaldi, MPP for Northumberland-Quinte West. The announced projects would reportedly receive funding, which would enable in building the supporting natural gas infrastructure, and widen access to natural gas. Leal reiterated that the projects would have a positive impact on the local economies and reduce energy costs. The projects would facilitate in moving forward on constructing a natural gas distribution pipeline to connect homes and businesses in the Hiawatha First Nation including areas of the Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan.
The service of natural gas would help to attract new industry, and make agriculture and commercial transportation affordable. The service would further reduce costs, provide a cleaner source of energy, and support greater consumer choice. During this period of rapid economic change, the expansion of access to natural gas is considered as a part of Ontario’s plan to create opportunities, support care, and make life more affordable. The plan is inclusive of better living conditions, higher minimum wages, free tuition for students, free prescription drugs (all individuals from 25-65 years) through expansion of Medicare, and easier access to affordable childcare.