After initially announcing a cut to hydro costs in March, the Province of Ontario has officially passed legislation to lower electricity bills by 25%.
When Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement on March 2, she called it “the largest cut to electricity rates in the history of Ontario.” The province says it has made the drastic cut to provide significant rate relief and ensure greater fairness.
The Fair Hydro Act passed on Wednesday and it “reduces electricity bills for all residential consumers and as many as half a million small businesses and farms,” starting this summer.
Lower-income Ontarians and those living in eligible rural and northern communities will receive greater reductions, as much as 40 to 50%.
“The savings coming this summer will help make life more affordable, including additional relief for the most vulnerable,” said Minister of Energy Glenn Thibeault in a statement. “The Fair Hydro Plan significantly lowers rates now for all Ontario families that pay an electricity bill and will bring fairer rates in the future.”
On May 1, 2017, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) reduced electricity rates across the province, including a portion of the Fair Hydro Plan, according to the province.
The OEB will now have 15 days after the legislation comes into force to update rates to reflect the full benefit of the Fair Hydro Plan – delivering the 25% on average reduction for all households and half a million small business and farms.
While residential hydro bills have been rising since 2009, the government reduced the rate by 8% by removing its harmonized sales tax (HST). Wynne’s latest hydro cut will reduce that by an additional 17%.