Don and Sarah Campbell of Cambray, Ont., are reconsidering the switch from propane to natural gas.
Their first full bill came with a $118 system-expansion surcharge — a fee that Enbridge Gas Inc. says will be on all new customer bills for the City of Kawartha Lakes pipeline extension for up to 40 years.
The fee will appear on customer bills monthly. It’s calculated at 23 cents for every cubic metre of gas used.
“We were probably $3,000 to switch everything over. New dryer, hot water tank and to convert the furnace from propane, and then to get a $120 charge on top of the gas we used is pretty upsetting,” Don Campbell said.
According to Enbridge, in order to make the project economically sound, it needed to charge the fee.
“So there’s a contribution from (the city of) Kawartha Lakes, a provincial grant and the system-expansion surcharge would make the project feasible,” said Tanya Bruckmueller, spokesperson for Enbridge.
The Campbells are also upset with the fee wasn’t disclosed early on.
In an email to Global News, Enbridge confirmed the initial letter sent out by the company’s president to potential customers did not disclose the fee. Instead, it directed customers to go to the website or to the office in Fenelon Falls.
All subsequent material contained the fee.
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“The first material we ever saw, there was nothing on there about a 23-cent expansion charge. Enbridge even admitted that on that first bit of material, it didn’t exist,” Campbell said.
Enbridge estimates the $12-million expansion project, which currently has 32 homes and one business hooked up to it, will save the average customer $1,100 in energy costs per year.
But the Campbells disagree, saying the fee eats into those savings.
“This is happening. It’s our bill. It’s going to be everyone else’s bill,” Sarah Campbell said.
Potential customers have until the end of June to sign up for natural gas along the line.