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Coronavirus: Doug Ford says ‘relief’ coming on hydro rates as Ontarians told to stay home

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Ontario associate chief medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe announced on Saturday that the province saw its third death related to COVID-19, a man in his 70s who was in close contact of one of the first two deaths. – Mar 21, 2020

Premier Doug Ford says “relief” on hydro rates is coming for Ontarians as people are being told to stay home amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

During a press conference Saturday, Ford was asked about the possibility of altering time-of-use rates, which is how the vast majority of hydro customers in the province are charged for electricity.

“That came to cabinet last night and you’ll hear an announcement over the next few days, but we’re going to move quick on that. It’s just one small way of helping people,” Ford said.

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“A lot of these measures may not be permanent, but what we want to do is give relief to families and take the burden off people. If they’re at home all day because they’re self-isolating, they may want to do the wash at noontime instead of waiting [until] night time, off-peak hours. They might want to do some cleaning, vacuuming. They should have that flexibility and we’ll make sure we give them that flexibility to get through these tough times.”
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When asked for further details as to what is being considered, Ford’s press secretary said, “As the premier has said previously, all options are on the table.”

According to the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) website, during the winter period — from Nov. 1 to April 30 — on-peak hours are from 7 a.m to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

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Mid-peak hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., while off-peak hours — in which electricity costs less than half the rate than during on-peak hours — are from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., as well as all weekends and holidays.

A petition on Change.org was created on March 15 calling for a change to the time-of-use rates amid the COVID-19 outbreak. As of Saturday evening, it had over 74,000 signatures.

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“We’ve received many requests about lowering electricity prices during this unprecedented time,” the OEB said on its website.

“The Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines is looking at programs and policies to support electricity customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect that information will be made available in the coming days.”

Off-peak, mid-peak and on-peak hours for electricity usage, as seen on the Hydro One website. Hydro One

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