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Canada - Gas

Most homes in Canada are heated by either gas or oil. Many homes will also have a range of gas appliances such as cookers, hot water boilers and fires. Mains gas is widely available in the most populated territories, although not in Nunavut, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Yukon and NW Territories. In these areas it is possible to run appliances from bottled gas supplies and most areas will have a retailer which can provide you with gas bottles. However, the majority of remote customers will choose either electricity or solid fuel for their cooking and heating.

Each region has its own natural gas supplier. In British Columbia the supplier Terasen Gas has recently merged with Fortis BC. In Alberta the suppkier is ATCO Gas, SaskEnergy is responsible for supplies in Saskatchewan and in Manitoba supplies are provided by Manitoba Hydro. Ontario has two suppliers – Union Gas and Enbridge and Quebec is served by Gaz Metro. Many areas will not give customers a choice of gas suppliers.

When you need to open an account for gas supplies you simply call the customer service department of the company that supplies your region. The policy of each company is different when dealing with new customers. Some companies may ask for an administration fee in order to open the account. Some customers may also be asked to pay a security deposit. This depends on a number of factors but may take into account residency status, previous custom and credit history. The fees that are charged vary according to region and the company.

New customers should also be aware that there may be a connection fee payable. If there is a gas main in existence in your street then most homes are charged only a nominal fee to be connected to it. Companies will consider individual cases where there is no gas main in the street. Economic tests are carried out and customers may be required to pay a fairly high fee in order to be connected. There are funds available to pay part of the cost for you which allows companies to charge low rates for connection.

When bills arrive there are a number of ways in which you can pay. You can opt for a direct debit system known as the Pre-Authorised Payment Plan. This gives the company permission to take the amount directly from your bank account. Most companies will also accept a cheque as payment and this can be posted directly to them, address details and an envelope are usually provided with your bill. Some companies have a drop-box system where you can simply drop off your cheque payments. These are usually outlets for the gas company. Those who have telephone or internet banking can pay using this method and most banks and post offices will take payments over the counter for you. You can also go online to the gas company website or call the customer service department to make a payment by credit or debit card.

As most companies have websites and allow you to manage your gas account this way you can also go online to see your bill details if the paper copy has not arrived through the post. You can also opt to have the bills sent to your email address. As Canada has more than one official language you should be able to choose which language your bills are produced in, although you may find that most will send bills in both languages.

Meters are read on a regular basis. This will depend on the company but most will read meters every 2-3 months, but most bills are sent out on a monthly basis. This means that most bills will be estimated based on possible usage. You are able to get an accurate bill by simply providing the meter reading yourself. There are also a variety of meter types in use as green technologies for monitoring energy consumption are developed, but these may not be available in all areas.

In cases of emergency your gas provider should be your first port of call. Most companies advise that if you smell gas then you should leave the building and call the emergency helpline at the gas company.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners


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