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Electricity prices to increase, just in time for winter

OTTAWA CITIZEN, VITO PILIECI, October 16, 2015

Ottawa

MONTREAL, QUE.: FEBRUARY 23, 2015 — Hydro electricity power pylons at 736 Montée Sabourin in St-Bruno-de-Montarvilleon Monday, February 23, 2015. (Peter McCabe / MONTREAL GAZETTE)

The Ontario Energy Board has announced that Ontarians’ electricity rates are going up again on Nov. 1.

The board, which sets energy prices on behalf of consumers in the province, said late Thursday that the price will push the average consumer’s bill up by about 3.4 per cent.

The increase would add about $4.50 to the average monthly bill. This follows an increase in May, which added about $5.71 to the bill.

Energy users who perform electricity intensive tasks during peak hours will see a much larger increase, as peak energy fees will increase to 17.4 cents per kilowatt hour, up 8.7 per cent over their current amount.

With the increase, peak period prices will be more than double the amount paid by consumers who are able to tailor their energy use to off-peak hours. Off peak prices will rise by 3.75 per cent, to 8.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

The OEB said the increases were generally required because of recent investments in Ontario’s nuclear, hydro electric and green energy generating stations.

“Increased costs from Ontario Power Generation’s nuclear and hydro-electric power plants make up about 40 per cent of this increase,” the board’s statement read. “Costs from renewable generation sources are another driver, representing about one-third of the increase.”

The hikes come as Ontario’s government is preparing for a sale of a majority of the provincially owned energy producer Hydro One. The province is expected to raise as much as $9 billion from the sale of 60 per cent of Hydro One’s shares when the company is publicly listed in the coming months. The proceeds from the sale are earmarked for Ontario’s transit system expansion and other infrastructure projects.

Many opponents have argued that the sale will lead to higher energy prices for consumers, as investors in the electricity generator will demand higher returns on their investment.

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