Ready for rate rage? Soon, there will be even more changes to time-of-use hydro charges

Ready for rate rage? Soon, there will be even more changes to time-of-use hydro charges

Clockwatchers: hydro meters keep of track of who uses what and when (Image: Anthony Easton)

Back when the Ontario government introduced time-of-use billing to hydro, it had two simple purposes: to reflect the higher costs of daytime power (when home and business energy use turns on expensive natural gas plants) and to try and shift consumer’s electricity use from expensive daytime power to cheaper nighttime power (when Ontario mostly runs off nuclear and hydroelectric power.)  Just one problem: it doesn’t seem to have worked. According to the CBC, the government is now looking at making the peak power rates even more expensive.

The report says the difference isn’t big enough to encourage people to change their energy consumption habits but if the OEB does move to change the prices, customers will see results.

“As customers shift consumption in response to the rates, the percentage of those experiencing bill savings will increase,” said the report, written by the Brattle Group.

“There’s no question we’re aware of the fact the bigger the difference between on-peak and off-peak use,” said Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid.

Duguid said he wants to create a “bigger the incentive for people to shift to off-peak use.”

Of course this would not be the first time that the Liberals in Queen’s Park have tinkered with time-of-use rates, having just announced an earlier beginning to the off-peak period. So if the headline to the report is “Liberals want to triple or quadruple daytime hydro rates,” we’re cynical enough to think that this issue will be buried—at least until sometime after election day.

• Modify key electricity rates: report [CBC News]