Énergir charges its customers three times more for renewable natural gas (RNG) that the distributor is unable to deliver, according to a coalition of environmentalists who accuse the company of greenwashing.

Énergir offers its customers the choice between 10%, 30% or 100% of their consumption in renewable natural gas, while there is only 1% of RNG in its network, the rest being fossil natural gas.

“This is a major deception,” said Patrick Bonin, spokesperson for Greenpeace Canada, which is a member of the Get Out the Gas! coalition⁠1

Renewable natural gas costs more than three times as much as regular natural gas. Énergir customers who choose the GNR option with the intention of helping the planet believe that they are paying a higher price to green their energy consumption, while the gas they receive is the same as those who pay the regular rate.

A client of the company realized this too late, after signing up for the option that offered her 30% GNR at an additional cost estimated by Énergir at $11.29 per month. “When I saw that I was paying more for the same thing, I decided to cancel my subscription to the GNR option and get my money back”, explained this consumer who believed in good faith that 30% of the natural gas delivered to her would be renewable.

After congratulating its client on her choice, Énergir writes: “30% of your consumption will be converted to renewable natural gas”. The invoice received afterwards reinforces this perception. Énergir indicates that it “supplied” to this customer’s address 30% of its consumption in GNR (5 cubic meters) at a price of 56.84 cents per cubic meter and the rest (42 cubic meters) of natural gas from fossil sources at 15.16 cents per cubic meter.

In fact, the customer received the same natural gas as her neighbour, who did not pay more for RNG. It is not possible to differentiate between the molecules of renewable natural gas and those of fossil gas, which are identical, whereas Énergir’s offer suggests that customers can be supplied in a personalized way.

“It’s literally scandalous”, adds the spokesperson for Greenpeace, who does not understand that the Caisse de depot et placement, which is the main shareholder of Énergir, “is complicit in this misleading communication strategy”.

Énergir offers its customers the option of converting part of their fossil gas consumption into renewable natural gas on a voluntary basis. Starting next year, the company’s new residential customers will have no choice: they will have to pay the price of renewable natural gas or convert to electric-natural gas dual energy.

Énergir wants the share of renewable natural gas in its network to increase to 10% by 2030.