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Your Utility Costs:
Ontario Hydro electricity prices
and natural gas energy rates

brought to you by the Ontario Tenants Rights web site

Ontario Hydro privatization, deregulation of electricity in Ontario, electricity rates, and hydro electricity contracts. What does it all mean?

Note: Effective May 1, 2010, the Ontario Energy Board has changed the price of electricity for residential consumers to 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour (up from last year's 5.8 cents) for the first 600 kWh they use each month from May through October, (from November through April this cutoff changes to 1000kWh,) and 7.5 cents per kWh for electricity used per month over this amount (up from last year's 6.7 cents). This will be reflected on the "Electricity" line on consumers' bills. This is up from 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour flat rate in 2003, plus all sorts of other fees on top of this which have also since gone up, plus the new green energy surcharge, the hydro debt retirement surchage and come July 1, 2010 the HST which will add another 8% to your energy bills.

Tenants, you are paying for utilities such as your water, electricity (hydro) and natural gas (usually for your heating) whether you know it or not. These are a part of your rent except for some people who pay for their electricity directly to the "hydro" company.

Here is the full version of a letter I wrote, on Ontario Hydro price hikes, tenants and electric heating bills, written in December 2001, that was printed in a couple of newspapers.

Here are my household electricity savings tips for tenants.

My power blackout tips for tenants.

Tenants be cautious before signing any electricity contracts

If you need to send a complaint to the Ontario Energy Board you can click here: Complaints to the Ontario Energy Board or visit the website of the Ontario Energy Board, the regulator of Ontario's electricity and natural gas industries.

Ontario Hydro joins sales rush, Toronto Star article, Saturday, May 19, 2001, by John Spears.This is the first report that ever exposed this issue of unscrupulous door-to-door hydro salesmen in Ontario. As you will read, it was I who filed the complaint. That is why this was one of the first issues outside of tenants' rights covered by this web site.

Hydro sales firms fined $56,500 for false practices, by Joan Walters, Hamilton Spectator, April 27, 2002

Beware fixed-price hydro contracts, Canadian Press, December 18, 2002

Direct Energy and Ontario Energy Savings Corp fined over contract forgeries, Toronto Star, June 21, 2003

Why Hydro customers must pay for power they don't use, The Kingston Whig Standard July 2, 2003

Ontario Energy Board lays out new rules for Hydro security deposits, CP, February 3, 2004

London Hydro to repay $3.5M. New rules will force it to give back security deposits, London Free Press, Feb. 11, 2004

Direct energy seller still up to old tricks, Toronto Star, Feb 6, 2010

Summit Energy faces penalty for false statements, Toronto Sun, June 19, 2010

Beware travelling "energy retailers", Toronto Sun July 30, 2010

Woodstock Hydro president warns customers of fake employees, Woodstock Sentinel-Review, September 17, 2010

View a graph of Ontario electricity costs from the Independent Electricity System Operator IESO, but remember that in peak times these wholesale prices can be extremely misleading because they only include domestically produced electricity and exclude the cost of imported power.

Utility Regulator and Company web sites (remember these all supported the deregulation)
Ontario Energy Board - Government of Ont. Independent Electricity System Operator - IESO Ontario Power Authority - OPA
Ontario Power Generation - OPG Brantford Power Cambridge and North Dumfries Hydro
Chatham Kent Energy Direct Energy Enbridge (Natural) Gas
Enersource (Mississauga) EnWin (Windsor) Fortis Ontario
Guelph Hydro Horizon Utilities (Hamilton/St. Catharines) Hydro One
Hydro Ottawa London Hydro Middlesex Power
Milton Hydro Newmarket Hydro Niagara Falls Hydro
Niagara On The Lake Hydro North Bay Hydro Oakville Hydro
Oshawa Power Power Stream
(Aurora, Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan)
Toronto Hydro
Utilities Kingston Veridian Waterloo North Hydro

Ontario Hydro Electricity articles and report

Its Greed Stupid! Debunking the Ten Myths of Utility Dereguation by Public Citizen, January 30, 2001, a U.S. publication

Tories electricity plan spells financial disaster Myron Gordon and John Wilson, Toronto Star, April 30, 2001

Ontario Liberals' McGuinty calls for breakup of Ontario Power Generation, by Paul Vieira, Fin. Post, March 15, 2002

McGuinty admits to flip-flopping position on Hydro One privatization, Canadian Press, June 3, 2002

Landlord refuses to pay 'exorbitant' hydro bill, Kitchener Waterloo Record, October 11, 2002

John Manley: GST stays on hydro tax, Ottawa Sun, October 23, 2002

Agencies fear hydro cutoffs will hurt children London Free Press, March 11, 2003

Six key steps Queen's Park must take to ensure a safe, reliable power for Ontario, Toronto Star, Sept 19, 2003

