Today we have a guest blog post from Kai Nagata at Dogwood. Thanks for contributing Kai!
“Ten years ago, Australians with gas furnaces and stoves paid the same for heating fuel as British Columbians do today: about $5 per gigajoule.
Today, customers in Sydney pay more than $20 per gigajoule. If Fortis BC customers paid Australian gas prices, the average household’s monthly bill would more than double.
What happened? Over the last decade, Shell and other companies built a series of massive LNG export terminals in Australia. Now domestic customers pay global prices.
The corporations send almost the entire country’s gas production overseas to make maximum profit. Australians get almost no tax revenue or royalties because their politicians signed it all away to entice the construction of LNG terminals.
And they pay higher energy bills – on top of rising costs for groceries and rent.
Shell is also building a massive LNG export terminal on our west coast, in Kitimat. The whole point is to connect shale gas deposits in Northeast B.C. with the same high-priced gas markets in Asia, via the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Of course the gas market could collapse as it has in the past, making LNG terminals uneconomic. But if the industry’s forecasts pan out, Fortis BC customers are in for a shock: they’re going to be charged the same high price for gas other countries are willing to pay.
This is a major downside of the LNG industry that no politician wants to talk about. An extra $160 per month for heating fuel would force a lot of B.C. families to choose between gas and groceries.
Fortunately, there is a way for B.C. to avoid taking the same path as Australia. We can stop approving new fracking and gas export terminals. And we can stop hooking up new homes to pipelines.
Every new building outfitted with gas appliances is a building we will have to retrofit to renewable energy in a few years. In the meantime, residents will be tied to wildly fluctuating global gas prices.
It’s one reason we’re asking Premier Eby to ban gas in new buildings. Of course, there are also well-documented health risks from breathing fossil fuel exhaust indoors. And the climate impacts.
More than 100 representatives from the building sector, labour, municipalities, housing associations and health care have written an open letter calling for a gas ban. Add your name!
The BC NDP government promises a bonanza of housing construction in the years to come. Let’s make sure those new homes use renewable energy – not fracked gas.
Thanks for your support,
P.S. A modern building with good insulation and an electric heat pump – or geothermal district heating – has no need for a gas line. Australia’s LNG nightmare shows us one more reason to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Tell premier Eby to ban gas in new buildings.