After five long years of planning and pining, it looks like natural gas will finally be coming to thousands of homeowners and businesses in Bruce County.

"We have needed this our so desperately for our economic development," says Anne Eadie, mayor of the Municipality of Kincardine.

Natural gas has never been available to residents in the municipalities of Kincardine, Huron-Kinloss or Arran-Elderslie.

With cheap electrical rates and hope that excess steam from Bruce Power might power the region, previous governments never explored natural gas.

Rising electrical rates finally prompted the three municipalities to try and find someone willing to spend $100 million to lay hundreds of kilometers of pipe to bring natural gas to the region.

They think they've found that someone, in the form of Epcor, an Edmonton-based utility making its first foray into natural gas market.

"We're unique in our ownership. We're a municipally owned utility so we view ourselves as partners with municipalities in these kinds of ventures," says Stephen Stanley, VP of Epcor Utilities.

The move is already being lauded by industry, residents and farmers.

"Having that option, currently the most cost effective way to heat our homes and farms would a great advantage. We would absolutely welcome the news," Patrick Jilesen with the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture.

But natural gas isn't coming to every home or farm. The towns in the three municipalities and big-use industries will take first priority.

"Not everyone will have access. We will try to get to as many as we can but obviously cost comes into play," says Mitch Twolan, mayor of Huron-Kinloss.

The mayors see natural gas as a way to retain and hopefully attract industry who've passed them by over the years.

They also feel the less fortunate will also benefit.

"Those single pensioners that can't pay their electrical bills, I hope they'll be able to now. I'm saying we're 95% of the way there," says Paul Eagleson, mayor of Arran-Elderslie.

Following expected government approvals, natural gas could be available in the three municipalities by 2019.