It’s going to cost a lot more to heat your home this winter — and it didn’t have to be this way

DM

When you open your January home-heating bill and reach for the smelling salts, don’t blame the Alberta natural gas producers who supply Central Canada. Simply put, there isn’t enough natural gas worldwide to match the surge in demand from the unprecedented reboot of the global economy, and to keep our homes warm this winter. No, we are not running out of natural gas. World prices for natural gas are rising to near-record levels in large part due to a preventable unfolding of miscalculations. Those include geopolitical brinkmanship by Vladimir Putin. And the failure of major economies to adequately stockpile natural gas to accommodate surging demand in a post-pandemic economic boom. More on that later. GTA natural-gas consumers can expect price increases of 16 per cent to 19 per cent this winter. Painful though that is, it’s a modest hike compared with jurisdictions that don’t have Canada’s gas self-sufficiency. Canada also relies less than others on gas for power generation, with hydro and nuclear a significant part of the electric-power mix. But U.S. natural-gas prices jumped about 66 per cent last month. That will flow through to Canadians in higher prices for imported U.S. goods.

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