Hydro One ordered to end seasonal rate class for cottagers

Increases for about half of customers will be capped at 10% a year over 10 years, the Ontario Energy Board says

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A change in how seasonal hydro customers like cottagers are charged for electricity distribution — possibly doubling monthly bills for the most modest users — will be phased in slowly, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has decided.

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The OEB has directed Hydro One to eliminate its seasonal rate class starting Jan. 1, 2023, at the earliest.

About half the customers will see a decrease in their bills, while the increases for others will be capped at 10% a year over 10 years, the OEB said.

“These are residential customers that receive electrical service at dwellings that they do not occupy long enough during the year to meet the requirements for the year-round residential customer distribution rate class,” an OEB statement says. “The dwellings in question can include cottages, chalets and camps.

“The OEB’s concern was that the distribution rates charged to seasonal customers are not reflective of the cost to serve them.”

Customers who had been in the seasonal rate class will be moved to one of three different rate classes — urban density, medium density or low density.

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In a report issued last fall, Hydro One noted modest users who would normally get a bill of $54 a month in 2022 could see a jump to as high as $114 a month depending on the energy oversight body’s decision.

“The OEB was aware that eliminating the seasonal class would cause bill impacts for Hydro One’s seasonal customers, and particularly would cause bills to increase for lower-use seasonal customers,” the statement said. “The OEB directed Hydro One to bring forward a bill mitigation plan to address bill impacts for customers whose bills would increase by more than 10% as a result of moving to another rate class.”



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