Coronavirus: Ontario’s electricity price cap scheduled to end on Thursday

Hydro meters. File / Global News

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly quoted Toronto Hydro, not Hydro One.

It doesn’t really add up to that much in savings for consumers, but Ontario’s electricity price cap is set to expire.

In December, the Government of Ontario capped the price of electricity for residential, small business and farm customers at 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“So no matter what time of day you use your electricity, or how much you use, the fixed price will apply. The price change will happen automatically,” the province said in a news release on Dec. 22.

Unless extended, the price cap will end on Thursday.

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“I do have criticism for the Ontario government ending this program when they are; we are still in a middle of a pandemic, a government-mandated lockdown,” said personal finance expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq.

She said the program only saves the average customer a few dollars a month, but it serves another purpose.

“These are really feel-good programs, they allow you to feel more confident to use your appliances whenever you need to,” said Ahmed-Haq.

Ontario NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns said the program should not end, although he added it’s inadequate for the times.

“It’s a pretty small measure on their part and the pandemic hasn’t ended, people are still in financial trouble. They shouldn’t be eliminating any help they can offer people at this point,” he said in an interview.

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Tabuns said the Ford government has failed to deliver on its 2018 election commitment to lower electricity rates.

“Right off the hop we’re going to lower your residential hydro rates by 12 per cent,” Ford promised during the 2018 election campaign.

However, prices didn’t go down and in November rates went up by about two per cent.

“It was a hollow promise,” said Tabuns.

Representatives for Ford and Energy Minister Greg Rickford did not answer requests for comment about whether the rate cap would be extended.

A Hydro One spokesperson told Global News the agency has extended its winter relief program allowing customers to “stay connected during the coldest months of the year.”

“If the flat-rate program ends, customers will return to their previously preferred pricing option, which includes time-of-use or tiered pricing,” according to an email statement.

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