Hydro news: flat rates are gone, prices rise (along with rebates) – and now you have a new billing choice... Got that?

·2 min read

The flat rate of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour introduced by the provincial government to help with COVID-19 financial strain ended on Oct. 31.

However, at the same time the province raised the rebate it introduced last year from 31.8% to 33.2%.

Not only did time-of-use billing return on Nov. 1, but rates went up for each time slot. The Ontario Energy Board says change adds about $2.25 more monthly for an average family with 700 kWh.

Rates would have gone up even more this Nov. 1 because of COVID-19 impact on suppliers, but the OEB decided to put the increased costs by suppliers into its pricing formula over two years rather than one.

NEW RATES, NEW PRICING

The fixed rate we were paying was 12.8 cents per kWh. The new Winter residential prices are Off-Peak 10.5 ¢/kWh; Mid-Peak 15.0 ¢/kWh and On-Peak 21.7 ¢/kWh.

A new twist is that (also as of Nov. 1) the Ontario Energy Board is allowing people to choose something called “tiered” pricing instead of time of use.

With Tiered billing, the charge is the same per kilowatt hour no matter what time of day – but only up to a certain limit. The cost per hour goes up if you go over the threshold.

The limit changes with the seasons – 1,000 in the winter and 600 in the summer.

The “Tiered” price that came into effect Nov. 1 is 12.6 cents under 1,000 and 14.6 cents over that.

And for non-residential customers – and businesses that operate in the daytime only, may want to take note of this – the limit is 750 kWh year-round and the Winter rates are the same.

NOT MUCH PRICE DIFFERENCE ON AVERAGE

The OEB says it set TOU and Tiered prices so that both recover the same forecast average cost of supply for a typical consumer.

Now since no one’s exactly average, there may be an advantage for you – but how to know?

If you are considering whether a switch to Tier pricing would lower your bill, there is an online bill calculator to use. It’s at www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/bill-calculator

Since we’re coming off an extended period when people weren’t being charged more for the different time of day, a bill from last winter might better reflect your household’s usage patterns.

And take note that if you do decide to switch from Time of Use to Tiered prices, it’s up to you to notify your utility.

https://youtu.be/vePrWDej54g

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald