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Discussion Starter #1
This charge has increased dramatically over the past few years. In early 2008, I believe the charge was around $11/mo. It is now $19/mo ($21.47 after tax). After taxes (since HST instead of GST is now applicable) this charge has almost doubled in roughly 3 years. Granted, it was pretty flat during the previous few years, however, what has changed in the past few years to cause such a dramatic increase?

The customer charge on the bill states:

A fixed amount charged monthly per meter to recover a portion of the fixed costs that Enbridge incurs to keep our system available.
Some of their costs have probably gone down with more people doing auto payments and receiving bills online, etc.

I'm now paying over $250/year to Enbridge (and the Government) without paying 1 cent for gas...
 

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I've only been a customer since late 2008, but I have PDFs of all of my bills. Some months have odd numbers, but that's probably because my billing period was split across the time period of an increase.

Nov 2008: $14.00
May 2009: $15.86
Jun 2009: $16.00
Apr 2010: $17.60
May 2010: $18.00
Jan 2011: $18.90
Feb 2011: $19.00
 

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The could be deployed. The technology definitely exists, as I seen it on some sites of companies offering remote meter reading solutions for electricity. The same can be done for water.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I assume if they are being installed, then there would be savings since you don't need a person to read them. There would certainly be no TOU (time of use) since natural gas can be stored. My point was that these increases are here already and I know of no smart meter installation programme like there is for Ontario Hydro.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I sent a note to Enbridge this afternoon. Two hours later I got the following reply:

The cost of delivering natural gas to customers is included in both fixed monthly Customer Charge and the variable 'Delivery to You' charge.

The Customer Charge recovers fixed operating costs such as emergency response, meter reading, infrastructure costs and customer services that are not affected by the volume of gas used. 'Delivery to You' recovers variable operating costs, such as the cost of seasonal gas storage, as well as fixed operating costs not recovered through the Customer Charge.

To better reflect the fixed costs of distributing gas, $12 per year in fixed costs were moved out of 'Delivery to You' and added to the monthly Customer Charge. This results in an increase in the Customer Charge from $18 to $19 per month, or an annual increase of $12, and a matching decrease in $12 in 'Delivery to You'. However, variable costs have increased by $4 per year. Combined these charges result in a total annual decrease of $8 in 'Delivery to You'.
 

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Surprise surprise

Yet another increase to $20. After all we have to support the million plus CEO salary for this not for profit organization! :)
 

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This fee is ridiculous. It should be based on usage. I wrote them as well.

Question: I am spending the summer at my cottage. Can I put my gas on hold for the summer or do I have to disconnect it now and reconnect it in the fall (what is the fee)?

Answer: If you wish to have the billing stopped for the gas at your home we will need to disconnect the gas which will cost a fee of $79.10. Please contact our Service Department at 1-877-362-7434 to have this arranged. When you wish to have the gas reconnected we will start a new account and there will be a new account charge of $25.00 plus HST charged on the first bill as well as a new account number issued.

If you leave the gas connected well you are gone then your billing will continue and if no gas is consumed you will be charged for your monthly customer charge of $20.00 per month.

Regards
Customer Care
Enbridge Gas Distribution
 

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a flat fee makes sense as there are min costs that dont matter how much gas you use. such as the person to maintain the computer that processes your bill or the meter man that drives by every few months.

still sucks to pay in the summer when its 50% or more of your bill!
 

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If by "50% or more" you mean 100% then sure.

I understand they need to maintain stuff and make profit, but they have to maintain 95% of that stuff regardless if my meter is connected or not. The bill should only be a couple of dollars a month when you use no gas, $20 is way too high.

