Union Gas is announcing significant increases in its residential and commercial rates, effective January 1.
Utility spokesperson Andrea Stass says residential customers in southwestern Ontario will see an annual increase of about $122 while businesses will absorb a yearly hike of $4,083.
Stass says more than half of the increase is due to the Ontario government's cap-and-trade program to address climate change.
"This is one of the larger increases that we've seen in recent times and it's predominantly related to cap-and-trade," says Stass.
"I will say, if you do look a the cost of natural gas compared to about ten years ago, it's still lower than it was then. So thanks to the abundant supply right here in North America it will continue to be the most affordable energy."
She says Union Gas does understand that any increase can be of a concern and the utility offers energy saving advice and incentives to help customers at uniongas.com/savemoney.
Union Gas adjusts the rates it charges its customers every three months.
Sarnia's Inn of the Good Shepherd Executive Director Myles Vanni says they're bracing for an increase in demand as the cost of living continues to go up.
"We're preparing for that and the aftermath of that and it's directly accountable for energy prices going up," says Vanni. "I think we're going to see it on a lot of things, food prices are going to go up because of the fuel and transportation required to move it around."
The Inn provides food to 1,800 people a month, 700 of whom are children, an increase of 300 people year-over-year.