Choosing Your Electricity Price Plan
If you’re a residential or small business customer, you can choose to switch between Time-of-Use (TOU), Tiered and the Ultra-Low Overnight (ULO) price plans.
To switch price plans, you must notify Burlington Hydro by completing and submitting an election form. There is no deadline and you can ask to switch at any time. If you want to stay with your current price plan no action is required. If you are unsure what price plan you are currently on, check the Electricity line of your bill. Most residential and small business customers in Ontario pay TOU prices.
Your price depends on when you use electricity with 3 price periods: Peak, Mid-Peak and Off-Peak. Our most popular plan.
Up to a certain threshold of electricity, you're charged one price, regardless of the time of day or day of week. Once exceeded, a higher price applies.
With the TOU price plan, the price depends on when you use electricity. There are three TOU price periods:
- Off-peak, when demand for electricity is generally lower. 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 the Tiered price plan, 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. The threshold changes with the season to reflect changing usage patterns – for example, there are fewer hours of daylight in the winter 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.
With the ULO price plan, the price also depends on when you use electricity, and further encourages shifting high electricity usage activities to lower-demand periods overnight. For example, customers with an electric vehicle can choose to charge their vehicle during the Ultra-Low Overnight period to capitalize on the time of day when electricity prices are lowest. There are four ULO price periods:
- Ultra-Low Overnight, when demand for electricity is lowest on average.
- Weekend Off-peak, when demand for electricity is generally lower.
- Mid-peak, when demand for electricity is moderate.
- On-peak, when demand for electricity is highest on average. The ULO price periods are the same in the summer as they are in the winter.
Your Questions Answered
Who sets pricing under the Regulated Price Plan (RPP)?
The OEB sets both TOU, ULO 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.
The OEB sets TOU, ULO and Tiered prices so that they all recover the same forecast average cost of supply for a typical consumer.
How often are Prices Set?
The OEB typically sets new prices in November, based on an estimate of how much it will cost to supply residential and small business customers on the Regulated Price Plan with the electricity that they are expected to use.
Will I save money opting out of TOU prices?
There is no guarantee you will save money by switching 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. A helpful tool – the OEB’s Bill Calculator - is available to compare your different pricing options.
How do I change price plans?
To switch price plans, you must notify Burlington Hydro by completing and submitting an election form. There is no deadline and you can ask to switch at any time.
You should have a recent electricity bill on hand when filling out the form, as you will need your Burlington Hydro account number.
Within 10 business days of receiving a completed election form, Burlington Hydro will notify you regarding when you can expect to start being billed on your new price plan. If your election form cannot be processed because of errors in the form, Burlington Hydro will inform you within the same 10 business day window.
A switch to a different pricing plan 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 the month.
Burlington Hydro will start charging you based on the new pricing plan as of your next billing period after you submit your election form. This is incumbent on Burlington Hydro receiving that form at least 10 business days before your next billing period starts, and provided there are no issues with your form.
If Burlington Hydro receives your completed election form less than 10 business days before the start of your next billing period, Burlington Hydro will start charging you the new pricing plan at the start of the next billing period after that.
If I don’t like the price plan I chose, can I switch back?
If you have chosen to switch price plans and later decide you want to go back, you can do so by completing and submitting another election form.
Can all Regulated Price Plan (RPP) customers change price plans?
Most RPP customer may opt out of their existing price plan and switch to another one.*
If you live in a condo or apartment that has its own individual meter and your bill comes from a company other than Burlington Hydro, you are a customer of a unit sub-meter provider (USMP). Customers of USMPs cannot switch to ULO or Tiered prices. 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.
*There are certain customers who are currently paying Tiered prices who cannot switch to TOU or ULO pricing because their meters are unable to bill under those price plans.
I am about to sign up with a new electricity utility. Will the utility inform me that I have a choice between TOU, Tiered or ULO price plans before I sign up?
All electricity distribution utilities, including Burlington Hydro, are required to inform all new Regulated Price Plan customers that they have a choice between TOU, Tiered or ULO prices when they set up their new accounts.