Consumer Groups appeal Ontario Energy Board's Billion Dollar Giveaway

    TORONTO, June 19 /CNW/ - The Vulnerable Energy Consumers Coalition,
(VECC) together with the Consumers Council of Canada (CCC) and the Industrial
Gas Users Association (IGUA) today appealed the decision of the Ontario Energy
Board to allow Union Gas Limited to keep all revenues from natural gas storage
that is sold to non-Union customers. The storage was built with the rates paid
by Union Gas customers and the outside revenue has always been shared so that
Union Gas customers get 75% of the money credited against their rates.
    Now, Union customers will get nothing and Enbridge Gas Distribution
customers will pay for part of their gas storage obtained from Union Gas
Limited at rates that are six times the actual cost. (All customers of Union
Gas Limited and Enbridge Gas Distribution pay for natural gas storage in their
    Ontario's three main customer groups are appealing to the Ontario cabinet
to prevent the decision from being implemented. The cost to Ontario consumers,
after a brief transition period, is expected to be greater than $100 million
per year and one billion dollars over a ten-year period.
    "The OEB decision will not create any new natural gas storage, and
neither will it conserve or create energy," said Michael Janigan, General
Counsel of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre who represented VECC in the
Board's proceeding.
    "It is simply making Ontario consumers give a billion-dollar gift to
Union Gas Limited's American owners, Duke Energy. This is money obtained by
having Canadian customers pay over the years for storage to be developed and
then taking away the profits when the surplus storage becomes successful,"
Janigan continued.
    VECC and the other customer groups are requesting that the Ontario
Cabinet set aside the Board Decision and return it to the OEB for a rehearing.

For further information:

For further information: Michael Janigan, Executive Director and General
Counsel, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, (613) 562-4002 ext 26

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