The Ontario government says it will continue to support provincial electricity consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting on June 1, customers will be billed based on a new fixed COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour.
This fixed rate will apply to time-of-use (TOU) customer bills 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing “stability and certainty” for consumers as the government restarts the economy and supports individuals and families who continue to spend more time at home.
“While we make progress to contain this deadly virus, we know people will need to stay home when possible and businesses will need ongoing support as we gradually and safely reopen the economy,” said Premier Doug Ford said on Monday.
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“Providing additional rate relief, flexibility and customer choice will help ensure everyone can recover from this extraordinary crisis and get back to a life that is as normal as possible.”
Ford also announced a new initiative which includes, $9 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) to support consumers struggling to pay their energy bills during the pandemic.
CEAP will provide one-time payments to consumers to help pay down any electricity bill debt incurred over the COVID‑19 period, with applications available through local utilities in the upcoming months.
There is also $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to provide support to businesses struggling with bill payments as a result of the outbreak.
And, an extension of the Ontario Energy Board’s winter disconnection ban until July 31, 2020 to ensure no one is disconnected from their natural gas or electricity service during these uncertain times.
The COVID-19 Recovery Rate will be in place until October 31, 2020, followed by a new customer choice initiative.
And, starting November 1, customers will be able to choose a plan that best suits their household and lifestyle with the option of either TOU electricity rates or tiered pricing, which will provide a set rate for electricity up to a certain level of consumption.
The government will continue to subsidize electricity bills by 31.8 per cent through the Ontario Electricity Rebate.
The government is providing approximately $5.6 billion in 2020-21 as part of its existing electricity cost relief programs, to help ensure more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers.