By Rob Vogt – Local Press Writer
With temperatures beginning to cool as fall sinks in, Albertans may see some relief in natural gas prices.
The provincial government recently announced in a release that starting Oct. 1, Alberta’s natural gas rebate program will provide price protection from spikes in natural gas costs for millions of Albertans this winter.
It was explained nations around the world have faced extreme increases in energy prices in recent months due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, global supply shortages and other factors. Alberta’s natural gas rebate program provides cost certainty and protection to more than 1.6 million families, farms and businesses across the province.
The natural gas rebate program runs from Oct. 1 to March 31. The exact rebate amount Albertans will receive depends on the default natural gas rate each month.
If the monthly default natural gas rate from any of the regulated utility providers (ATCO Gas North and ATCO Gas South, as served by Direct Energy Regulated Services, or Apex Utilities) goes above $6.50 per gigajoule, the government will provide rebates to all eligible consumers that month covering the difference between $6.50 and the highest regulated rate.
From Oct. 1 through March 31, any time the monthly default rate exceeds $6.50 per gigajoule, a rebate will be issued to all eligible Albertans to help cover the increased costs of the natural gas or other petroleum-based heating fuels they consume that month. For example, if the highest regulated rate is $7.50, eligible consumers would get a rebate of $1 for every gigajoule used in that month.
As October’s highest monthly default natural gas rate will be $5.632 per gigajoule, the rebate will not be triggered this month but the rebate program is ready and in place to support families and businesses should natural gas prices spike this winter.
The monthly default natural gas rate will be posted on alberta.ca about five business days before the start of each month, letting Albertans know if the rebate will be triggered and how much they will receive per gigajoule that month.
People will automatically receive the rebate on their utility bill for the month a rebate is triggered if they are a natural gas consumer who:
• is connected to the system;
• is on either a regulated or competitive plan;
• uses less than 2,500 gigajoules of natural gas annually.
This applies to consumers on both regulated and competitive plans like fixed-rate contracts. No application is necessary if you are connected to the natural gas distribution system.
A small number of eligible Albertans are not connected to the natural gas distribution system and are using natural gas, propane, kerosene or heating oil for heating purposes. These consumers also tend to purchase winter heating fuels in bulk in the summer months, and the rebate is reflective of this trend.
You can apply for rebates based on purchased fuel in months in which the rebate is in effect up to the following maximum limits:
• propane, 16,334 litres per month;
• heating oil, 10,780 litres per month;
• kerosene, 11,068 litres per month;
• natural gas: 417 gigajoules per month.
If you use these heating fuels, you will be able to apply directly online for a rebate at alberta.ca
after the program launches in October. Mail-in and telephone options will also be available.
By Rob Vogt – Local Press Writer