Since summer 2013, the Federation of Alberta Gas Co-ops Ltd. has become the administrative organization for Alberta’s Rural Gas Grant Program. Through this program, all eligible rural gas utilities can apply for grant funding to offset the cost of constructing new rural agricultural and domestic services as well as some capital improvements to provide greater system efficiencies. Eligible rural gas utilities include any rural natural gas distribution co-op, rural municipal gas utility, or rural First Nations gas utility, regardless of whether they are Federation Members.
The Grant Program is a partnership between the Federation and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Alberta Agriculture provides the funding for the grant, which is then disbursed by the Federation following the rules and procedures as agreed to between Alberta Agriculture and the Federation.
The Rural Gas Grant was a key part of the 1973 Rural Gas Program and remains a significant factor in keeping the cost of natural gas service to Alberta’s rural residents and agriculture community affordable. Under the formula, a homeowner or farmer pays the first portion of the cost of installing a new service. If the average cost of all eligible services exceeds an annually predetermined threshold (in 2016, this threshold is $7,000), the costs above the threshold become eligible for grant support with the grant program paying for 75% of the costs above the threshold. If the cost of the service is more than $20,000, the costs above $20,000 are ineligible for grant support.