You can choose your price plan
If you’re a residential or small business customer, you can choose to switch between Time-of-Use and Tiered prices. To switch price plans, you must notify your utility by completing an election form. You must contact your utility or visit their website for the election form. If you want to stay with your current price plan – TOU or Tiered – no action is required.
Considering a switch? Your top questions answered here. Or learn more below.
Learn the difference between Time-of-Use and Tiered price plans.
With TOU prices, the price depends on when you use electricity.
There are three TOU price periods:
- Off-peak, when demand for electricity is lowest. Ontario households use most of their electricity – nearly two thirds of it – during off-peak hours.
- Mid-peak, when demand for electricity is moderate. These periods are during the daytime, but not the busiest times of day.
- On-peak, when demand for electricity is generally higher. These are the busier times of day – generally when people are cooking, starting up their computers and running heaters or air conditioners.
With TOU pricing, you can help manage your electricity costs by shifting your usage to lower price periods when possible.
People use electricity differently depending on the season, so the TOU price periods are different in the summer than they are in the winter.
With Tiered prices, you can use a certain amount of electricity each month at a lower price. Once that limit (called a threshold) is exceeded, a higher price applies. The threshold changes with the season to reflect changing usage patterns – for example, there are fewer hours of daylight in the winter and some customers use electric heating.
In the winter period (November 1 – April 30), the Tier threshold for residential customers is 1,000 kWh, so that during the heating season households can use more power at the lower price. In the summer period (May 1 – October 31), the Tier threshold for residential customers is 600 kWh. The Tier threshold for small business customers is 750 kWh all year round.
Tiered prices give you the flexibility to use electricity at any time of day at the same price, although that price will change if you exceed the threshold during the month.
We set both TOU and Tiered prices under the Regulated Price Plan (RPP). The RPP is designed to provide stable pricing, encourage conservation and ensure that the price customers pay for electricity better reflects the price paid to generators that produce the electricity that consumers use in their homes or small businesses. We set TOU and Tiered prices so that both recover the same forecast average cost of supply for a typical consumer.
Power is personal. Some customers may prefer TOU prices. For instance, customers who work different shifts may be able to use more of their electricity at times when lower off-peak prices apply, and customers who recharge their electric cars may also want to take advantage of the lower off-peak prices that apply at night. Others may favour Tiered prices because they want the flexibility to do their household chores at any time of the day, or their total usage rarely exceeds 600 kWh in a month in summer, or 1,000 kWh in a month in winter.
Whatever you choose, one thing remains certain: the less electricity you use, the less you pay. And no matter what your price plan is, you are eligible for the Ontario Electricity Rebate and may be eligible for government programs like the Ontario Electricity Support Program if you are in need of financial support.
Are you thinking about changing your price plan? Here are a few things to consider. Keep in mind the effect of COVID-19 on your electricity use (for instance, you may be working from home when you normally wouldn’t be). Make sure you have some of your recent electricity bills handy as you go through the information below.
Do you pay TOU or Tiered prices for your electricity? If you’re unsure, take a look at the Electricity line of your bill. Most residential and small business customers in Ontario pay TOU prices.
How much electricity do you use in a month? If you’re unsure, take a look at the Electricity line on your bill. You might also want to look at the historical usage graph on your bill, which shows your average daily use over the past 12-month period.
When you use electricity can be another factor in your choice. Historically, the typical residential customer who paid TOU prices has used nearly two thirds of their power at off-peak times – the time when the lowest TOU price applies. The other third of their power use was typically split equally between on- and mid-peak times. Look at the Electricity line of your bill to see how much power you use in each of the three TOU price periods.
The TOU price periods and Tier thresholds change with the season and are different during the winter (November 1 – April 30) and summer (May 1 – October 31) periods. Does the amount of electricity you use change based on the season?
For instance, if you heat your home electrically, your monthly use in the winter may be higher. And the same goes for the summer if you need to run your air conditioner.
