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Enbridge Gas ENB-T is taking the Ontario Energy Board to court over a decision the utility said would increase costs for consumers, but which environmental groups have applauded as encouraging less reliance on natural gas.

Enbridge has filed a notice of appeal in Ontario’s Divisional Court asking the court to set aside four key parts of the late December OEB ruling that would see customers pay the total capital cost of a natural gas connection upfront instead of spread over 40 years.

Energy Minister Todd Smith has said the OEB strayed “out of their lane” with the decision and said he will introduce legislation to overturn it because it would increase the cost of new homes.

Environmental groups said the decision was a huge win for the environment and Ontarians, as it would have encouraged the uptake of greener home heating and cooling like heat pumps, and the reversal would be just a gift to Enbridge Gas.

Enbridge in its notice of appeal says the OEB failed to set rates that are “just and reasonable,” as required by law.

The utility has estimated the connection cost at $4,400 and the OEB – in a split decision – said it should be paid up front by home developers in part to incentivize them “to choose the most cost-effective, energy-efficient choice.”

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