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Electricity - Customer Choice - Time-of-Use (TOU) or TIER pricing for Residential and Small Business Customers

BILL CALCULATOR

 

Use the OEB bill calculator to estimate your monthly bill and compare electricity price plans Time-of-Use to Tiered. 

https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/bill-calculator

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What is Time-of-Use (TOU) Customer Choice?

 

If you’re a residential or small business customer that pays TOU electricity prices, you can choose to switch to Tiered prices and vice versa.

To switch from TOU to Tiered prices or vice versa, you must notify Northern Ontario Wires Inc. by completing an election form.  You can ask to switch at any time.

What are TOU prices?

With TOU prices, the price depends on when you use electricity.

 

There are three TOU price periods:

  • Off-peak, when demand for electricity is lowest. This price applies in the evenings on weekdays and all day on weekends. Every household and small business is different, but on average, Ontario households use nearly two thirds of their electricity during off-peak hours.

  • Mid-peak, when demand for electricity is moderate. These periods are during the daytime, but not the busiest times of day.

  • On-peak, when demand for electricity is generally higher. These are the busier times of day – generally when people are cooking, starting up their computers and running heaters or air conditioners.

 

 

With TOU pricing, you can help manage your electricity costs by shifting your usage to lower price periods when possible.

People use electricity differently depending on the season, so the TOU price periods are different in the summer (May 1 to October 31) than they are in the winter (November 1 to April 30).

 

What are Tiered prices?

With Tiered prices, you can use a certain amount of electricity each month at a lower price. Once that limit (called a threshold) is exceeded, a higher price applies. The threshold normally changes with the season to reflect changing usage patterns – for example, there are fewer hours of daylight in the winter and some customers use electric heating. In the winter period (November 1 – April 30), the Tier threshold for residential customers is 1,000 kWh, so that households can use more power at the lower price. In the summer period (May 1 – October 31), the Tier threshold for residential customers is 600 kWh. The Tier threshold for small business customers is 750 kWh all year round.

Tiered prices give you the flexibility to use electricity at any time of day at the same price, although that price will change if you exceed the threshold during the month.

What do TOU and Tiered prices pay for?

The OEB sets TOU and Tiered prices based on a forecast of how much it will cost to supply TOU and Tiered customers with the electricity they are expected to use over the next 12 months. The OEB sets TOU and Tiered prices to recover the same forecast average cost of supply.

The OEB sets both TOU and Tiered prices under the Regulated Price Plan (RPP). The RPP is designed to provide stable pricing, encourage conservation and ensure that the price customers pay for electricity better reflects the price paid to generators that produce the electricity that customers use in their homes or small businesses.

Electricity utilities are not allowed to make a profit from the sale of electricity.

How often are TOU and Tiered prices set?

The OEB typically sets new TOU and Tiered prices for May and November, based on an estimate of how much it will cost to supply residential and small business customers on the Regulated Price Plan with the electricity that they are expected to use.

Will I save money by opting out of TOU prices?

There is no guarantee you will save money if you switch from TOU to Tiered prices or vice versa. The total bill impact of switching will vary depending on how much electricity you consume in a month and when it is consumed during the day.

What do I need to do to switch to Tiered prices?

If you’re a TOU customer and don’t want to switch to Tiered prices, you don’t need to do anything. You will stay on TOU prices.

If you do want to switch to Tiered prices, here are the rules that apply. These rules also apply if you later want to switch back to TOU prices.

  • Northern Ontario Wires Inc. must make its election form available on its website, and to any customer that requests it. Northern Ontario Wires Inc. must accept election forms by email or mail at a minimum. NOW Inc. will also accept election forms via facsimile or drop off at 153 Sixth Avenue, Cochrane, Ontario. You will need to fill out the election form to notify Northern Ontario Wires Inc. that you want to switch. The form is intended to be as simple as possible in terms of the information that you need to provide. You should have a recent electricity bill on hand when filling out the form, as you will need your utility account number.

  • Within 10 business days of receiving your election form, Northern Ontario Wires Inc. must tell you if your election form can’t be processed and must explain why (for instance, if you’re not authorized to make changes to the account, or the account can’t be verified).

  • If there are no issues with your election form, Northern Ontario Wires Inc. has the same 10 business days to let you know when you can expect to start being billed on Tiered prices.

  • A switch from TOU to Tiered prices can only take effect at the start of a billing period. A billing period is generally about 30 days long, and the start and end dates are identified on your electricity bill. Many customers are not billed based on a calendar month, and the start of your billing period can be any given day of a month.

  • Northern Ontario Wires Inc. must start charging you your preferred RPP price plan (TOU or TIER) as of your next billing period after you submit your election form if Northern Ontario Wires Inc. receives that form at least 10 business days before that billing period starts, and provided there are no issues with your form (see above).

  • If Northern Ontario Wires Inc. receives your complete election form less than 10 business days before the start of your next billing period, Northern Ontario Wires Inc. might still be able to switch you for your next billing period. But if Northern Ontario Wires Inc. can’t do so, Northern Ontario Wires Inc. has to start charging you your preferred price plan at the start of the next billing period after that.

  • Because a switch in prices can only take effect at the beginning of a billing period, it will take some time between the day you provide your election form and the day you actually start getting charged your preferred RPP price plan..

If I have opted into Tiered prices, can I switch back to TOU prices?

Yes. And the rules that apply to switching to Tiered prices also apply if you later want to switch back to TOU prices.

Can all customers opt out of TOU prices?

Any customer on TOU may opt out and pay Tiered prices.  However Customers who are currently using old/conventional meters are currently billed on TIER pricing and are unable to switch to TOU prices because old/conventional meters are not programmed to read interval consumption.

If you live in a condo or apartment that has its own individual meter and your bill comes from a company other than your electricity utility, you are a customer of a unit sub-meter provider (USMP). Customers of USMPs also can’t switch to Tiered prices. That decision can only be made for the building as a whole by the master consumer, who is the person that retained a USMP for the property. In most cases, the master consumer is the property manager, landlord or condominium board.

I receive a monthly credit from the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP). Will I lose that credit if I switch to Tiered prices?

No. You will still receive the credit.

 

I receive the Ontario Electricity Rebate. Will I lose that rebate if I switch to Tiered prices?

 

No. You will still receive the credit.

 

I am about to sign up with a new electricity utility. Will the utility inform me that I have a choice between TOU or Tiered prices before I sign up?

Yes. Northern Ontario Wires Inc. is required to inform all new Regulated Price Plan customers that they have a choice between TOU or Tiered prices when they set up the account.

What is Time-of-Use
What are TOU prices
What are Tiered prices
What do TOU and Tiered prices pay for
How often are TOU and Tiered prices set
Will I save money by opting out of TOU prices
What do I need to do to switch to Tiered prices
If I have opted into Tiered prices
Can all customers opt out of TOU prices
I receive a monthly credit from the OESP
I receive the Ontario Electricity Rebate
I am about to sign up with a new electricity utility
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