Toronto will no longer have to worry about Time of Use hydro rates
Given that the entire population of Ontario is trying to isolate at home right now as per the orders of officials during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's safe to assume that we're going to be using a lot more electricity than usual.
While residents worry about steeper bills due to their increased usage in the coming months, they've also had to worry about the time that they'll be using power thanks to Toronto Hydro's Time of Use rates, which charge customers more for use during peak daytime periods.
Most of those who are usually away at work during these peak times are now either out of work indefinitely or working from home, and have been wondering if there's anything the hydro authority can do to help under the extenuating circumstances — like, say, change their policies on the Time of Use front.
Hey @OntEnergyBoard & @fordnation. We're stuck working/being at home. Can you suspend Time of Use (ToU) rates? We don't have the option of switching energy rates to off-peaks. Demand is also down so the rationale for behaviour modification doesn't apply.#Toronto #Hydro pic.twitter.com/fhgwkTS9On— Brian Chang (@bfchangTO) March 18, 2020
Citizens across social media have been calling Toronto Hydro and the Ontario Energy Board out for continuing to charge people standard peak prices while they're being ordered by the government to stay home as much as possible.
The former has publicly addressed the issue on Twitter, indicating that it's the latter who actually has control over things like power pricing and rates.
The OEB has also responded to the public, saying that it is "looking at programs and policies to best support electricity customers during this difficult time."
Certainly vague, but potentially promising.
We’re receiving many questions about Time-of-Use (TOU) rates during this time and we understand your concerns.— Toronto Hydro (@TorontoHydro) March 19, 2020
The Ontario Energy Board sets TOU rates and they shared an update: https://t.co/4A2N6FGoBa
Also promising was that this past weekend, Premier Doug Ford ensured that some form of temporary "relief" was on its way when it came to hydro rates in the province.
"If [people] are at home all day because they’re self-isolating, they may want to do the wash at noontime instead of waiting [until] night time," Ford said. "They should have that flexibility and we’ll make sure we give them that flexibility to get through these tough times."
This was before he ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in Ontario for 14 days — meaning that even more people will be at home at all hours of the day as of tomorrow.
The federal government has stepped up and made plans for $82B. The least you can do is offer off-peak pricing for the residents of Ontario. It shouldn’t take you this long to come to this conclusion.— Heath Higgins (@heathhiggins) March 19, 2020
Thankfully the public backlash, which included a 100,000 signature strong petition calling for a moratorium on peak hydro pricing in Ontario, finally led the proper authorities to make some changes.
The Ford government just announced that they will temporarily end Time of Use rates starting today, and that all consumers will be charged the lowest possible rate.
This rate, up until now only applicable on weekends and overnight from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. during the week, is 10.1 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared with the peak and mid-peak rates of 20.8 cents and 14.4 cents per kilowatt-hour, respectively.
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