Will the province flip the switch on higher hydro prices this week?

Premier Doug Ford during a Sept. 24 media conference. YouTube

ONTARIO — Hydro prices will cease to be fixed at lower off-peak rates later this week — unless the Ford government again extends the pandemic-related policy at the last minute.

Higher peak rates are otherwise set to reappear on hydro bills for electricity consumed during peak hours, after Feb. 9, for time-of-use and tiered customers.

The government decreed Jan. 27 that rates would remain exclusively at the off-peak price of 8.5 cents pre kilowatt through Feb. 9 , delaying the return of peak rates beyond the original Jan. 28 expiry of the initial order. Freezing rates is intended to relieve the financial burdens of the lockdown and stay-at-home order.

“We know staying at home means using more electricity during the day when electricity prices are higher, that’s why we are extending the off-peak electricity rate to provide households, small businesses and farms with stable and predictable electricity bills when they need it most,” Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, said at the time. “We thank Ontarians for following the provincial Stay-at-Home Order to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Additionally, families, businesses and charitable organizations that have overdue electricity and natural gas bills can apply for assistance from the government through the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). A residential customer can receive up to $750 to help cover their overdue electricity bill and natural gas bills, while small businesses and charities can receive up to $1,500 for each bill. Customers can contact their utility to apply.

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