Ontario is temporarily cutting down on electricity rates immediately for customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Doug Ford announced the news at a press conference on Tuesday and said the province will lower the rates over the next 45 days.
They will be switching to off peak rates, saving 50% compared to usual rates.
The provincial government is working to suspend time-of-use electricity rates, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of “10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour.”
This reduced price will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all time-of-use customers, who make up the majority of electricity consumers in the province.
The discount will be applied automatically to electricity bills without the need for customers to fill out an application form.
Families, small businesses and farms will be eligible for this service.
“During this unprecedented time, we are providing much-needed relief to Ontarians, specifically helping those who are doing the right thing by staying home and small businesses that have closed or are seeing fewer customers,” Ford said.
“By adopting a fixed, 24/7 off-peak rate, we are making things a little easier during these difficult times and putting more money in people’s pockets for other important priorities and necessities.”
On March 13, Hydro One announced a Pandemic Relief Fund which will offer financial assistance as well as increased payment flexibility to “customers experiencing hardship.”
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The Ontario Energy Board has already extended its ban on electricity disconnections for non-payments for all residential customers until July 31. Low-volume and small businesses will also be covered.
We’re extending the ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for all residential customers to July 31/20. Low-volume, small business customers will now also be protected by the ban. In addition, distributors must be more flexible on arrears payment arrangements.
— Ontario Energy Board (@OntEnergyBoard) March 19, 2020