Ontario introduces new 'ultra-low' overnight hydro pricing

TORONTO - The Ontario government is introducing a new “ultra-low overnight” electricity plan that can benefit shift workers and individuals who charge electric vehicles while they sleep.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Energy Minister Todd Smith said the new plan could save customers up to $90 a year.

“Consumer preferences are still changing and our government realized there was more we could do, especially as the province continues to have an excess supply of clean electricity at night when province-wide electricity demand is lower,” Smith said.

The new rate, which will be available as an opt-in option as of May 1, will be 2.4 cents per kilowatt-hour from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Officials say this is 67 per cent lower than the current off-peak rate.

However, customers should be aware that this plan will mean a higher on-peak rate.

The new plan will be offered by Toronto Hydro, London Hydro, Centre Wellington Hydro, Hearst Power, Renfrew Hydro, Wasaga Distribution, and Sioux Lookout Hydro by May. Officials have said this will be expanded to all local distribution companies by Nov. 1.

With the new addition of the “ultra low” pricing, there are now three different electricity plans that Ontarians can choose from. Here is what you have to know about the new hydro options:

Most residential customers, businesses and farms are eligible for these rates, which are divided into off-peak, mid-peak and on-peak hours.

This is what customers will pay as of May 1 according to the Ontario Energy Board:

 Off-peak (Weekdays between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and on weekends/holidays): 7.4 cents per kilowatt-hour
 Mid-Peak (Weekdays between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., and between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.): 10.2 cents per kilowatt-hour
 On-Peak ( Weekdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.): 15.1 cents per kilowatt-hour

This plan allows customers to get a standard rate depending on how much electricity is used. There are various thresholds per tier, and once a household exceeds that threshold, a higher price applies. Officials say this option may be beneficial for retirees who are home often during the day or those who use less electricity overall.

The tiers change depending on the season. This is what customers will pay as of May 1:

 Residential households that use 600 kilowatts of electricity per month and non-residential businesses that use 750 kilowatts per month: 8.7 cents per kilowatt-hour.
 Residences and businesses that use more than that will pay a flat rate of 10.3 cents per kilowatt-hour

Customers can opt-in to this plan if they use most of their electricity overnight.

This is what customers will pay as of May 1:

  •  Between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.: 2.4 cents per kilowatt-hour
  •  Weekends and holidays between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.: 7.4 cents per kilowatt-hour
  •  Mid-Peak (Weekdays between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., and between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.): 10.2 cents per kilowatt-hour
  •  On-Peak (weekdays between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.): 24 cents per kilowatt-hour

More information on these plans can be found on the Ontario Energy Board website.


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