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Coronavirus: Ontario hydro rate relief extended until May 31

Click to play video 'Ontario slashes hydro rates providing relief during coronavirus pandemic' Ontario slashes hydro rates providing relief during coronavirus pandemic
WATCH (March 24, 2020): Ontario slashes hydro rates providing relief during coronavirus pandemic – Mar 24, 2020

The Ontario government says it is extending electricity rate relief for residences, farms and small businesses until May 31 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Customers will continue to be billed at the lowest price, called the “off-peak” rate, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the government said.

Electricity relief was first announced on March 24 for 45 days and was set to expire this week.

The extension, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, will be in place for another 24 days until the end of May.

READ MORE: Hydro rates to be temporarily reduced by Ontario amid coronavirus pandemic

“During this extraordinary period, many people are struggling to pay the bills as they do the right thing by staying at home, as well as our farmers and those whose businesses have closed or suffered reduced customer traffic,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement.

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“Although we are making progress in our fight against this COVID-19 outbreak, we are not out of the woods yet. The extension of this electricity rate relief will leave more money in people’s pockets until businesses can start to reopen and people can get back to work.”

READ MORE: Ontario Energy Association calls on government for end to most hydro subsidies

According to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), the off-peak rate is 10.1 cents per kilowatt, which is much lower than the mid-peak and on-peak pricing.

The OEB extended the winter ban on electricity disconnections for all residential and low-volume small business customers to July 31. Normally, the winter period is from Nov. 1 to April 30.

The government also added that, on the advice of the chief medical officer of health, all emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act are in effect until May 19. A full list of emergency orders can be found here.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Ontario’s latest electricity measures leave out hundreds of thousands of customers' Coronavirus: Ontario’s latest electricity measures leave out hundreds of thousands of customers
Coronavirus: Ontario’s latest electricity measures leave out hundreds of thousands of customers – Mar 26, 2020