For Residents and Small Businesses

Most of Ontario’s residential and small business consumers pay time-of-use (TOU) rates − that means how much they pay for electricity depends on when they use it.

Under TOU pricing, consumers pay higher prices when electricity is more expensive to produce and lower prices when it is less expensive. This pricing framework gives consumers the opportunity to lower their costs by shifting their usage to less costly times of the day.

Time-of-use periods

There are three TOU periods that vary according to the time of day, day of the week, as well as the season (summer or winter).

The winter price schedule incorporates both a morning and evening peak which reflects increased lighting needs during the shorter days. By contrast, the summer peaks of electricity take place throughout the afternoon when air conditioning use is at its highest. Off-peak periods account for roughly 50 percent of the week and are applicable on holidays.

For holidays when off-peak prices are in effect, see Ontario Energy Board website: Holiday Schedule for Time-of-Use Prices.

How TOU rates are set

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) reviews and sets TOU rates every six months. New rates take effect each May 1 (summer period) and November 1 (winter period). These regulated rates are based on projections of consumption − that is how much electricity consumers will use − combined with the estimated cost of electricity over that time period. If the projection for the previous period was too high or low,  it will be accounted for in the rates for next period. TOU rates also incorporate the global adjustment charge.

Read more about global adjustment.

Tiered pricing

Residential and small business customers without a smart meter pay a set rate for electricity up to certain level of consumption. The rate increases for all additional electricity used when consumption by these customers exceeds that threshold. The tiers are different for home and business consumers. The OEB determines the new tiered rates every six months at the same time as it sets the TOU rates. The global adjustment is incorporated into tiered pricing.

See OEB website: Electricity Pricing for tiered prices for the current period.

Retail contracts

Electricity consumers can choose to buy their electricity from a retailer. If a consumer signs a retail contract, they elect to pay a fixed rate that is independent of TOU and tiered pricing. These customers will also pay the global adjustment in addition to the rate of their retail contract.

See OEB website: Electricity Pricing for more information about retail contracts.

Visit Save on Energy for a range of programs to help manage energy use as well as provide helpful tips and tools to adopt energy-efficiency at home.

Other electricity charges that appear on your bill

The electricity (commodity) charge is just one component of your bill. There are other charges on your bill that reflect the cost of delivering the electricity, ensuring reliability, and managing your account. The OEB is responsible for setting or approving these charges.

For more information about electricity charges 

Read an explanation of electricity charges on the OEB website. There, you can also calculate an estimated monthly electricity bill using the OEB’s bill calculator.

For specific questions about your bill, please contact your local distribution company. See list of Ontario’s local distribution companies to find the one servicing your area.

Information is power

Smart meters are a key part of the ongoing technological evolution taking place in the electricity sector. Smart meters, which are installed in almost every Ontario home and business, track and capture electricity consumption on an hourly basis. Many local distribution companies offer customers online tools to see and track their electricity usage. By understanding their usage patterns, Ontario consumers can reduce consumption during peak periods or shift usage to lower demand periods − or do both.

Ontarians' access to their consumption data is continuing to evolve. Read how the Green Button Initiative is making it possible for Ontarians to access their electricity usage and consumption data through secure online apps, products and services − helping them to conserve energy and better manage their electricity bills.

Tools to help you understand your electricity usage

         Kilowatt Way

Build your online home on Kilowatt Way and customize the appliances to when you use them. See how time-of-use shifting and energy efficiency can make a difference.

Time of use rates at work; an online tool for bussiness

Time-of-Use Rates at Work

The type of equipment, hours of operation and even business routines all affect electricity costs. This simple online guide shows small businesses how to make time-of-use prices work for them.