FREDERICTON – New Brunswick’s biggest industrial users of natural gas, including the Irving Oil refinery and pulp and paper mills, would pay more to access natural gas under changes to the province’s Gas Distribution Act.
Energy Minister Craig Leonard says under the 1999 law, the province’s six largest users of natural gas have paid an annual fee to New Brunswick’s Energy and Utilities Board to bypass the province’s natural gas distributor, Enbridge Gas New Brunswick.
That fee, which isn’t based on natural gas consumption, was (Canadian) $50,000 in 1999 but has risen to (Canadian) $65,000 because of indexing.
The money was used to cover the board’s costs of regulating natural gas distribution.
Leonard says legislation introduced Tuesday would eliminate the fee but require those companies to pay (Canadian) $0.10 per gigajoule of natural gas to the board as of 2019.
Enbridge Gas New Brunswick general manager Gilles Volpe says he supports the changes, which he says could see those industrial users pay about (Canadian) $3 million to (Canadian) $4 million a year to the board.