Like most people living in a part of the world whose climate includes noticeable winter, I’ve been dreading our heating bills for the coming winter. Our provincial government promised to keep the increase as low as possible, preferably 10% or less, but who has faith in government promises? Our neighbours immediately to the west are quite probably going to be facing a 40% increase, and the ones to the east have apparently been hit with a whopper, too. Can’t quote the figure for that one, but it must be pretty high, judging from the adjectives used in the newspaper. So, that didn’t do a whole lot for the confidence of we Manitobans, sandwiched between those two provinces.
But the government lived up to their promise this time … and then some. Woot! It was announced in the newspaper today that the increase will be 6.3%, or about an extra $6.75 per month for the average household. Never thought I’d see myself doing a happy dance about an increase in a utility bill, but this one has me feeling mighty relieved. Our natural gas consumption for the year is always a bit below the provincial average, so we’re probably looking at an increase of about a dollar per month less than the average. We’re on a monthly budget plan for our gas, which was just recalculated last month at $95.00 per month for the next year. Odds are that they won’t even recalculate our monthly billing amount now as we generally end up with a credit amount in our account by the end of the 12-month period. So, barring an unusually wicked winter, in which case another hike in February might be necessary, it’s not going to hurt anywhere near as much as anticipated.
In fact it won’t hurt at all for now as they reduced our budget by about $7.00 per month this time around. Quite surprising, really, as last winter was a corker in all ways. But we were more diligent about draught-proofing the house last autumn and I probably nagged about the thermostat setting a bit more than usual last winter, so I guess that must have made the difference. So, the increase now just puts us more or less back to what we’ve been used to for the past few years. The decrease would have been nice, but the status quo is fine.
Big sloppy kisses to Premier Doer and his cronies for having their acts together on this one and taking the appropriate steps in advance of the steep increase in gas prices. That alone is worth three votes next time around.
Now I guess I can let the shivering pair turn the thermostat up a couple of notches. Big gloppy splats of snow overnight and sleet showers today probably warrant warming up the indoors a tad.