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Province pulls the plug on pandemic hydro pricing

Last Updated Feb 23, 2021 at 8:56 pm EST

A Hydro One office is pictured in Mississauga, Ont. on Wednesday, November 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Ontario hydro rates are returning to normal, including for customers in Toronto and Peel.

Residents in locked down regions say it's unfair their bills will be more expensive next month.

The government can only apply emergency electricity relief to the province as a whole.

All good things must come to an end – and that includes cheaper hydro bills.

Ontario is re-hiking electricity rates, even for residents in Toronto and Peel Region while they continue to stay home.

An emergency order that allowed customers to keep the lights on around the clock for the lower, off-peak prices has now expired.

That means Ontarians will once again be billed based on the hour the electricity is used, or the tiered prices, which charge a fixed rate for a set amount of electricity consumption.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Energy told 680 NEWS rates will return to normal now that lockdowns have been lifted across most of the province.

“Last fall, our government introduced customer choice for all Ontario customers,” said Spokesman Alex Puddifant in a statement. “We encourage customers who continue to work from home who are still paying time-of-use electricity rates to consider switching to the tiered rate option, offering a flat rate at all hours of the day.”

Some Toronto and Peel residents have expressed frustration online, noting it’s unfair to be paying the same prices as everyone else, even though they remain under stay-at-home orders until at least March 8.

However, the province can only apply rate relief to Ontario as a whole and is unable to offer electricity subsidies by region.

The ministry adds customers struggling to pay their hydro bill because of the pandemic can seek help through the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program with their local provider.

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