Customer Choice - Time-of-Use or Tiered Rates Q&A
What is Customer Choice?
If you’re a residential or small business electricity customer, you can choose to switch between Time-of-Use (TOU) and Tiered prices.
If you want to continue with your current price plan, no action is required.
To switch your price plan, you must notify ENWIN by completing an election form.
What are TOU prices?
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. This price applies in the evenings on weekdays and all day on weekends.
Every household and small business is different, but on average, Ontario households use nearly two thirds of their electricity 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 (May 1 to October 31) than they are in the winter (November 1 to April 30).
What are Tiered prices?
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. For residential customers, the threshold changes with the season to reflect changing usage patterns – for example, there are fewer hours of daylight in the winter, meaning we leave our lights on longer, 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 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 increase if you exceed the threshold during the month.
What do TOU and Tiered prices pay for?
The OEB sets TOU and Tiered prices based on a forecast of how much it will cost to supply TOU and Tiered customers with the electricity they are expected to use over the next 12 months. The OEB sets TOU and Tiered prices to recover the same forecast average cost of supply.
The OEB sets 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 customers use in their homes or small businesses.
Will I save money by switching price plans?
There is no guarantee you will save money if you switch price plans. The total bill impact of switching will vary depending on how much electricity you consume in a month and when it is consumed during the day.
Considering a switch? For more information, go to oeb.ca/choice and use the bill calculator to compare what your bill might look like if you switch price plans. myENWIN users can also use the “TOU vs Tier Comparison” tool to compare bills on each rate plan.
What do I need to do to switch price plans?
You do not have to switch your price plan. Taking no action means you will continue to be billed on your current price plan.
If you do want to switch price plans, here are the rules that apply:
- You will need to fill out an election form to notify ENWIN that you want to switch. The form is intended to be as simple as possible in terms of the information that you need to provide. You should have a recent electricity bill on hand when filling out the form, as you will need your utility account number.
- ENWIN must make its election form available on its website, and to any customer that requests it. ENWIN must accept election forms by email or mail at a minimum. Customers who would like to switch can complete a form here. Customers will also be able to submit their choice by phone.
- Within 10 business days of receiving your election form, ENWIN 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, ENWIN has the same 10 business days to let you know when you can expect to start being billed on your requested price plan.
- A switch between price plans can only take effect at the start of a billing period. A billing period is generally about 30 days long, and the start and end dates are identified on your electricity bill. Many customers are not billed based on a calendar month, and the start of your billing period can be any given day of a month.
- ENWIN must start charging you on your requested price plan as of your next billing period after you submit your election form if ENWIN receives that form at least 10 business days before that billing period starts, and provided there are no issues with your form (see above).
- If ENWIN receives your complete election form less than 10 business days before the start of your next billing period, ENWIN might still be able to switch you for your next billing period. But if ENWIN can’t do so, the switch will take effect at the start of the next billing period after that.
- Because a switch in prices can only take effect at the beginning of a billing period, it will take some time between the day you provide your election form and the day you actually start getting charged on your requested price plan.
If I have opted into Tiered prices, can I switch back to TOU prices?
Yes. And the rules that apply to switching to Tiered prices also apply if you later want to switch back to TOU prices.
Can all customers switch their price plan?
Only customers who have electricity meters capable of recording hourly usage (a TOU meter) can switch between price plans.
If you live in a condo or apartment that has its own individual meter and your bill comes from a company other than your electricity utility, you are a customer of a unit sub-meter provider (USMP). Customers of USMPs also can’t switch price plans. 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.
I receive a monthly credit from the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP). Will I lose that credit if I switch electricity price plans?
No. You will still receive the credit.
I receive the Ontario Electricity Rebate. Will I lose that rebate if I switch electricity price plans?
No. You will still receive the credit.
I am about to sign up with a new electricity utility. Will the utility inform me that I have a choice between TOU or Tiered prices before I sign up?
Yes. ENWIN is required to inform all new RPP customers that they have a choice between TOU or Tiered prices when they set up the account.