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Got a gas furnace? Higher prices to heat your home ‘not going away’

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About half of Canadian homes are heated by gas furnaces, and energy analysts say those homeowners should get used to the idea that gas prices won’t return to the low levels seen in recent years. increase.

Winter is not yet here, but rising utility bills are another new cost facing Canadians. It has already been hit by months of inflation in food prices and many other goods and services.

“Depending on where you are in Canada, you’ll typically see an increase in your utility bills of around 30%,” says Jackie Forrest, executive director of the ARC Energy Research Institute in Calgary.

“And I don’t think it will go away.”

  • How has inflation and the high cost of living affected you? Email your story to ask@cbc.ca.

Natural gas, whose main component is methane, a fossil fuel, widely used In western Ontario, it is used to heat homes, but in Quebec to Atlantic Canada, electricity and oil are the main sources of home heating.

While several factors are responsible for rising natural gas prices, experts say homeowners can take steps to reduce their utility bills.

Violet Kopperson, energy advisor at the Windfall Ecology Center in Aurora, Ontario, just north of Toronto, said:

Watch | What Canadians are doing to cut energy costs as gas prices rise:

Canadians expected to pay more to heat their homes this winter

Keeping warm in your home can be a big part of a Canadian’s budget this winter when natural gas prices start to rise. Canada is selling natural gas abroad for global demand, putting pressure on domestic supplies, experts say.

price fluctuations, wars, exports

Canadian natural gas prices rose to about $9 a day this summer. gigajoule (GJ) is about 3.5 times the average rate over the past six years, says Forrest, an energy analyst with 25 years of experience.

Although it has eased recently, she says it will not return to the average of about $2.90 per GJ that Canadians have been accustomed to since around 2016.

“I think the last six years were a rare time when gasoline was very cheap. I don’t think that’s the future,” Forrest says.

Jackie Forrest, executive director of the ARC Energy Research Institute in Calgary, said rising natural gas prices “will never go away.” (Colin Hall/CBC)

For several years, North America has had high levels of natural gas production, she explained, with negligible levels of exports.

More recently, however, North American natural gas producers have increased their exports. The change comes as demand rises from European countries that cut ties with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, or whose access to Russia was cut off by Vladimir Putin in retaliation for economic sanctions.

Currently, about 10% of North American production is exported, and Forrest says exports will continue to grow.

“By the end of this decade, we plan to send about 20% of our North American production overseas,” she said, adding that she doesn’t believe the industry is ramping up production to keep prices down.

“Gas prices are going to be structurally higher than they used to be,” she said, noting that “it’s really changing the dynamics of the North American gas market.”

Your Bill and Tips to Reduce It

Gas prices are higher than the cost of gas, Forrest points out.

“Energy costs are only about a third of the bill. There are things like distribution and transmission charges, but also things like carbon prices.”

But there are simple ways to cut down on complicated utility bills.

Violet Kopperson is an energy advisor at the Windfall Ecology Center in Aurora, Ontario. She says there are many things homeowners can do to reduce gas bills without breaking the bank. (James Dunn/CBC)

Koppelson, whose job is to assess the energy efficiency of homes and offer advice to homeowners, has plenty of tips.

Simple, low-cost actions include:

  • Turn off the thermostat while you sleep.
  • Make sure your exterior doors have weatherstripping and sweeps to prevent heat from escaping.
  • Sealing around small holes for cable lines and vents.
  • Change the washroom to a low flow shower head.

“Low-flow showers are cheaper because the more hot water you use, the more energy you use,” Koppelson said.

More expensive changes include upgrading to triple-glazed windows and adding insulation to the attic and walls.

For more information visit websites to post free ads and free classified ads sites and real estate agents Brampton

degassing with subsidies

Kopperson also recommends homeowners turn to the federal government. Subsidy When loan You can improve the energy efficiency of your home and offset some of these renovation costs.A few state and city There are also financial incentives for mods.

Suzanne Kettley of Ottawa is switching her home from natural gas to heat pumps and electricity. She wants to reduce her carbon footprint, and she also wants to avoid high prices for natural gas. (Toni Choeiri/CBC)

Suzanne Kettley of Ottawa uses these programs to improve her home’s energy efficiency and cut gas completely.

She replaced the stove with a heat pump to keep the house comfortable in the winter and cool in the summer. Soon she will add a hybrid water heater that uses her heat her pump and electricity to supply hot water.

“I am lucky because I can reduce my carbon footprint and at the same time avoid higher gas prices.”

She also hopes to see long-term savings from dealing with just one utility company and one form of energy electricity.

“If you pay the shipping fee and administrative fee, it will be cheaper if it is only once per company.”

Part of the new heat pump system outside Ketley’s home in Ottawa. (Toni Choeiri/CBC)

High price is relative

As prices rise in Canada, consumers may take some comfort in the fact that conditions in Canada are not as bad as in Europe.

There, the government is urging people to reduce their consumption and limit the temperature in their homes, while some businesses are reducing hours or even closing due to rising heating costs. doing.

European Union leaders this week A gas price cap was discussed but no agreement was reachedearlier this year, the idea was endorsed by 15 EU countries.

A new European market for North American gas means Canada is no longer an ‘island in a bottle’ with no gas supply beyond domestic and American consumption.

“We’re more affected by what’s happening in other parts of the world,” Forrest said.

“We still have cheap energy, but it’s not as cheap as it used to be.”

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