PowerStream begins rollout of Time-of-Use electricity prices
Two-year process of switching customers to new rate structure starts in Aurora on August 1
VAUGHAN, ON – On August 1, PowerStream, the local utility which delivers power to a number of communities in York Region and Simcoe County, will begin a two-year process of switching all residential and small business customers in its service territory to the provincially mandated Time-of- Use (TOU) pricing structure.
The first group to be migrated to TOU rates will be approximately 1,800 residential customers in the Town of Aurora. In June, these customers received an information package from PowerStream introducing them to TOU rates and providing advance notification of the change. A follow-up “reminder’ package with additional information on TOU pricing is scheduled to be delivered to these same customers sometime in August.
By the end of December 2009, all residential customers in Aurora with a smart meter are scheduled to be on TOU rates. The migration of Richmond Hill residential customers is planned to start in February 2010 followed by Markham customers in May. Several other large utilities in the province will also begin switching their customers with smart meters to TOU rates over the coming months. In total, it is expected that more than one million Ontario households will be on the new pricing regime by next summer.
The migration of Vaughan customers to TOU rates is scheduled to begin in October 2010 with the changeover for Barrie and PowerStream customers in Simcoe County commencing a month later. In May, George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, announced the province-wide implementation of TOU rates, explaining that these rates will equip Ontarians with real time information to make smart decisions about how and when they use electricity. The rates reflect the reality that electricity costs the most when demand is highest. By shifting electricity use to lower demand periods consumers will benefit by being charged for their electricity at a lower price.
Customers will be better able to manage their electricity costs by reducing overall consumption and by shifting their use of electric household appliances, such as laundry appliances and dishwashers, to later in the evening or on weekends. Shifting use of other discretionary appliances such as air conditioners can also help.
Under the new rate structure, off-peak times occur on evenings and weekends. Currently, evening off-peak hours start at 10 pm. As of November 1, off-peak times will move to 9 pm, offering Ontario families an additional evening hour at the lowest rate.
As of May 1, 2009, the three TOU price points for electricity are (per kilowatt hour):
• On-peak: 9.1 cents
• Mid-peak: 7.6 cents
• Off-peak: 4.2 cents
Earlier this year, Brian Bentz, PowerStream’s President and CEO, indicated how the company was taking a leadership position in this Ontario-wide initiative by being the first large utility to successfully complete testing, integration and having customer billing data processed through the province’s centralized Meter Data Management Repository (MDMR). “We have been working closely for sometime now with the MDMR team at the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to ensure a smooth transition for customers being moved to time-of-use rates,” Bentz added. “This has been a major undertaking for our company and we are pleased with the results.”
TOU electricity consumption is measured by a smart meter. There are currently more than 2.5 million smart meters installed in Ontario. More smart meters are scheduled to be installed though out the province over next couple of years with an estimated 3.6 million electricity customers expected to be on TOU rates by June 2011.
For more information on smart meters and TOU rates, visit the PowerStream website at
PowerStream is the second largest municipally-owned local electricity distribution company in Ontario, providing service to more than 315,000 residential and business customers in Alliston, Aurora, Barrie, Beeton, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Markham, Penetanguishene Richmond Hill, Thornton, Tottenham and Vaughan. It is an incorporated entity, jointly owned by the City of Barrie, the City of Vaughan and the Town of Markham.