Natural Gas Rate Changes Jan. 1, 2017

Ontario natural gas prices are changing, but still lower than previous years

Natural gas customers across Ontario will see increases on their bills in the New Year, but overall, prices will remain lower in 2017 than they have been during recent peak periods – even when factoring in the cost of cap and trade.

The changes include the routine quarterly adjustment for the market price of the natural gas commodity – known as the Quarterly Rate Adjustment Mechanism (QRAM) – which has taken place every three months since 2001 and will impact rates for customers of Ontario’s three natural gas utilities – Enbridge, Union Gas and NRG – beginning Jan. 1, 2017.

In addition, the OEB recently granted interim rates for cap and trade and a rate adjustment for utility operations for Enbridge and Union Gas – all of which will impact customer bills in the New Year. Union Gas is also changing its rate zones to better reflect where it buys natural gas from and how it transports it to its customers.

Despite these rate adjustments and the introduction of cap and trade, overall, customers are still paying significantly less than they were at peak periods in 2009 and 2014, when natural gas costs were higher in Ontario due to factors including high market prices and unusually cold weather.

The amount of the increases to customers’ bills will vary between utilities and how much natural gas individual customers use. However, typical residential customers can expect to see their bills rise by between $4.65 and $13.54 on average per month for the year ahead. Continue reading Natural Gas Rate Changes Jan. 1, 2017

Report on Short-Term Accommodations (Airbnb etc) in Mississauga Identifies Regulatory Options

Yesterday, Mississauga’s Planning and Development Committee received a report (starting on page 65 in the linked PDC Agenda [15mb PDF]) from staff on short-term accommodations in the city.

“We understand the concerns about short-term accommodations in Mississauga. City staff is carefully reviewing the regulatory options available to address them,” said Ed Sajecki, Commissioner, Planning and Building. “Staff respond to any nuisance complaints, regardless of whether or not they are the result of short-term accommodation use.”

Council directed City staff to examine short-term accommodations in Mississauga, consult with stakeholders and create new by-laws as appropriate. The staff report, Short-Term Accommodation Overview of Current Status and Regulatory Options, provides statistics, benchmarking information with other municipalities, regulatory options and enforcement challenges. The City’s Zoning By-law currently does not prohibit short-term accommodations.

The report identifies options to amend the existing Zoning By-law, including:

  • Defining short-term accommodations
  • Allowing short-term accommodations in some areas
  • Allowing short-term accommodations only in detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings, subject to conditions
  • Creating a municipal registry or licensing regime once the use is permitted in the Zoning By-law

The City has existing by-laws to address concerns that may be related to short-term accommodations. These include concerns about property standards, noise, garbage and parking. Under these by-laws, City staff respond to any nuisance complaints in the community as they arise.

As next steps, staff will circulate the report to stakeholders for input and comment. This will be followed by a staff report on the feedback received at a formal public meeting. Staff will then report to Council with final recommendations on short-term accommodations in Mississauga.

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