Albertans will not be seeing any rebates applied to their natural gas bills come this month and this is due to the fact that January’s highest monthly default natural gas rate reached $6.446 per gigajoule, which is below the price needed to trigger a rebate.
According to the province, the Natural Gas Rebate program is triggered if the monthly default natural gas rate from any of the regulated utility providers (ATCO Gas North and ATCO Gas South, as served by Direct Energy Regulated Services or Apex Utilities) exceeds $6.50 per gigajoule.
"For example, if the highest regulated rate is $7.50 per gigajoule, eligible consumers would get a rebate of $1 for every gigajoule used in that month," the province stated.
Albertans using alternative heating fuels that are not connected to the natural gas distribution system will be able to apply for the rebate through an online application portal. Once the rebate is triggered, the online portal will be opened for customers using natural gas, propane, kerosene, or heating oil for heating purposes.
However, the province underlined that a temporary price ceiling of 13.5 ¢/kWh is now in place to help reduce electricity costs for Albertans on the Regulated Rate Option (RRO) in January.
"The RRO price ceiling offers customers who are not on competitive contracts price stability throughout the winter months when the weather is coldest and usage is at its highest. This protection, combined with the expanded $75 electricity rebates arriving in January, provides added support for more than 1.9 million homes, families and small businesses."
The electricity rebate has been extended through the first four months of 2023 to provide even more support with high utility costs. Ratepayers will receive two installments of $75, to be credited directly to their bills, for January and February consumption. This will be followed by a further $25 credit on bills for March and April consumption.
Also starting this month, as of January 1, Alberta will be suspending the full provincial fuel tax for six months, according to the province.
"Albertans will save 13 cents per litre on gasoline and diesel from January to June," a provincial press release in late December stated.
On July 1, 2023, the program will return to the current system of providing fuel tax relief based on the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil. This system will then remain in place permanently.