Time-of-Use FAQ

Q: What is Time-of-Use (TOU) billing?

A: In a move mandated by the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), every Burlington Hydro residential and small commercial customer was switched to Time-of-Use (TOU) in 2012. Like everyone across Ontario, Burlington Hydro Inc. customers adopted TOU electricity prices as part of the Ontario government's plan to create a culture of energy conservation in the province.

TOU prices take into account when, as well as how much, electricity is used by each of us. The switch to this new approach to electricity prices means all Burlington households and most institutions and businesses will be charged different rates, depending on the day of week, time of day and the season.

TOU charges for on-, mid-, and off-peak periods are listed under the Electricity Line on your electricity bill. This charge represents approximately 60% of the total bill, and although it is collected by Burlington Hydro, it is forwarded to generators to cover the cost of generating the electricity we use. Find out more about how your electricity bill breaks down.

Q: Why are there different prices and time periods?

A: At the request of the Ontario's Minister of Energy, the Ontario Energy Board developed an electricity price plan to provide stable and predictable electricity pricing, which ensures the price consumers, like you, pay for electricity better reflects the actual cost of producing the electricity.

Electricity prices charged per "kilowatt-hour" change throughout the day, like long distance telephone rates, to better reflect the changes in the costs to produce electricity at different times of the day.

Q. What are the holidays for time-of-use prices?

A. Holiday Schedule for Time-of-Use Prices (Regulated Price Plan) Electricity used on weekends and holidays is charged the off-peak during both the Winter and Summer periods. Here are the holidays when off-peak prices are in effect:

January New Year's Day
February Family Day
April  Good Friday
May Victoria Day
July Canada Day
August Civic Holiday
September Labour Day
October Thanksgiving Day
December Christmas Day
December Boxing Day

Q. What is the benefit of having time-of-use pricing?

A. Smart meter pricing sets a higher price at peak periods when prices are highest in the wholesale market. This encourages you to reduce or shift your use to periods of lower demand (e.g. weekends or later in the evening) and away from times when electricity is most expensive.

You won't be able to shift all of your electricity use away from peak demand periods, but the more you are able to shift, the more you can manage your costs and contribute to lower overall peak electricity prices for everyone.

Q: Where can learn more about conservation programs?

A: Burlington Hydro will continue to help its customers manage their electricity use and costs by offering a range of conservation programs. Learn more about conservation programs.

Q: I am with a fixed-term contract with an electricity retailer. Will I be affected by Time-of-Use billing?

A: Time-of-Use prices do not apply for electricity customers on a fixed-term contract with an electricity retailer.

Smart Meters

Q: How do I read my Smart Meter?

A: Your Smart Meter displays the following pieces of information in sequence:

  • a segment test to ensure the system is functioning
  • your accumulated kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption in a six-digit format
  • a network address number for utility use.

Q:Is my usage information secure and will it remain confidential?

A: Yes. Ontario's electricity distribution companies are required, by law, to ensure that the SMART METERS and communication networks that are put into place are equipped with security features to prevent unauthorized access. We must also comply with federal laws regarding the privacy, protection and disclosure of personal information.