Statement from Keith Brooks, Programs Director

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat – It is shocking that the Ministry of Energy is moving to overrule the Ontario Energy Board, which made a very sound decision to save homeowners money by encouraging new homes to be built with heat pumps, rather than gas furnaces. The speed at which this decision was made by the Ministry is also concerning.

The OEB decision would eliminate the subsidy for housing developers to connect to the gas system effective January 1, 2025. Currently, developers can receive a subsidy worth up to $6k per home, with an average of $4.5k per home. The OEB said eliminating this subsidy would encourage developers to install heat pumps instead, which will improve affordability by lowering heating costs while also reducing risks and costs for all other gas ratepayers. The OEB decision is a win-win for everyone but Enbridge, which stands to lose both customers and profits. The government’s planned legislation would accomplish the opposite – a huge win for Enbridge and a loss for all Ontarians.

The OEB specifically found that developers opt to put in gas because they don’t have to pay for the gas pipes (because of the subsidy) or for the higher energy bills that home buyers pay from having gas instead of heat pumps.

The government’s assertion that the OEB decision would halt the construction of homes is false. Developers can just forgo gas connections and install heat pumps instead, which would be “a win for homebuyers” in the OEB’s words. If the government wants to subsidize the cost of new homes even more, they should do that through a subsidy for green electricity infrastructure.

The Minister’s support for subsidies for new fossil fuel infrastructure – a new gas pipeline – that has a 60-year lifetime is indicative of this government’s interest in fighting climate change.

It is essential that new homes be built with decarbonization in mind, both to limit their contributions to climate change and to save homeowners the costs associated with retrofitting their home sometime in the future.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Carolyn Townend, Environmental Defence,