Enbridge seeks 40% natural gas rate hike in Canada’s Ontario

Enbridge seeks 40% natural gas rate hike in Canada’s Ontario

“Based on our data, it’s been one of the three coldest winters in the last 25 years," says Enbridge’s Jamie LeBlanc.

Canada’s exceptionally cold winter weather may soon have a significant impact in Ontario’s wallets, as natural gas firm Enbridge Gas Distribution (TSX, NYSE: ENB) is asking the provincial government to approve a nearly 40% increase in the price of the fuel.

The move comes just one month after predicting that its massive storage capacity should mute any price increase.

The company said this is all because this year’s prolonged freezing temperatures have depleted storage pools of cheap gas, and so it had to buy more natural gas, at a much higher cost than expected.

The increase would boost the annual bill for typical households by nearly $400 dollars a year. A typical home spends about $1000 annually on natural gas.

Natural gas rates are set every three months. If approved, this increase would take effect April 1, 2014.

The same weather affecting the central and eastern US is having the opposite effect. Natural gas prics slumped for a third straight session Thursday, as traders expected production levels to rise in the spring, just as demand typically eases for the heating fuel.

Image by Chung Ho Leung via Flickr