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Bringing Natural Gas to your community​

Ontario's Southern Bruce region has been advocating for natural gas service to relieve the pressure of high electricity and heating costs on residents, businesses and farms – and, to sustain and grow the regional economy. In April 2018, natural gas took a step closer to becoming reality for Southern Bruce when the Ontario Energy Board approved our proposal to establish natural gas distribution services for the region.

Project overview

​EPCOR proposes to develop a comprehensive natural gas distribution system to serve the communities of Chesley, Paisley, Inverhuron, Tiverton, Kincardine, Lurgan Beach, Point Clark, Ripley and Lucknow, as well as the Bruce Energy Centre.

EPCOR's distribution system will consist of 2 components:

  • A larger diameter mainline that will be the backbone of the system and transport gas to each of the communities, approximately 120 km.
  • Smaller diameter medium-density polyethylene (MDPE) distribution piping that will be constructed with each of the communities to directly serve homes and businesses, approximately 178 km.

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) approved the project in April 2018. It is currently reviewing EPCOR's Leave to Construct and Rates Application.

Proposed routes

The mainline will commence at Dornoch at an interconnection with Union Gas (Union) and will extend westerly from Dornoch to the Bruce Energy Centre, then extending southerly to serve Inverhuron, Tiverton, Kincardine Lurgan Beach and Point Clark. The mainline will then extend easterly to serve Ripley and Lucknow. The image below illustrates the proposed routing of this mainline.

The route selection process

When developing route options, our goal is to identify a preferred route with lower levels of overall impact. We consider several factors, including:

  • Input from local stakeholders
  • Health and safety
  • Social impacts
  • Environment
  • Existing infrastructure
  • Use of existing infrastructure space, such as utility corridors and road right-of-ways
  • Length of the pipeline and associated costs
  • Routing that follows a reasonably direct path between start and end points
  • Construction impacts

Timeline

Community & environmental impact
We value the environment and the communities where we work and live. EPCOR works closely with stakeholders to ensure impacts, both to the Southern Bruce community and natural environment, are minimized.

Environmental considerations

A comprehensive environmental study of the construction and operation of the proposed natural gas pipeline has been completed and submitted to the Ontario Energy Board to meet the intent of the Ontario Energy Board's Environmental Guidelines for the Location, Construction and Operation of Hydrocarbon Pipelines and facilities in Ontario, 7th Edition (2016).

We have consulted with landowners, residents, Aboriginal communities, government agencies, and others who are interested in the project in order to balance the Project's development with environmental considerations. These considerations include:

  • First Nations and Métis Interests
  • Wildlife habitat and Species at Risk
  • Water resources and waterways
  • Soils and agricultural lands
  • Impacts to residents and businesses
  • Heritage resources and Cultural Heritage Landscapes

View the final environmental report.

Local infrastructure impacts

The proposed pipeline consists of approximately 75 km of steel high pressure pipe and approximately 45 km of medium density polyethylene pipe. Through a combined 178 km of distribution piping, natural gas service will be provided to a maximized number of customer connections including residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial customers in Arran-Elderslie, Kincardine, and Huron-Kinloss.

Employment impacts

Contractors and suppliers play a vital role in our ability to do business. We are currently in the planning stages of this project. Details on how the project will affect local employment, as well as employment opportunities, in Southern Bruce communities will be available at a later date.

Consultation

  • EPCOR continues to engage landowners, residents, First Nations and Métis communities, as well as other directly-affected and interested stakeholders in the development of this project, and will continue to respond to concerns throughout the life of the Project.
  • In May 2018, EPCOR held 3 drop-in information sessions for the public to learn about the proposed project.
  • EPCOR will hold public information sessions with more information on rates and how customers can get connected after the OEB approves the project.

  • Read more information about EPCOR's Public Information Sessions.

Regulatory process

EPCOR has been working since 2015 to bring natural gas service to the area. In 2016, the Municipality of Kincardine, Township of Huron-Kinloss and the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie selected EPCOR as the preferred provider through a competitive process and entered into gas distribution franchise agreements.

The OEB regulates the natural gas industry in Ontario in the public's interest. Under Section 90 of the Ontario Energy Board Act, the OEB's review and approval are required before the Project can proceed. Here's an overview of the regulatory process:

  • October 2017: EPCOR submitted the Common Infrastructure Plan to the OEB

  • April 2018: After a detailed and public competitive process, the OEB awarded EPCOR the project and awarded EPCOR the project and issued the certificates of public convenience and necessity.

  • July 2018: We completed the report for the environmental study.

  • Fall 2018: We filed our Leave to Construct (EB-2018-0263) and Rate (EB-2018-0264) applications with the OEB.

  • October 2018: We applied to transfer the certificates of public convenience and necessity to EPCOR Natural Gas Limited Partnership to consolidate our natural gas operations in Ontario under a single entity.

EPCOR's Leave to Construct application includes comprehensive information on the project, including: the need for the project, facility alternatives, project costs and economics, pipeline design, pipeline construction, environmental mitigation measures, land requirements, and Aboriginal consultation.

If our applications are approved, construction of the replacement pipeline is expected to begin in Q2 2019.

Public hearing

The OEB will then hold a public hearing to review the project. This will include notices in local newspapers, letters to directly affected landowners, the opportunity for the general public and landowners to ask questions and submit questions regarding the project, and a written decision regarding the project.

If, after this review, the OEB finds the project is in the public interest, it will approve construction of the pipelines. If the project is approved the OEB normally attaches conditions to its approval with which EPCOR will comply during the construction and restoration process. Learn more about the OEB.