OEB to defer setting summer electricity rates for households, small businesses
By Kavita Sabharwal-Chomiuk
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) recently announced that it will defer setting new electricity prices for households and small businesses under the Regulated Price Plan (RPP). The OEB is also leaving the winter time-of-use (TOU) periods and winter residential threshold in place past May 1, 2020, to provide greater price stability for housebound consumers.
The OEB typically sets new RPP prices in May and November, based on an estimate of how much it will cost to supply RPP customers with the electricity that they are expected to use. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty has resulted around various aspects of the supply cost and electricity demand estimates that underpin RPP prices. The OEB will monitor the impact of COVID-19 on supply costs and electricity demand, and may make pricing adjustments prior to November 1, 2020, if necessary.
In March, the Ontario government issued an Emergency Order, fixing TOU prices at the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents/kWh for all hours of the day. The 45-day measure is set to expire on May 7, 2020, at which time, customers on TOU pricing will go back to paying the November 1, 2019 RPP pries. Customers on tiered pricing will continue to pay the RPP prices in effect today. The winter tier threshold provides customers on tiered pricing with an additional 400kWh/month at a lower price. For customers on TOU pricing, the winter TOU price period extension means that the mid-peak rather than the higher on-peak price will apply in the afternoon (11 a.m. until 5 p.m.).
The TOU prices that will apply once the emergency prices cease are shown in the table below. The prices are the same as those set by the OEB for November 1, 2019, and will remain in place until further notice.
|TOU Price Periods – Winter Hours Remain in Effect||TOU prices|
Weekdays 7 p.m. – 7 a.m., all day weekends and holidays
(These hours are off-peak all year round.)
Weekdays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
(In the summer period, electricity used during these hours would normally have been charged at the on-peak price. These hours can be a time of higher electricity use for consumers at home.)
Weekdays 7 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
(In the summer period, electricity used during these hours would normally have been charged at the mid-peak price.)
The table below shows the prices for customers paying tiered rates, as well as the tier thresholds that apply. The prices are the same as those set by the OEB for November 1, 2019, and will remain in place until further notice.
|Tiered RPP Prices – Winter Residential Tier Threshold Remains in Effect||Tiered prices|
|Tier 1||Residential – first 1,000 kWh/month|
(In the summer period, the tier threshold would normally go down to 600 kWh. Keeping the winter threshold in place provides customers an additional 400kWh/month at the lower price.)
Non-residential – first 750 kWh/month
|Tier 2||Residential – for electricity used above 1,000 kWh/month|
Non-residential – for electricity used above 750 kWh/month
In addition, on March 19, the OEB extended the winter ban on disconnecting homes for non-payment to July 31, 2020. Low-volume, small business customers are also protected by the ban.
The Government of Ontario also recently announced that it will provide $9 million in emergency financial relief for customers that have fallen behind in paying their energy bills due to COVID-19. The OEB is working closely with the government to get this program running quickly.