In May, the province of Ontario announced it would defer a portion of Global Adjustment (GA) rates under an emergency order that provided customers with temporary relief on their monthly electricity bills. The decision came after lawmakers recognized the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
Now, the province will extend that emergency order until the end of June 2020.
The emergency relief is intended to prevent a marked increase in Global Adjustment charges due to the low electricity demand caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Without this emergency order, a small industrial or commercial consumer (i.e., Class B) could have seen bills increase by 15 percent or more.
The GA rate for smaller industrial and commercial consumers (i.e., Class B) has been set at $115 per megawatt-hour, which is roughly in line with the March 2020 value. Large industrial and commercial consumers (i.e., Class A) will receive the same percentage reduction in GA charges as Class B consumers.
In addition to the emergency relief extension, more help is on the way for Ontario hydro customers — in the form of 9 million dollars. The money will be invested into the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) to support consumers who are having difficulty paying their energy bills during the health crisis. Under the program, eligible customers will receive one-time payments to help pay any electricity bill debt incurred over the COVID‑19 period.
Also as a result of the outbreak, an additional 8-million dollars is being put towards the provincial COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to provide support to businesses struggling with bill payments.
Hydro customers can rest-assure they will not be disconnected from their electricity service during these uncertain times. As such, the Ontario Energy Board’s winter disconnection ban will remain in effect until July 31.
The Global Adjustment was added to consumer’s hydro bills as a way to help offset the costs of replacing coal generated energy and to fund conservation programs and nuclear power projects. The GA is a surcharge which is calculated by taking the difference between market wholesale prices and the fixed price of energy.
Ontario residents and business owners continue to pay some of the highest hydro rates in the country due in part to increasing global adjustment rates.