Planned interruption days for winter 2015-2016

Each year, Gaz Métro shares its planned number of interruption days at its fall meeting, in an effort to help interruptible service customers plan their alternative supply in the event of an interruption.

While the weather has been fairly temperate to date, below is a reminder of the planned and maximum number of interruption days, by rate level, for winter 2015–2016

The planned number of days constitutes an estimate of the anticipated interruptions under normal weather conditions.

However, given that the maximum number of interruption days indicated in the Conditions of Service and Tariff document is higher, customers should not rely solely on the planned number of interruption days based on a normal temperature to plan their alternative supply.

Change in natural gas prices

In summer 2015, meteorologists forecast a particularly intense El Niño event for winter 2015 2016, and so far everything points to their being right! In Gaz Métro’s territory, November and December were 36% warmer than the expected norm.

This has had repercussions on the North American natural gas market. Stocks of natural gas are at record levels for this time of year, and the weakness in prices is worsening.

Source:  Energy Administration Information


The Empress monthly index was on average $2.53 per gigajoule for the first three months of winter, i.e. November 2015 to January 2016. On January 4, the financial markets forecast an average price of $2.50 for the remainder of winter, i.e. February and March.  If this trend continues, the price this winter will see a 27% drop from last winter.

American liquified natural gas (LNG) export projects

The first commercial deliveries of LNG to the Gulf of Mexico, as part of the Sabine Pass project, are expected to start in early 2016. Sabine Pass is the first in a series of six American LNG-export projects to be brought into operation over the next four years, representing a total capacity of a little over 8 billion cubic feet per day.

Sabine Pass is making its market debut at a time when LNG prices are depressed. The price of LNG imported by Japan hit US$7.50/MMBTU in November, its lowest level since this country began publishing statistics in this area. This represents a radical drop, if one considers that Japan was paying US$18/MMBTU in March 2014 for natural gas bought on the spot market.

Regulatory and rate monitoring

2016 rates

In December 2015, the Régie approved the new rate grid for 2015–2016. These new rates are effective January 1, 2016.

Compared to current rates, the average increase is 5.8% for transportation, load balancing, distribution and inventory. The rise is mainly attributable to increased costs in the transportation service and load balancing, which are partly offset by a decrease in distribution costs.

Don’t hesitate to contact your adviser for more information.

Conditions of Service and Tariff (PDF)

Transportation service

Currently, north zone customers pay higher fees for transportation than south zone customers. In the interest of fairness, Gaz Métro had asked the Régie to merge the north and south zones, so that a single price would apply across both zones. The Régie rejected the proposal and requested that an in-depth analysis of the treatment of transmission main costs for the Champion pipeline be conducted as part of the next rate case, in order to be able to make a decision on the issue. The Régie did, however, state that it was in agreement with the principle that customers in the same category should benefit from the same rate terms.

To avoid further penalizing north zone customers, the IGUA and Gaz Métro submitted, in late November, a joint request that north zone customers be temporarily charged the same transportation fee as south zone customers, as of January 1, 2016. The request was approved. The loss of revenue generated by this initiative will be accounted for in an expense account recorded as of now until the Régie makes a final decision on the zone merger.

Network extension - Bellechasse region

On December 10, 2015, the Régie approved the request for authorization to extend the network in the Bellechasse region. This project will enable Gaz Métro to provide natural gas service to four of the region’s municipalities and connect 97 customers in the industrial, institutional and commercial sectors, whose estimated total annual consumption is upwards of 9,358,000 m3.

The cost of the project is estimated at $39.9 M, of which $32.6 M will be subsidized by a financial participation of equal amounts from the provincial and federal governments. Construction work is expected to begin in May 2016 for commissioning in December 2016.