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Posted in: Ontario | Ratemaking | Consumer Protection

Sep 9, 2020

Changes Coming for Ontario Electricity Consumers

By David Stevens

Electricity consumers in Ontario may see a couple of changes in their electricity bills in the coming months.

First, as we have already discussed, as of November 1, 2020, regulated price plan customers will have the option to switch to “tiered pricing” instead of time-of-use (TOU) pricing. Those who switch to “tiered pricing” will see changes in their electricity bills.

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has now issued final amendments to the Standard Supply Service Code to support the customer election process necessary to switch from TOU pricing to tiered pricing. The main change from what was already published in previous OEB notices is that landlords will be permitted to make a “blanket election” between TOU pricing and tiered pricing that will apply each time a tenant’s account reverts back to the landlord on turnover of the rental unit. In its most recent notice, the OEB acknowledges that implementing the new customer billing option as of November 1st (less than two months from now) will be challenging and directs Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) who cannot meet this date to be immediately in touch with the OEB. Finally, the OEB indicates that there will be a dedicated “customer choice webpage for consumers, including a bill calculator” in place by early October.

Second, as of January 1, 2021, low-volume consumers will see additional messaging on their bills to inform them of available rate mitigation programs.

A recent proposal posted on Ontario’s Regulatory Registry indicates that the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM) proposes that LDCs and Utility Sub-Meter Providers will be required to include a new on-bill message for low-volume consumers that “will direct customers to ENDM’s new web page for further information about how the province provides financial support to electricity consumers.” This new requirement is planned to be in place as of January 1, 2021. In conjunction with this requirement, the ENDM plans to launch a new web page that will provide “up-to-date information about electricity bills,” including information about rate mitigation programs. Parties are invited to submit comments on the ENDM proposal by October 5, 2020.

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