Energy policy needed before lights go out, Toronto Star, November 27, 2003

Close deregulated electricity market, by John Wilson, Toronto Star, December 10, 2003

Cutting coal-fired plants questioned when natural gas supplies dwinding Toronto Star Feb 24/04

Ontarians willing to pay higher electricity bills, (Energy Minister Dwight) Duncan says, Globe and Mail, March 3, 2004

`Smart meters' will cost us, Toronto Star, March 27, 2004

Private nuclear power operators backed by John Manley, Toronto Star, March 30, 2004

Ontario Liberal policies could provoke spiralling electricity costs G&M Aug 23/04

Ontario Energy minister defends tourney, Won't influence bids, Duncan says Toronto Star Aug 26/04

Ontario scrambles to replace coal-fired power plants Toronto Star Aug 28/04

Meter is now running on apartment and condominium plan Toronto Star Sep 9/04

Ontario Power Generation mercury emissions up, Canadian Press, September 27, 2004

Ontario hydro customers could have to pay $2.3 billion for smart meters CP Oct 29/04

Hydro proposal would double peak-time costs Toronto Star Nov 30/04

Firms give tenants separate meters. Advocates fear change could hurt poor Toronto Star Dec 15/04

Electricity rates will vary by household and season, `Smart meter' to apply three fees Toronto Star Jan 18/05

Smart meter cost may double, $3 to $4 more on monthly electricity bills Toronto Star Jan 27/05

Revised `smart meter' program may add to costs Toronto Star Feb 10/05

Poorest families could tip over edge London Free Press Mar 12/05

Ontario tenants could face energy bills Toronto Star May 6/05

Ontario's push to privatize power infrastructure Financial Post May 30/05 A must read

Nuclear plants needed: Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan Toronto Star Aug 20/05

Smart meters bring clash over hydro Toronto Star Feb 27/06

Mercury in fluorescent bulbs risky Toronto Star March 4/06

City of Ottawa bans Fluorescent Bulbs from garbage because of toxic mercury content CBC, April 12/06

Accept nukes, McGuinty says Toronto Star, June 13/06

OEB issues code amendments for the Smart Metering Initiative transition period OEB, June 27/07

Nuclear selloff in works, Toronto Star, July 6/07

Hydro Quebec shelves smart meters, CBC, Dec 10/07

Renters wary of smart meters, Toronto Star, June 17/08

Ontario aiming to lead 'nuclear renaissance', Toronto Star, June 18/08

Bluffs 'only option' for wind farm, Toronto Star, October 29/08

Installation of Smart-Metering Systems in Residential Complexes, Ontario Energy Board, March 24/09

Your smart meter is watching, Toronto Star, Nov 17/09

Smart grid could turn appliances into spies, experts warn, CBC, Feb 19, 2010

T.O. Hydro loses apartment / condo electricity dispute, Toronto Sun, Feb 23, 2010

HST will zap households an extra $225 for gas, hydro, Toronto Sun, Feb 23, 2010

No payoff in off-peak power conservation, Toronto Star, March 14, 2010

Ontario slaps new 'green' tax on electricity bills, Toronto Star, March 20, 2010

Timed-use hydro rate lifts price 7 per cent, Toronto Star, April 1, 2010

Price of electricity jumps 12 per cent, Toronto Star, April 15, 2010

Ontario nuclear decision needed, says industry group, Toronto Star, April 27, 2010

Consumers group calls Ontario hydro levy illegal, Toronto Star, April 27, 2010

Time-of-use rates need adjustment, hydro officials say, Toronto Star, May 10, 2010

Let's bring back meter readings on time-of-use hydro bills, by Ellen Roseman, Toronto Star, May 12, 2010

Smart grid data must be protected: Privacy czar, Toronto Star, May 12, 2010

Low water levels threaten power supply, Toronto Star, May 22, 2010

OPG trims proposed hydro rate increase by 32%, Toronto Star, May 26, 2010

Ontario asset sale could raise up to $12 billion, Toronto Star, June 19, 2010

Hydro utilities warn of price shock, Toronto Star, July 28, 2010

Province short-circuited process, critic says, Toronto Sun July 29, 2010

Smart meters $1 billion price tag to skyrocket, says NDP, Toronto Star August 23, 2010

Toronto household power use soars 18 per cent, Toronto Star August 27, 2010

A milestone in greener lighting, Toronto Star August 29, 2010

Electric rates will soar for five years, Toronto Star September 1, 2010

Hydro's smart meters give dumb results, Globe and Mail September 14, 2010

McGuinty hints at hydro rate break, Toronto Star September 14, 2010

Peak power rates may drop, Toronto Sun September 14, 2010

McGuinty won't rule out higher daytime hydro rates, Toronto Star September 15, 2010

Hudak vows to give voters a break on smart meters, Ottawa Citizen, September 16, 2010

