Sioux Lookout Hydro explains Tiered versus Time-of-Use pricing options
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
The Ontario Government announced on October 13 that customers would have the option to switch from Time-of-Use (TOU) pricing to Tiered rate pricing for their electricity usage, effective November 1. The President/CEO of Sioux Lookout Hydro Inc., Deanne Kulchyski, explained in a written statement to The Bulletin, “TOU pricing fluctuates depending on the time of day you use your electricity, whereas Tiered rate pricing is based on how much electricity you use, not when you use it.”
Kulchyski mentioned that with COVID-19, many people are now working from home and are using their electricity during peak times, which is costlier. So switching to the Tiered rate structure may be beneficial. She further explained that this might be a viable option for seniors who may not use a lot of electricity but are home most of the day. “Switching to Tiered rates would give them the freedom to do laundry or run the dishwasher during the weekdays without having to worry about when they are using it. It could also benefit small businesses who are on TOU pricing if a large portion of their consumption is used during on and mid-peak hours,” she added.
Kulchyski suggested that the best way for people to determine which pricing plan best suits them is to visit the Ontario Energy Board website at oeb.ca/calculator and use the bill calculator available. “You simply select whether you are a residential customer or small business customer, select Sioux Lookout Hydro as your utility and use past bills to enter in your consumption and it will calculate what you pay using TOU rates and what you would pay under the Tiered pricing. Everyone has different consumption patterns, so it is ultimately up to the customer to decide what rate structure they prefer,” Kulchyski mentioned. Further information can be accessed at oeb.ca/choice.
Kulchyski noted, “You can switch anytime. The new structure will be reflected on your bill for consumption starting November 1, 2020. So customers who choose Tiered pricing will not begin to see the change until the bills go out for November consumption in December. If you decide that you would like to go back to TOU rates, you can do that at any time as well.”
The Ontario Energy Board announced new electricity prices for households and small businesses, effective November 1, under the Regulated Price Plan (RPP).
According to the OEB’s website, “The OEB last set RPP prices in November 2019. The OEB is required by law to set RPP prices at least once every 12 months, and to set those prices to reflect the expected cost of supplying RPP customers. The increase in prices reflects a combination of factors, including those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, that have affected demand, supply costs and prices in the summer and fall of 2020.”
The OEB’s website further informed, “There are a number of programs in place to support electricity customers at this time, including:
• The OER, introduced in November 2019 by the Government of Ontario, provides a rebate on the pre-tax amount of the total bill.
• Support for residential, small business and charitable organization customers that are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the pandemic is available through the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program and COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business funded by the Government of Ontario.
• There are also a number of programs available to help low-income consumers. Find out more at oeb.ca/billhelp
“In addition, the OEB has called on electricity distributors to focus efforts on promoting solutions for customers that have arrears and increasing awareness of support that may be available to customers.”