Just when you thought it was safe to do laundry in the afternoon, along comes the warm summer months and the semi-annual switch of time-of-use electricity periods in Ontario.
On Tuesday mid-peak and on-peak price times reverse for the next six months, as warmer afternoons mean greater demand on power systems as air conditioners are turned on more frequently. Instead of paying top dollar for electricity from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday, those time periods will now be considered mid-peak times.
Weekday afternoons, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., will now cost consumers the most.
The Ontario Energy Board has also increased time-of-use rates, effective May 1. Off-peak hours, which last daily from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and all weekends and holidays, will increase from 6.2 cents a kilowatt hour to 6.5 cents. Mid-peak electricity jumps from 9.2 cents to 10 cents, while on-peak will increase from 10.8 cents to 11.7 cents.
Tim Wilson, Thunder Bay Hydro’s vice-president of customer service and conservation, said the switch means consumers will have to readjust their electricity use a bit, to enjoy lower hydro bills.
“One of the things we’ll tell customers throughout the summer months is you don’t have to dry your clothes in a clothes dryer at this point. Once the summer hits, there’s nothing stopping customers from avoiding that particular appliance use in the house and hanging stuff to dry,” Wilson said.
Other tips including drawing blinds and shades in the afternoon to keep the heat out and opening windows overnight to let the cool air in.
“That will help out a bit. The key thing is remembering when the mid-peak is now versus the peak times. Those have switched so if you can slightly change habits a little bit, you’ll probably come out OK,” Wilson said.
The impact of the rate increases will be approximately $4 more for customers using 800 kilowatts a month, although there is good news.
The distribution charge is expected to drop 27 per cent for residential users, which when all is said and done, means the average customer will see their bill drop about 20 cents a month.