November 28, 2016 5:13 pm
Updated: November 28, 2016 5:26 pm

Ontario considers offering electricity consumers new, more flexible rate plans

Hydro One power lines during sunset in Kingston, Ont.

Lars Hagberg / The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Ontario will change the way it buys electricity so it doesn’t focus on wind, solar or any specific technology, and is looking at more flexible billing plans for hydro consumers.

Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault says the Liberals want to be “technology agnostic” when they sign contracts for new electricity, and focus more on the outcome than on the way the power would be generated.

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Thibeault admits that signing 20-year-contracts for renewable energy projects that specified a generation technology was “arbitrary, and led to sub-optimal siting, uncompetitive prices and heightened community concern.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne recently admitted her government made a mistake by not recognizing the impact of its energy policies on electricity bills, and promised some sort of relief for consumers.

Hydro One told Global News through a statement Monday afternoon that a winter moratorium on power disconnections went into place on Friday, a week earlier than scheduled. The statement said this is due to a review of the organization’s customer policies.

READ MORE: ‘It ruined me’: Ontario fixed income seniors forced to move due to sky high hydro rates

Thibeault told the Empire Club of Canada that Ontario has signed contracts for so much electricity that any future deals will be for minimal amounts of power because it “will be seeking to secure supply on the margins.”

The energy minister also questioned time-of-use pricing for electricity, which charges much higher rates during peak daylight hours, a practice that critics say unfairly hurts seniors and others who stay home during the day.

Nick Westoll contributed to this report

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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