Sharing everything we know about Ontario’s new ULO rate plan option.
On November 1st, 2020, a new era began in Ontario’s electricity market with the introduction of the Tiered Pricing Plan and Customer Choice Rates. Fast forward three years and the Ontario Energy Board is on track to introduce a new pricing plan, the Ultra-low Overnight (ULO) Electricity Price Plan. Regulated Price Plan (RPP) customers, a classification that includes most Oshawa Power customers, will now have the choice to switch freely between three different pricing plans.
The availability of a new choice raises new questions. Which plan is best for you? How can you make the right choice to save on your electricity bills? The answer to these questions, much like for the choice between TOU and Tiered Pricing, hinges on a variety of factors including your lifestyle, current energy use habits, and ability to shift your load away from On-Peak hours.
To help you understand more about the new ULO Plan — how it works, proposed rates, and who this plan may be best suited for — we’ve rounded up everything we know about the new ultra-low pricing to help you feel confident in your choice.
With energy demand steadily increasing year-over-year in Ontario, and a marked increase in demand from the electrification of transportation expected in the coming years, the Ontario Energy Board is working to develop new strategies to encourage the shifting of demand to Off-Peak and overnight periods.
The ULO Pricing Plan was designed with electric transportation in mind. As electric vehicle (EV) adoption gathers momentum and Ontario sees an increasing number of EVs hitting the roads, we know that something must be done to mitigate the possibility of soaring peak demand caused by vehicle charging. By charging an ultra-low rate during periods of lowest forecasted demand, this will encourage consumers to charge EVs or use their highest consuming electronics overnight, helping customers save on their electricity bills and our provincial energy grid manage peak demand.
Much like the current TOU pricing plan, the ULO Plan incentivizes shifting your energy use overnight. Where the plans differ, is in the hours and energy costs for that off peak usage.
The Ontario Energy Board has announced that Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) across Ontario will be allowed to begin offering the new ULO Pricing Plan as early as May 1st, 2023. By November 1st, 2023, all LDCs in Ontario will be required to offer the ULO Pricing Plan to their customers.
The ULO Pricing Plan is structured similarly to the TOU Pricing Plan, with customer usage falling into distinct Pricing Periods depending on the time of day and day of the week. Where the new plan differs is in the actual hours considered On-Peak, Mid-Peak, and the new Ultra-low Overnight. Another key difference under the ULO Pricing Plan, is the inclusion of an additional Weekend and Holiday Off-Peak class.
Let’s have a look at how these hours breakdown for the ULO Pricing Plan:
|On-Peak||Weekdays, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.|
|Mid-Peak||Weekdays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.|
|Weekend Off-Peak||Weekdays & Holidays, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.|
|Ultra-Low Overnight||Everyday, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.|
While the hours are new, you can see that the general idea remains the same as under TOU pricing — if you’re looking to minimize your electricity costs and maximize your savings, shifting your usage to periods of low demand is the way to go.
Limited information about the new ULO Pricing is available, but here is what we know so far; under the new pricing plan, the rates for Mid-Peak and Weekend Off-Peak pricing will remain in line with the existing rates for these Pricing Periods under the standard TOU plan.
Where the big changes to pricing occur are in the On-Peak and Ultra-low Overnight rates. With the intention of allowing customers utilizing the new plan to save as much as possible, Ultra-low Overnight rates will be calculated to cover the forecasted average supply cost, with no additional markup. This means usage during this period will be the lowest possible price a consumer can pay for electricity in Ontario’s current market.
For the On-Peak usage under the ULO Pricing Plan, this is where things can get pricey. On-Peak prices are intended to be set at a cost equal to 10 times the cost of the Ultra-low Overnight rate, meaning usage during periods of highest demand will cost the customer significantly.
Unfortunately, actual rates for the new ULO Pricing Plan are not yet available. We will update our website and social media with ULO rates when they are released.
It’s time to answer the burning question — should you switch to the new ULO Pricing Plan when it becomes available? The answer, once again, depends on your habits and lifestyle.
If you are someone who works evenings or schedules most of your energy use to occur overnight, this plan may make sense for you and allow you to save on your electricity bills.
For owners of EVs, this plan may also be a great way to lower your cost of ownership and find even more savings. By managing your home energy use and ensuring all charging takes place overnight, this plan could lead to significant cost reductions.
Alternatively, if you are someone with a large family or who is home using electronics every evening, the ULO Pricing Plan is likely not ideal for you.
The good news about Customer Choice Rates is that Ontario electricity consumers have the power to switch freely between their options. Wondering if a certain plan might help you save? Give it a shot! After one bill, you are always free to switch back.
We hope that this information helps you better understand the new Ultra-low Overnight Pricing Plan and allows you to make an educated choice about which plan works best for your lifestyle.
Looking for more information about your options under Customer Choice Rates? Check out our Customer Choice page to get all the details and find out how to make your choice.