The Ontario government is providing 21 days of electricity-rate relief to support families and workers spending more time at home, as well as small businesses, consistent with the length of time the province is in modified Step Two public health measures. As of 12:01 AM today electricity prices are lowered to the off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour -- less than half the on-peak rate -- 24 hours per day.
“As a province we are doing everything we can on our level to reduce the burden of business closures and help financially until it is safe to open” said Andrea Khanjin, MPP for Barrie-Innisfil. “Effective today, families and businesses will benefit from 21 days of electricity rate relief, which will provide immediate savings as people spend more time at home and work together to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.”
Electricity customers won’t have to do anything to benefit from the rate cut, it will be applied automatically to both Time-of-Use and Tiered rate plans on the bills of residential customers, small businesses and farms who pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).
Implementation of the off-peak rate builds on existing programs introduced by government to reduce electricity prices including the Ontario Electricity Rebate (OER), which provides a 17 per cent rebate on the subtotal of the electricity bill of eligible customers including households, small businesses and farms. Eligible customers will continue to benefit from the OER while off-peak pricing is in place.
“We extend our thanks to Local Distribution Companies, as well as the Ontario Energy Board who have worked quickly to ensure the off-peak rate is applied automatically to bills, providing a seamless experience for both Time-of-Use and Tiered customers, ” said Minister Smith.
The government has temporarily moved the province back into Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen, with modifications that take into account the province’s successful vaccination efforts. These time-limited measures will help blunt transmission and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed as the province continues to accelerate its booster dose rollout. They will be in place at least until January 26, 2022, subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.
The Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program provides eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity with rebate payments for a portion of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to public health measures in response to the Omicron variant.
The government is further supporting the health and safety of Ontarians during this difficult time by ensuring that natural gas and electricity utilities disconnection bans reman in place until April 30, 2022.
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is also available to Ontarians struggling with their energy bills. LEAP provides a one-time grant towards electricity or natural gas bills to eligible consumers who are behind on payments. To supply additional relief the OEB recently increased the grant amount so eligible consumers can now get up to $1000 for their electricity bills ($1200 if their home is electrically heated) and $1000 for their natural gas bills.