Turning up the heat for natural gas expansion in rural Ontario (2013)

By Debra Pretty-Straathof, Vice President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)

Ontario farmers live and work in rural Ontario, where daily energy requirements can be significant. In addition to home heating requirements, farm businesses use significant amounts of energy to heat barns, run grain dryers and ventilate buildings. But the type of energy used on Ontario farms varies, and that can have a huge impact on the environment, as well as a farmer’s bottom line.

As the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) moves forward with its priorities for government this legislative session, we will look for a commitment on reliable and affordable energy. Our priorities include doing the legwork on a key issue for farm families across the province: access to natural gas.

Natural gas is North America’s lowest cost and cleanest, most versatile energy source. While nearly every urban Ontario resident has access to natural gas, less than 20 per cent of Ontario’s rural residents have the same opportunity. Those residents rely largely on oil and electric heat for their homes and businesses – at twice the price of gas.

Having no access to natural gas puts rural communities at a competitive disadvantage too, because it is difficult to attract new businesses to towns where basic energy expenses will be double, simply because the infrastructure is not there to access natural gas lines.

The OFA recently conducted a survey of farm members to help identify barriers to using natural gas. More than 400 survey participants contributed information that helps build the case for the expansion of natural gas lines and cost-effective access for rural residents.

As we move forward with pre-budgetary consultations in the coming weeks, the OFA will ask Ontario’s government to assist with the expansion of natural gas lines in rural Ontario by using infrastructure dollars already designated for rural communities. Funding to expand the natural gas pipeline network into rural Ontario will make low-cost energy available to a greater number of Ontario citizens, including farms, and give them a better competitive advantage. 

For more information contact:

Debra Pretty-Straathof
Vice President
Ontario Federation of Agriculture

 Neil Currie
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture


Howard V. Staff - H. A. Staff Limited says on March 15, 2013 at 5:34 PM

This is a very timely release as we, along with 2 neighbours, have been negotiating with Enbridge Gas for over a year to get a 2,000' extention to our farms. Their price of $15 - $20 thousand dollars is not acceptable when they extended the line to 8 residences in the area free of charge. Our usage would be equal to, or more, than the 8 residences. I'm all for your efforts. Howard Staff Cell: 905-651-3864

Jan Hoogendoorn says on March 15, 2013 at 5:44 PM

I fully support OFA's efforts to get better access to Natural Gas in Rural Ont. We are farming broilers on a 4.5 acre property with Natural Gas in Simcoe but would like to relocate to our other farm 6 miles away. If we relocated we could expand our farm business as well. However there is no Nat.Gas while it is on 2 1/2 km away from the nearest town that has Nat. gas The gas copmpany wants to charge me $100,000 to get the gasline brought there. That is an amount we can not afford so we are stuck and keep growing our chickens on our 4.5acre property.

Conrad Richter says on March 16, 2013 at 4:05 AM

I very much support this initiative. In fact, I would go one further and ask that the gas companies be compelled to expand their gas lines at least along major thoroughfares in rural areas. For 40 years I and my parents before me have been trying to get the gas line extended along our regional highway to our farm. We are less than 1km from natural gas lines, but we were unlucky in that the gas company chose to run its lines along a lesser road to the south of us. Even when we offered to pay for part of the cost the company refused. My argument has been that if municipalities and regions and provinces are offering the gas company right of way along roads then the company ought to be compelled to show that it is expanding its lines in meaningful ways, and not just to million dollar home subdivisions.

John Sullivan, Peterborough says on March 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM

I don't recall a survey in my area, but i am most interested in having access to natural gas. Is there a site that i can click to "receive updates" as they come?

Guy says on March 19, 2013 at 10:27 AM

I was talking to Enbridge last week and we have been told our cost to have gas put on our farm is 240,000 dollars. We are located 4 farms east of the connection and on a main road. Enbridge did expansion around here last year and didnt contact us. Next door to our farm is a business and they still won't locate. I dont understand why ? They tell you they will survey the area and the results are completed in 2 hours. Very frustrating.

Ray Howes Martintowm says on March 21, 2013 at 9:32 AM

We have been trying to get Enbridge to bring natural gas 7 a village of 90 homes and 6 small businesses . Also along the road are 6 corn dryers , and with 1 of these dryers ,the usage is equal to 46 homes , plus other farming operations and residential properties . Enbridge's response is " that it is not cost efficient to go the 7 km." We feel they are not thinking forward to the future .

Mary Jean Van Dorp says on March 27, 2013 at 11:24 PM

We would love to have natural gas at our corn dryer.

SomeOne says on September 15, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Would really like to have natural gas in the Cargill/ Pinkerton/ Paisley Ontario area's. It would make farming in this area a lot easier, and overall cost of living down. Thank you.

Roger O. Sauve says on February 6, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Our property is in Champlain township. The natural gas line passes less than 1 km away, in the same township. On the way to our hamlet, there are over 25 potential customers, 2 of them already on Propane. Also just West of here there are many farmers who would prefer to be on natural gas, rather than propane. So, why can't we get natural gas?? Natural gas would cut my energy consumption by at least 50%, so would it for every one in our area.

DAVE HOBSON says on February 26, 2014 at 8:06 PM


Allan Butler says on March 29, 2014 at 5:27 PM

I certainly applaud OFA's efforts to get natural gas service to rural Ontario, but it will be an uphill battle. I have tried to get service to my grain dryer in the past but the costs have been too high. I farm in Dawn-Euphemia twp, which is the site of gas storage and compressor stations for Union Gas. I know of farms just 3 km from this site that had a sub compressor station on the farm, were in the storage pool and were paid for gas storage, yet heated the house with propane because they could not get gas service. If we can't get service in the township that is vital to gas distribution in SW Ontario, to think service will be extended across the province is a very lofty goal indeed. Best of luck!

Erwin Stone says on May 4, 2014 at 11:18 AM

We live in Wroxeter which is in Howick Township and there is Natural gas in Bluevale and could be run to us, I have spoken with our Township council as well as Union Gas and they both say the cost is to much, I say we should be able to have the natural gas in our area. It seems that all Governments' would rather do something for other Countries rather than their own ie I have heard that we give Hydro to New York State if we have to much. It is time to take care of our own..

Lynn Strenzke says on January 27, 2015 at 6:58 PM

I am very supportive of this initiative. While considering natural gas for our dairy operation as well as rental homes on our other farm, we were quoted $32,000 to bring the pipeline 1.3 km,s to service both farms. Our neighbor was interested as well so decided to pursue natural gas. Less than 5 months later, the price became $60,000. This was much too high to even consider. The costs of bringing the lines to the buildings was not even included in this price. We live on a major road and would really welcome the extension of the gas line in our direction.

Michael Hickey says on May 27, 2015 at 5:00 PM

I'm very much in favour of your efforts to extend the reach of gas lines into rural Ontario, but please be aware that the struggle doesn't end there - an existing gas line runs along the road in front of our farm but in order to get it into our 2 houses, Enbridge wants almost $6,000 even though it's only 65 yards from the property line! Unbelievable! I'm afraid that since Enbridge is a monopoly they will continue to hold farmers hostage.

John Shannon says on June 5, 2017 at 6:51 PM

I live on HWY 7 , my house is 30 feet from the lot line. Natural gas is on the other side of the HWY. Enbridge wants $ 10,000. to connect to my 100 year old house that is burning wood for heat, backed up by Oil! Are there any green-up programs available to assist home owners in this situation?

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