Flexing utility muscle: 2017 Enbridge Day series (Part 3 of 3)
Enbridge’s natural gas utilities adding 50,000 customers a year in the bustling GTA market
According to a classic baseball movie, if you build it, they will come.
But for Enbridge’s natural gas utilities these days, if they keep on coming, you need to build.
Enbridge’s two utilities, Enbridge Gas Distribution and Union Gas, serve the rapidly growing Canadian metropolis of Toronto. The two companies have a combined customer base of 3.6 million homes and businesses—a total that keeps on climbing.
“We are fortunate. Our assets serve one of the largest and fastest growing regions in North America,” said Cynthia Hansen, Enbridge’s Executive Vice President of Gas Distribution and Power Operations, during our recent Enbridge Day 2017 Annual Investment Community Conference in New York and Toronto.
“The Greater Toronto Area population is forecast to increase over 40 percent by 2041,” she added. “Population growth in Ontario continues to drive the need for infrastructure growth. We have exceptional growth in customers and assets. We add over 50,000 customers each year—and deploy capital in excess of $1 billion to maintain and grow our great assets.”
Enbridge’s gas utilities are a cornerstone of our three-year strategic plan, outlined during Enbridge Day 2017. These two utilities represent a strong platform for continued growth in both traditional and low-carbon markets, and currently enjoy a best-in-class North American utility footprint with connections to diverse gas supplies.
Future demand for natural gas is expected to remain strong, especially in Ontario, where the cost of this affordable, abundant, clean-burning fuel can be a little as one-third of alternatives.
Recent and ongoing Enbridge projects, designed to harness the potential of this energy source, include:
- The Dawn-Parkway capital expansion, placed into service earlier this year by Union Gas, that capped a $1.4-billion, three-year buildout of its multi-pipeline transmission system;
- Ever-increasing value of the Dawn Hub, the second-most physically traded natural gas hub in North America, which already has 278 Bcf of gas storage (equivalent to more than 60% of Ontario’s yearly power consumption); and
- Increasing the commercial viability of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) generation and capture, the role of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in urban transportation, and integration of gas and electric infrastructures.
Enbridge Gas and Union Gas recently applied to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to amalgamate on Jan. 1, 2019—a development that would create “the single largest natural gas utility in North America in terms of send-out volumes, and No. 3 in terms of customers,” said Ms. Hansen.
This harmonization would drive efficiencies and synergies, leverage greater supply-chain strength, create new opportunities for growth, and form a stronger platform to deliver strong, predictable returns to shareholders and superior value and service to customers.
“Streamlining our combined operations,” said Ms. Hansen, “will ensure that we are worth more together than apart.”