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Ready for rate rage? Soon, there will be even more changes to time-of-use hydro charges

Clockwatchers: hydro meters keep of track of who uses what and when (Image: Anthony Easton)

Back when the Ontario government introduced time-of-use billing to hydro, it had two simple purposes: to reflect the higher costs of daytime power (when home and business energy use turns on expensive natural gas plants) and to try and shift consumer’s electricity use from expensive daytime power to cheaper nighttime power (when Ontario mostly runs off nuclear and hydroelectric power.)  Just one problem: it doesn’t seem to have worked. According to the CBC, the government is now looking at making the peak power rates even more expensive.

The report says the difference isn’t big enough to encourage people to change their energy consumption habits but if the OEB does move to change the prices, customers will see results.

“As customers shift consumption in response to the rates, the percentage of those experiencing bill savings will increase,” said the report, written by the Brattle Group.

“There’s no question we’re aware of the fact the bigger the difference between on-peak and off-peak use,” said Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid.

Duguid said he wants to create a “bigger the incentive for people to shift to off-peak use.”

Of course this would not be the first time that the Liberals in Queen’s Park have tinkered with time-of-use rates, having just announced an earlier beginning to the off-peak period. So if the headline to the report is “Liberals want to triple or quadruple daytime hydro rates,” we’re cynical enough to think that this issue will be buried—at least until sometime after election day.

• Modify key electricity rates: report [CBC News]

  • thecitygurl

    This is getting ridiculous. How is a senior on a pension supposed to afford to heat their house or apartment in the winter when peak and mid rates run from 7am to 11pm???

    I have cut back on the temperature at home already and watch my hydro use daily (using Toronto Hydro online time of use) and I cannot believe the difference a year is making.

    I’m getting very frustrated with this.

  • D. Lippay

    They can move the hands on the clock all around, they can “recalibrate” the meters to “properly” record the usage. If you can conserve or use less, the KWH rates will rise. Bottom line in the programme, your electricity cost will increase no matter what you do.

  • Glenn Hubbers

    One thing to remember, there are many reasons why energy rates are on the rise and will continue to do so, but this is not due to the policies of one political party over another. Anyone saying that we can have the good old days back with cheap power no matter how much we use or when we use it either lying in incompetent. Either they will also have rising rates, or they will mask it by subsidizing from other taxes, or they will stick to so-called “cheaper” solutions (like coal) which carry costs as a health burden instead.