With TOU prices, the price depends on when you use electricity. Although the TOU price periods also change with the season, the electricity you use after 7 p.m. every day, and all the time on weekends and holidays, is charged at the lowest price under TOU all year round.
Are you often home during the day on weekdays, so that shifting your usage is more challenging? Do you have large appliances that you need to run during the day on weekdays? Can you shift more of that usage to nighttime or weekend hours?
We've created videos that feature lifestyles of different customers considering their pricing options. Watch them below.
If you’re a small business owner, some of the same factors mentioned earlier also apply – how much electricity do you use each month, and when do you use it? Keep in mind that the Tier threshold for small business customers is 750 kWh all year round. And not all small businesses are the same. A large restaurant with several ovens running in the evening may have very a different electricity usage pattern than a small salon that’s only open during the day. So may a dry cleaner compared to a convenience store, or a clothing store compared to a bakery.
Watch our videos that feature lifestyles of different customers considering their pricing options.
There is no guarantee you will save money if you switch between TOU and Tiered prices. The total bill impact of switching will vary depending on how much electricity is consumed in a month and when it is consumed during the day.
If you don’t want to switch your price plan, you don’t need to do anything. You will stay on your current price plan.
If you do want to switch to a different price plan, here are the rules that apply.
- You’ll need to fill out an election form to notify your electricity utility that you want to switch.
- Electricity utilities must make election forms available on their websites, and to any customer that requests it. They must accept election forms by email or mail at a minimum. You may be able to fill out a form online or over the phone. Contact your electricity utility to find out if these options are available.
- You should have a recent electricity bill on hand when filling out the form, as you will need your utility account number. For help to find the account number and other parts of an electricity bill, see our sample bills:
- Within 10 business days of receiving your election form, your electricity utility must tell you if your election form can’t be processed and must explain why (for instance, if you’re not authorized to make changes to the account, or the account can’t be verified).
- If there are no issues with your election form, your electricity utility has the same 10 business days to let you know when you can expect to start being billed on the new price plan.
- A switch between price plans can only take effect at the start of a billing period. You are generally billed for a 30-day period, and the start and end dates are identified on your electricity bill. The start of your billing period can be any given day of a month. Many customers are not billed based on a calendar month.
- Your electricity utility must start charging you under your requested price plan as of your next billing period after you submit your election form if it receives that form at least 10 business days before that billing period starts.
- If your electricity utility receives your election form less than 10 business days before the start of your next billing period, it might still be able to switch you for your next billing period. But if it can’t do so, it has to start charging you under your requested price plan at the start of the next billing period after that.
- Between the time that you submit your election form and the time that your choice takes effect, you will continue to pay pricing under your old price plan.
- You can switch between price plans at any time. The process described above applies.
- Electricity utilities are required to inform all new residential and small business customers that they have a choice between TOU or Tiered prices when they set up the account.
- The choice between TOU and Tiered prices is available to residential and small business customers that have smart meters and are billed under the OEB’s RPP. Some residential and small business customers are charged Tiered prices because their meters can’t be used to bill TOU prices. They can’t switch to TOU prices at this time.
- If you live in a condominium or apartment that has its own individual meter and your bill comes from a company other than an electricity utility, you are a customer of a unit sub-meter provider (USMP). Customers of USMPs also can’t switch to Tiered prices. That decision can only be made for the building as a whole by the “master consumer,” who is the person that retained a USMP for the property. In most cases, the master consumer is the property manager, landlord or condominium board.
- Customers buying their electricity from an energy retailer pay the electricity price set out in their contract. Once they have left their retail contract, they will have a choice between paying TOU or Tiered prices. For details about your energy contract, contact your energy retailer
Still have questions?
Contact us or your electricity utility.
If you want to switch to between TOU and Tiered price plans, you must contact your electricity utility for the election form. The OEB does not process requests to switch.