Edit... looked to see if hydro was the same and they go with a much more reasonable $8.65 per month in Ottawa http://www.hydroottawa.com/pdfs/rate_brochures/may2012/Rates_residential_e.pdf

Hydro one seems just as unreasonable as the gas company @ $18 a month http://www.hydroone.com/RegulatoryAffairs/RatesPrices/Pages/ResidentialDeliveryRates.aspx
 

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a flat fee makes sense as there are min costs that dont matter how much gas you use. such as the person to maintain the computer that processes your bill or the meter man that drives by every few months.
Yes, but how does it make sense for the fee to continue long after costs have been recouped and they're not spending anymore?

The enbridge pipes in this neighbourhood are probably 30 years old now, never been touched. Surely 30 years of collecting these fees they've paid for everything and have enough saved up to replace it 5x over?
Why am I paying to subsidize new developments and their install costs?

The OEB should be looking at their installation and maintenance costs.
$x/mo for the first y months (to recoup install costs), then z/mo thereafter (maintenance cost of an established area/meter reader/admin). I suspect z would be far less than $20/mo. If X was higher, fine. But someone like me, whose area is clearly established and paid off - no way it should be costing the same as someone in a brand new area.

Remember, delivery etc. is all charged on top of this.. It's strictly for the pipe network, admin/billing/meter reading and the like.

Fixed + variable models are great, but only when the fixed is the true minimum and the variable is a reasonable rate. Otherwise we all get screwed, and the regulators just rubber stamp it. (look at internet.. same thing)
 

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The OEB should be looking at their installation and maintenance costs.
$x/mo for the first y months (to recoup install costs), then z/mo thereafter (maintenance cost of an established area/meter reader/admin). I suspect z would be far less than $20/mo. If X was higher, fine. But someone like me, whose area is clearly established and paid off - no way it should be costing the same as someone in a brand new area.
Think of how Enbridge would behave under that scenario. Assuming that they get to make a fixed return on their asset base they would replace your pipes once you got to y months. Your suggestion is based off of a cash type of accounting but the business world generally works on an accruals basis where you depreciate capital costs over a certain period using one of a handful of methodologies such as straight line, declining balance, sum of digits, etc.

I hate to be arguing on their side but I do believe that a fixed rate makes sense for each customer regardless of volume as there is a certain amount of costs for each customer, both carrying costs on assets for a customer (pipes, meters, etc) as well as costs of billing each customer. And then there is the costs of the gas backbone through the city - you can argue that some of this should be variable based on volume consumed but some should also be allocated to each customer. If not then it would not be economical for the gas company to provide services for low volume consumers.
 

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Assuming that they get to make a fixed return on their asset base they would replace your pipes once you got to y months.
Yes, and no.
They have to ask OEB for a rate increase (which they do annually, and get approved annually, or so it seems). So in their rate increase application, they'd have to prove a replacement is necessary to get their rate increased over the standard maintenance for a given area. This, of course, assumes regulators actually do their job and review things for the best interest of all parties.

I agree for mains, which would be in the base maintenance rate as it's required for service for everyone. But NEW expansion areas should be charged more because they cost more. Once that's paid down, then they can drop down to the standard rate for established areas.
 

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How about this:

1: Actual cost of the metered commodity, regardless where you are, mostly, only how much you use, and the only cost directly tied to usage.

2: Variable infrastructure costs, based on age and repairs needed on local and regional infrastructure, as well as service capacity to your home.

3: Fixed administrative costs, based on the cost of having the account, meter, and having it read.
 

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Here in Vancouver we get the ever popular Carbon Tax added on for the natural gas.

Fortis Gas:

Basic Charge ( Breathing award ) - $.3890 / day. ( ~ $12 / month)
Delivery: $3.527 / GJoule
Midstream: $ 1.365 / GJoule
Cost of Gas: $ 2.977 / GJoule
Carbon Tax: $ 1.2415 / GJoule

BC Hydro:

Basic Charge: ( Breathing Award ) $0.1505 / day. ( ~$4.50 / month)
Usage Charge: $0.068 / KW.hr

Overall.....rates above are not bad compared to the rest of Canada but we are getting it, in the 'you-know-where', for gasoline. Currently ~ 1.50/ litre for regular.
 
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