Natural gas is a fossil fuel primarily made of methane, hydrogen and carbon. Natural gas is colorless, shapeless and odorless in its pure form. The world is in constant need of energy, and natural gas is one of the most useful energy sources.
The commercial uses of natural gas are similar to the residential uses of natural gas. Natural gas offers a more economical means of heating and cooling large office buildings. It is often used for water-heating purposes, in hotels, for example.
Natural gas can also be used for on-site energy production through the use of turbines and even fuel-cell technology, reducing the dependence on more expensive off-site electricity production and reducing the energy lost during the transmission of electricity. Industrial power demands are very high, and the use of natural gas is widespread.
The use of natural gas for heating, lighting and cooling purposes is typical in industrial settings. Natural gas performs numerous industrial functions, including incineration of waste, boiler fuel, drying and as a feedstock for a variety of products. Aside from heating, natural gas is used to produce steel, glass, paper, clothing, brick, electricity, and used as an essential raw material for many common products including: plastics, antifreeze, dyes, photographic film, and explosives.
When natural gas is cooled to 260 degrees below zero, it turns from a gas into a liquid. Liquid natural gas taken up much less space than natural gas. This makes transportation and storage much easier. 600 cubic feet of natural gas can be turned into just once cubic foot of liquid gas.
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) regulates the provinces natural gas and electricity utilities. A primary function of the OEB is to regulate, review, and approve utility rates that each utility charges their customers. The OEB also licenses all marketers who sell natural gas and electricity to residential and small commercial consumers.
For more information on the Ontario Energy Board, please go to their website at http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB
Gas Supply – The gas commodity that flows through the pipes. This rate will either be set by the utility or the gas marketer.
Delivery – Cost of delivering the gas from a central pipeline to your house or business. This will pay for the construction and maintenance for the pipelines and systems that deliver the gas.
Transportation – A separate charge line only in some utilities. This is usually combined with delivery. The cost that your gas supplier has to pay to the pipeline company which gets the gas from where it is pumped out of the ground.
Electricity Supply – The electricity that comes through the wires. This rate is set by the utility or the electricity marketer. This portion of the bill is the only part of the electricity system that is deregulated.
Distribution – Cost of delivering the electricity within your utility and eventually to your home/business. This pays for the repair and maintenance of the wires and electrical systems.
Transmission – The cost the electricity supplier must pay to the utility to get the electricity from where it is generated to you.
Debt Retirement – This is a charge that helps pay down the previously accumulated debt from Ontario Hydro.
Customer / Monthly Charge – A fixed monthly charge from the utility to ensure your house/business has access to electricity.