By Tammy Schneider
On Jan. 27, the provincial government announced it would be extending the reduced electricity rate of 8.5 cents per kilowatt until Feb. 9, 2021. This lower rate is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for time-of-use and tiered customers.
The government said the extension came as a result of the lockdown and stay-at-home order, which has meant more residents are spending time at home and using more electricity.
“We know staying at home means using more electricity during the day when electricity prices are higher, that’s why we are extending the off-peak electricity rate to provide households, small businesses and farms with stable and predictable electricity bills when they need it most,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “We thank Ontarians for following the provincial stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The off-peak rate came into effect Jan. 1, 2021, following the Boxing Day lockdown, for a 28-day period, providing families, farms and small businesses with immediate electricity rate relief. The government is now extending this rate relief for an additional 12 days, for a total of 40 days. The off-peak price will continue to be automatically applied to bills of all residential, small business, and farm customers who pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board and get a bill from a utility.
“We thank the Ontario Energy Board and local distribution companies across the province for implementing this extended emergency rate relief and supporting Ontarians as they work and learn from home,” said Bill Walker, Associate Minister of Energy.
Families, small businesses and charitable organizations with overdue electricity and natural gas bills can apply for support through the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program. A residential customer can receive up to $750 to help cover their overdue electricity bill and natural gas bills, while small businesses and charities can receive up to $1,500 for each bill. Customers can contact their utility to apply.
Businesses can apply for Energy and Property Tax Rebates through the COVID-19 Business Support grants, if required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial health measures.
Small businesses are encouraged to apply for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which offers a $10,000 – $20,000 grant for qualified small businesses that were required to close or significantly restrict services under the province-wide shut down on Dec.26, 2020.