Make Electricity Bills Simple for Customers
Government of Ontario Continues to Politicize Electricity Invoices
December 5, 2017, Niagara-on-the-Lake – On October 26, 2017, as part of the release of the Long Term Energy Plan, the Government of Ontario promised it would be “Working with the OEB and local distribution companies (LDCs) to redesign electricity bills, making them more useful for consumers in understanding and managing their energy costs”.
The first part of this promise has been kept and, in response, LDCs have consistently requested a much simpler electricity bill that customers can understand and can easily recalculate. The current electricity bills, whose format is mandated by the Ontario Energy Board, require a complicated spreadsheet and detailed knowledge of electricity rates to recalculate. Customers have consistently advised their LDCs that they find the current bills confusing and hard to understand.
Instead of taking any of the suggestions provided, the Government of Ontario is proposing to add further confusion to the electricity bill with the inclusion of the calculation of the ‘savings’ from the Fair Hydro Plan.
The Board of Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro (NOTL Hydro) is concerned that this continues the politicization of the electricity bill which began when the Debt Reduction Charge (DRC) was reduced to zero for residential customers and continued with introduction of the 8% rebate. When the DRC was eliminated for residential customers the Government required that LDCs keep the DRC as a line item with a $0 charge and also provide a calculation of the ‘savings’ on the bill. The 8% rebate also had to be accompanied by a message that it was being provided by the Government of Ontario.
Calling all the rate reductions from the Fair Hydro Plan ‘savings’ is also questionable when much of it will have to be repaid in the future.
“Nobody likes to receive a bill but we owe it to our customers to make them as understandable and honest as possible.” said Jim Ryan, Chair of NOTL Hydro, “Putting political messages on the invoice is simply wrong.”
The Board of Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro encourages the Government of Ontario to allow LDCs to make their electricity bills as simple to understand and as free of political messaging as possible.
The Board of NOTL Hydro has previously urged the Minister and the Premier to take steps to reduce the high cost of electricity in Ontario and has provided concrete suggestions.
ABOUT NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE HYDRO
Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro distributes power to over 9,000 customers in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. We are committed to operating as a sustainable high-performance, customer-driven business and to providing the highest standard in safety, service and reliability. The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is the 100% shareholder of the corporation.