The Government of Ontario introduced a fixed, COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents/kWh , 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, for electricity used from  June 1, 2020 – October 31, 2020,  for households, farms and small businesses who pay time-of-use electricity rates.

1. What is being done to support households and businesses with increased electricity usage during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The government of Ontario extended emergency rate relief for time-of-use electricity customers until May 31, 2020. Households, farms, and small businesses paying TOU electricity rates were charged the lowest price, known as off-peak electricity rate, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until May 31, 2020.

Starting June 1, 2020, the government of Ontario has introduced a "COVID-19 Recovery Rate" of 12.8¢/kWh for TOU Regulated Price Plan (RPP) customers to provide stability and predictability for families, small businesses and farms. The rate is equal to the forecasted average RPP supply cost, calculated by the Ontario Energy Board in October 2019, for the twelve months starting November 1, 2019. The rate, subject to approvals, is intended to be in effect until October 31, 2020.

The government of Ontario will be looking to the Ontario Energy Board to develop, in consultation with distributors and other stakeholders as appropriate, the rules under which distributors will be required to offer their TOU customers the option to choose between TOU and tiered prices by November 1, 2020, so that Ontarians would be able to pick the electricity pricing approach that works best for them.

2. That's a big price increase on June 1 from 10.1¢/kWh to 12.8¢/kWh. Won't that create hardship if people have not gone back to work yet?

Compared to having peak/mid-peak/off-peak rates, the 12.8¢/kWh rate would better reflect ongoing adjustments to Ontarians' working arrangements.

A price that doesn't vary by time of day is a simple way to enhance predictability for residential, small business and farm customers about their costs, at a time when their electricity use might be a lot different than it is normally. This rate provides stability for Ontarians who are working and learning from home over the warm summer months. 

This rate is based on the forecasted average RPP supply cost, calculated by the Ontario Energy Board as of November 1, 2019. The government's primary focus remains protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians, while taking measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

3. The province just announced that schools remain closed until the end of the current school year. Why are you increasing the price on June 1 when kids will still be at home?
Compared to having peak/mid-peak/off-peak rates, the 12.8¢/kWh rate would better reflect ongoing adjustments to Ontarians' working arrangements.

A price that doesn't vary by time of day is a simple way to enhance predictability for residential, small business and farm customers about their costs, at a time when their electricity use might be a lot different than it is normally. By moving to the average rate, the government is continuing to suspend the TOU program to provide relief to Ontarians who are working and learning from home.

This rate is based on the forecasted average cost of supply. The government's primary focus remains protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians, while taking measures to stop the speak of COVID-19 and save lives.

4. Small businesses are already struggling. Is it fair to increase the price of electricity when they are just starting to reopen after being closed for two months?
Compared to having peak/mid-peak/off-peak rates, the 12.8¢/kWh rate would better reflect ongoing adjustments to Ontarians' working arrangements.

A price that doesn't vary by time of day is a simple way to enhance predictability for residential, small business and farm customers about their costs, at a time when their electricity use might be a lot different than it is normally. By moving to the average rate, the government is continuing to suspend the TOU program to provide relief to Ontarians who are working and learning from home.

This rate is based on the forecasted average cost of supply. The government's primary focus remains protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians, while taking measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

5. Will the new COVID-19 Recovery Rate be automatically applied to customer bills?
Yes, the fixed "COVID-19 Recovery Rate" of 12.8¢/kWh will automatically be applied to all customers who pay time-of-use (TOU) rates starting June 1, 2020. It is intended that this rate will continue to be in effect until October 31, 2020.
6. Will the COVID-19 Recovery Rate have an impact on customer bills?

Historical consumption patterns suggest that the monthly summer bills of most residential and small business customers charged at the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, would on average be expected to be within +/- 2 percent of the bill they would have received if they were charged the TOU prices by the Ontario Energy Board on November 1, 2019.

The bill impact for individual customers as a result of the adoption of the COVID-19 Recovery Rate will depend on how much electricity they use and the extent to which their consumption pattern is different from what it has been in the past.

7. How will this change affect customers who don't pay RPP TOU rates?

The majority of Energy+ residential, small commercial and farm customers are on TOU electricity prices under the RPP. 

Customers have the option to purchase electricity from a Retailer and are considered to be a Non-Regulated Price Plan (Non-RPP) customer. Customers who have signed a contract with an electricity retailer will not be affected by the new fixed price, but will be billed the electricity rates established in the terms and conditions of the contract with the electricity retailer. 

8. What is happening with the usage threshold for tired rates? The summer threshold that normally goes into effect May 1, is much lower than the winter (600 kWh versus 1,000 kWh per month). With most people home for all of May, the higher threshold will kick in much earlier for a lot of customers.
The Ontario Energy Board has extended the winter tier prices and the winter threshold also remain in place until further notice. By keep the winter threshold in place, residential customers will have an additional 400kWh/month available at the lower Tier 1 price.
9. Will customers be able to switch rate plans before November 1, 2020?
The government recognizes that some TOU customers may prefer to revert to typical TOU pricing with peak/mid-peak/off-peak rates before November 2, 2020. However, the government is proposing to introduce customer choice as of November 1, 2020.
 10. What is the difference between TOU and tiered electricity rates?

TOU rates vary according to when electricity is used. These are cheapest when demand is lowest: during the evenings, on weekends and on holidays. More about Time of Use Rates 

Tiered prices are the same regardless of time of day but become more expensive if a customer's overall electricity use goes above a set threshold. The current threshold for residential customers is 1,000 kWh/month following a decision by the Ontario Energy Board on April 14, 2020, to not implement the summer threshold, which is 600 kWh.