Ontario Energy Board puts hydro rate increase on hold

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The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced last week that it is holding the line on the prices most Ontario households and small business customers pay for electricity.

According to the OEB, the decision means that commodity prices, shown in the electricity line of consumer bills as Time-of-Use (TOU) pricing, will remain unchanged for residential and small business customers on the Regulated Price Plan (RPP) through April 30, 2017.

The OEB reviews these prices every six months – on May 1 and Nov. 1 – and forecasts how much it will cost to supply consumers with electricity. Based on the forecast, prices are established to recover actual costs over time.

In this case, the OEB's review determined the prices that customers have been paying since May 1, 2016, will be effective at recovering forecast costs for at least the next six months. Prices for customers who pay RPP tiered prices will likewise stay the same.

Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson reacted to the announcement last week by saying that the province has not gone far enough to help consumers who are struggling to pay their utility bills.

“While it might act as a temporary band-aid to the problem, it provides no permanent solution to Ontario's continuing electricity crisis,” she said in a statement. “If they (government) were serious about making a real difference for Ontarians, they would work on a long-term solution that would address what has already caused electricity bills to escalate so living and operating a business in Ontario is more affordable.”