Dalton McGuinty's shocking admission, Editorial, Toronto Sun September 18, 2010

Smart meters, dumb sourcing, Letters to the Editor, Toronto Star, September 19, 2010

Ontario energy regulator blamed for sharp rise in hydro bills, Globe and Mail, September 23, 2010

Increased utility profits drive up hydro bills: NDP, Toronto Star, September 23, 2010

Hydro firms quietly given bigger profits, Ottawa Citizen, September 23, 2010

Another sneaky hydro hike, Toronto Sun, September 23, 2010

Energy ad campaign all charged up, Toronto Sun, September 23, 2010

Energy board boss pulls in $492Gs, Toronto Sun, September 23, 2010

Zap! Your hydro bill's going up, Toronto Sun, September 23, 2010

McGuinty won't apologize for hydro hike, Toronto Sun, September 24, 2010

So much is happening and has been written on this issue that I have moved the links to Ontario electricity reports, studies & over 100 additional articles here. These are only in order by date so that page is primarily for research purposes, and not for the light reader.

Ontario power blackout and electricity brownouts

Read my Power Blackout Outage Tips for tenants.

Electricity facts, Globe and Mail, August 19, 2003

Experts Assess Deregulation as Factor in '03 Blackout New York Times Sept 16/05

Rising Electricity Rates: really a hidden city tax

On Thursday, August 9, 2001, there was a public forum on electrical deregulation in Ontario, held at the Emmanuel-Howard Park United Church Hall. Bruno Solano, President of CUPE Local 1, Toronto Hydro, and Joyce Nobel a former hydro worker, discussed how for all of its history Toronto Hydro was run by the City of Toronto as a "consumer-cooperative" that set rates to break even; there was to be no profit. Now the City of Toronto (Mississauga has done the same) has turned it into a supposedly arms-length corporation, on which it wants profits, which Mr. Solano said was told to start bringing in $150,000,000 a year by 2005, to go into city coffers. This is clearly a hidden tax the city wants to impose on residents. How much would it mean to tenants? And Mr. Solano's predictions are coming too true. For 2004 the City of Toronto is to receive $25 million in "dividends" plus $67 million in "interest" from the new Toronto Hydro, and this $92 million a year windfall works out to be a $36 a year hidden tax for each woman, man and child in Toronto much of it hidden in higher rents.

Since they are trying to increase profits they are also reducing staffing and preventative maintenance, both essential to maintain a reliable source of electricity. In four or five years will brown-outs become the norm? And heaven help us should be get a bad ice storm.

Buying Hydro, twice is an Oct 23/01 editorial that outlines the mechanics of how the City of Toronto is using Toronto Hydro as a new source of income.

Toronto's out-of-sight Hydro kitty, by John Spears, Toronto Star Mar 30/02

Toronto Hydro quadrupled 2002 profits Toronto Star Apr 2/03

Landlords battling city over utility bills London Free Press Nov 30/03

In the end, Harris could help Miller Toronto Star Feb 20/06

Toronto Hydro asks for 4% rate hike, Toronto Star, Aug 4/07

Leaders mute on hydro debt, by John Wilson, Toronto Star, Nov 1/07

Natural Gas Rates

In the winter of 2000, there was a jump in natural gas prices, peaking at about 4 times the present price and averaging about 2.5 times the present average. There were claims of a natural gas shortage while hundreds of "sweet gas" wells lie capped in the very shallow and accessible waters of Lake Erie. Sweet gas is a term used for the purest natural gas.

Experts mostly agree the natural gas price spike of late 2000/early 2001 was due to market manipulation, and that the further spike in January 2003 was due to speculators and not due to any shortage.

To understand how this affects Ontario tenants, and how the Tenant Protection Act, permits landlords to get this increase twice, plus get a 2% bonus, you can visit the Rent Increase Guideline section of my Current Issues page.

Natural Gas Prices Rising CP Jan 5/02

Six firms settle over natural gas index reporting Houston Chronicle Jan 28/04

Aquila will pay $26.5 million in natural gas prices investigation, AP, January 29, 2004

Natural gas supplies dwinding, price rising, as Ontario government pushes for switch from coal-fired generators to natural gas Toronto Star Feb 24/04

Direct Energy: Retailers still treating customers with disdain Toronto Star Apr 3/04

Enbridge rapped for usurious late-fee penalties Globe and Mail Apr 23/04

Utility broke law, top court rules Toronto Star Apr 23/04

Big Oil greed greater issue than supply and demand The Pantagraph, Illinois, Nov 6/04

Increasing natural gas prices a puzzle AP Nov 17/04

Food bank already feeling heat Ottawa Sun Oct 6/05

Police the energy markets, New Jersey Star-Ledger, Jan 05/08

Former natural gas trader is sentenced, Houston Chronicle, November 3/08

Here is a chart of monthly natural gas prices in $US per million Btu:

Natural Gas Prices - New York Mercantile Exchange - Monthly graph

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