Peak rates of 20.8 cents per kw/h are twice as high from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. – except weekends – than off-peak rates of 10.1 cents per kw/h and set by the Ontario Energy Board, not electricity providers such as Hydro One and Elexicon (formerly Veridian).
Frustrated electrical customers have signed their John Henry’s more than 50,000 times to a change.org petition demanding Hydro One temporarily slash rates for those already struggling with work closures and loss of income.
Alex Stewart, media relations spokesman for Hydro One, said the corporation is working toward a solution.
“While we are regulated to adhere to time-of-use pricing by the Ontario Energy Board, we’ve heard the concerns about time-of-use pricing as many of our customers will stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Stewart told The Intelligencer.
“We continue to advocate for greater choice during this difficult time and are working with everyone in the electricity sector to ensure our customers are heard.”
Stewart said the electricity provider is reaching out to customers to help them during a difficult self-isolating and social distancing period in other ways to bring financial relief.
For example, new hardship measures are now in play by Hydro One to give customers some relief from ballooning electricity bills.
“This is a difficult time for everyone. Hydro One has launched a new Pandemic Relief Fund to support customers affected by the novel coronavirus COVID-19. As part of our commitment to customers, we will offer financial assistance, as well as increased payment flexibility, to customers experiencing hardship,” Stewart said.
“Hydro One is also extending its Winter Relief program to halt disconnections and reconnections to customers experiencing hardship during the coldest months of the year. This is about doing the right thing and offering flexibility to our customers so they have peace of mind and can concentrate on what matters most – keeping their loved ones safe.”
Stewart said customers having difficult times can visit the company’s website for more details at www.HydroOne.com/ReliefFund.
Elexicon Energy, meanwhile, said earlier the former Veridian company is passing along concerns to the OEB but otherwise can’t lower the rates unless directed to do so.
Chris Mace, Elexicon corporate communications spokesperson, said, “We don’t have the authority to do that.
“The Ontario Energy Board sets the energy prices. This is in the Ministry of Energy’s hands. We at Elexicon, along with other local distribution companies (LDC), have shared this feedback with the ministry and OEB to come up with some sort of solution or alternative. But this is out of our hands. We can’t shift anything.”
He suggested residents can shift the use of higher-drawing electrical appliances to early morning before 7 or in the evening after 7 p.m.
Families may want to be “mindful whether it be cooking or laundry and so on and holding off on doing those until off-peak hours take effect. We are hearing customers and we have passed along those concerns to the ministry and the OEB.”
Hydro One power tips
Certain electrical uses in the home consumer more power than others:
62 per cent goes to space heating
19 per cent goes to water heaters
13 per cent goes to appliances
2 per cent goes to space cooling