Panhandle Regional Expansion Project
To serve a growing demand for natural gas across all sectors in Essex County, including Windsor, LaSalle, Amherstburg, Tecumseh, Essex, Leamington, Lakeshore, Kingsville, and in western Chatham-Kent, Enbridge Gas Inc. (“Enbridge”) is pleased to announce this Expression of Interest for natural gas distribution service, which may require incremental facilities to serve this area.
This Panhandle Regional Expansion Project (the “Project”) is considering alternatives that could provide 65,000 to 130,000 m3/hour of additional natural gas capacity. Depending on customer location additional local reinforcement may also be required to serve new and existing customers in this developing area. The potential Project is targeting incremental net demand from all sectors and is focused on the Large Volume commercial, industrial and greenhouse growth planned over the next five to ten years. Large Volume customers would include those consuming at least 50,000 m3/year or more. Small Volume customers interested in capacity should submit their request via the Get Connected website. The purpose of this expression of interest is to gather Large Volume customer input to help prepare a forecast that identifies the location, timing and magnitude of customer growth. The information gathered through the Expression of Interest process will be used to evaluate and finalize alternatives necessary to meet the demands and timing identified (potentially as early as fall 2023 or 2024).
Enbridge Gas recognizes that with the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are currently facing significant challenges; however, many others are planning significant growth. To ensure adequate capacity is available to accommodate the timing of any growth, the process must move forward at this time. Concurrent with this process to express interest in new capacity, all existing contract rate class customers in the Area of Benefit (see attached map on page 4) will be offered the opportunity to “turn back” or de-contract their capacity via a concurrent Reverse Open Season using the same bid form. Bids under the Reverse Open Season will be subject to other customers contracting to take on that “turned back” capacity. In this way, Enbridge will minimize the facilities required to serve incremental demand while optimizing any unwanted existing capacity. Existing customers should submit only one form for each site. Existing customers or potential new customers contemplating an expansion on a new site/address should submit a form for each new site/address.
The development of this Project is contingent upon sufficient net market demand and approval of the Project by the Ontario Energy Board (“OEB”). If sufficient demand is demonstrated, Enbridge Gas will file a Leave to Construct application with the OEB, with the goal of making the Project economically viable for customers in the area. Included in that application will be a proposed economic allocation methodology. Assuming the proposed economic allocation methodology is approved; large volume customers would be expected to execute distribution contracts of at least 10 years in order to make an economic contribution towards the transmission component of the Project. The Hourly Allocation Factor process recently approved by the OEB will be used for any additional distribution facilities that may be required related to the demands served by the transmission facilities. By proposing this approach, Enbridge Gas is trying to ensure the Project is economic for customers. This allocation will address the facilities needed to serve the area shown on the attached map (page 4). This allocation does not include costs that are required to serve each specific customer such as new facilities built at the customer’s site. The proposed allocation methodology will be subject to an economic review and approval of the OEB.
Enbridge Gas will consider the size and location of all requests for new capacity in designing the optimal facilities. If insufficient net customer interest or economic approval is not forthcoming, the Project is unlikely to proceed as proposed herein.
Capacity would be available for the following services, depending on market support:
- New firm distribution service
- Conversion of existing interruptible distribution service to firm service
- New interruptible distribution service
This Expression of Interest process closes, and completed Expressions of Interest Bid Forms are due, no later than 12:00 p.m. EDT on Wed. March 31, 2021.