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Coronavirus: Ontario government extends off-peak electricity rate cap by nearly 2 weeks

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WATCH ABOVE: A month-long cap on electricity rates in Ontario is scheduled to end. Unless it is extended, consumers will see the price they pay for power go up marginally. As Seán O’Shea reports, critics say the middle of a pandemic is no time to make electricity more a little more expensive. – Jan 25, 2021

Hours before the Ontario government‘s temporary off-peak electricity rate cap was set to end, officials announced Wednesday evening that the program was being extended by nearly two weeks.

The temporary cap was first introduced on Jan. 1 in response to emergency orders put in place by the government to combat rising coronavirus cases in the province.

The measure, which meant the off-peak rate of 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour would be in effect at all hours and all days of the week, was set to expire on Thursday.

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

According to the announcement, it will be in place until Feb. 9.

“The off-peak price will continue to be automatically applied to bills of all residential, small business and farm customers who pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board and get a bill from a utility,” the statement said.

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Days before the announcement, questions were raised about ending the program while the shutdown was still ongoing.

Read more: Ontario government announces off-peak hydro rate cut, one-time payments for older students

“I do have criticism for the Ontario government ending this program when they are,” Rubina Ahmed-Haq, a personal finance expert, told Global News on Monday.

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,” Ahmed-Haq said.

— With files from Sean O’Shea