By Tammy Schneider
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has announced the new, lower electricity prices for households and small businesses, which came into effective on May 1, under the Regulated Price Plan (RPP). This includes rates for summer time-of-use customers as well as the summer tier threshold for residential customers.
The government is also decreasing the Ontario Electricity Rebate (OER) from 21.2% to 18.9% effective May 1, 2021. The Government’s intention is that, for residential and small business customers, the reduction in the electricity price will be offset by the change in the OER. The OER is a total pre-tax credit that appears at the bottom of electricity bills. As a result of lower RPP prices and the reduced OER, typical residential customer bills will be held stable. The typical residential RPP customer uses 700 kWh of electricity per month.
The Nov. 1, 2020-Apr. 30, 2021 rates were 10.5 cents per hour for off-peak use, 15 cents per kilowatt hour for mid-peak and 21.7 cents per kilowatt hour for on-peak.
The new time of use prices are as follows:
Off-peak (weekdays 7 p.m. – 7 a.m., all day weekends and holidays) will cost 8.2 cents per kilowatt hour. Mid-peak (weekdays 7 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.) will cost 11.3 cents per kilowatt hour. On-peak (weekdays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) will cost 17 cents per kilowatt hour.
The Nov. 1, 2020-Apr. 30, 2021 rates for tiered use, residential, was 12.6 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 1,000 kilowatt hours and 14.6 cents per kilowatt hour above the 1,000 mark. For small businesses, the rate was the same.
The new RPP tier prices and summer tier threshold that apply to residential customers paying tiered prices are as follows:
Tier 1-residential – first 600 kWh/month and non-residential – first 750 kWh/month, will pay 9.8 cents per kilowatt hour.
Tier 2-residential – for electricity used above 600 kWh/month and non-residential – for electricity used above 750 kWh/month, the cost is 11.5 cents per kilowatt hours.
The OEB says residential and small business customers can choose their price plan, either TOU or tiered pricing. Customers are not required to select a price plan but if they wish to switch, they must notify their utility by completing and submitting an election form. Customers can contact their utility or visit their utility’s website for the election form.
There are several programs in place to support electricity customers. Programs include support for residential, small business and registered charitable organization customers who have overdue amounts on their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Support is available through the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program and the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business, both funded by the Government of Ontario.
A number of programs are available to help low-income consumers. Find out more at oeb.ca/billhelp.
The OEB has also prohibited electricity distributors from issuing disconnection notices to residential customers for the duration of the province-wide stay-at-home measures. The earliest date a distributor may issue a disconnection notice is May 20.