Utility seeks partners in extending natural gas service to Sheffield
Union Gas is looking at extending service to the rural village of Sheffield — if the city and province help pay the cost of pipeline extension.
The company is proposing to apply for capital funding under a new provincial grant program that would allow extension of natural gas service to much of the hamlet of around 300 households.
The provincial program requires a municipal contribution for building costs, in this case a commitment of about $5,000 a year for a decade — or the equivalent of annual property taxes Union Gas would pay on a new pipeline.
Rural residents who choose to hook up to the new line would also pay an annual surcharge toward building costs. For the average natural gas user in Hamilton, that equates to about $500 a year.
Union Gas officials told councillors Monday they expect Sheffield residents who tap into the new pipeline and pay the surcharge would still save money compared to the cost of heating via other methods, such as electricity.
Councillors voted to endorse the grant application in principle to meet an end-of-July deadline.
But they also asked for more information about financial and environmental implications of the proposed pipeline expansion, as well as public meetings, before any final vote to authorize a project takes place.