Adding a Gas Line in Ottawa – it ain’t easy

I have clients who have an oil furnace that’s been red-tagged. That means it’s been declared dangerous and shouldn’t be used. The oil company will no longer supply them with oil when this tank is empty. And so they have been trying to arrange to get a gas line installed so they can put in a new gas furnace before winter. But it ain’t easy.

They’ve been waiting for well over a month and still can’t pin down Enbridge with a date. They’ve also discovered that although gas line connections used to be free, they are now expected to pay for the privilege.

I contacted a local HVAC company to find out what’s involved these days in switching to gas. And this is the answer I got:

In August Enbridge notified us that they are changing their policy on what they term Non Customers On Main (NCOM) and connection to the mains. They used to do the connections for free however they are now charging for ALL connections. They have not been very forthcoming about the cost, they will provide the cost on a case-by-case basis.

They are no longer doing installations for this year. They stop in the fall and do not do lines in the winter. When we contacted them last week for a similar case – customer wanted to purchase a home with oil, they told us we’d have to submit an application for gas and then they would let us know in February what the charge would be. Installation would be done by June.

As for the charges – we have been hearing of rates ranging from $2500 to $45,000. Yep. One of our fellow ClimateCare members in the GTA had them tell him that they would charge $45K for an installation at Keel and Lawrence Streets – in the heart of Toronto.  The average seems to be in the $4000 range. I suspect in this case, with gas at the attached unit, you should be at the lower end of the cost spectrum.

So – if you are considering a switch to gas, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. You can’t budget for the cost of the installation ahead of time, because you don’t know how much it will be, and you don’t know when you’ll get that gas line either. For my clients, living in a precarious situation where they could run out of oil this winter, I’ve suggested they contact the Enbridge Ombudsman’s office for help. Fingers crossed.

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