Time-of-Use: what you need to know

Horizon Utilities' residential and small business customers are billed based on Time-of-Use (TOU) rates, with the exception of those who do not yet have a smart meter installed and those who pay for their electricity on a contract with an energy retailer. With a retail contract, customers typically pay the same amount for electricity no matter what time of day it is used.

With TOU rates, the cost of electricity varies depending on when you use it (off-peak, mid-peak and on-peak). Rates are different depending on the time of the day, day of the week and season of the year (summer and winter).

TOU rates reward you for using electricity during low-demand periods whenever possible (reflected in green). As you can see from the seasonal charts below, the lowest rates are at night, on weekends and statutory holidays.

TOU Rates effective November 1, 2014:

TOU-PieChart 2013

Summer weekday rates (May 1 to October 31)

On-peak rates apply during the middle of the weekday (between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.). This is mainly due to the increase in air conditioning use during the hottest hours of the day.

Winter weekday rates (November 1 to April 30)

The winter months have two on-peak periods. During these times, increased space heating, lighting and appliance use is common. The on-peak rates apply in the morning (7 a.m. to 11 a.m.) and evening (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.). The off-peak period begins at 7 p.m.

Weekends and holidays

On weekends and holidays, all hours of the day are off-peak. The demand for electricity in the province is less. Therefore, electricity rates are lower on weekends and holidays. Below is a list of the upcoming TOU holidays:

2014

  • Thursday, December 25 - Christmas Day
  • Friday, December 26 - Boxing Day

2015

  • Thursday, January 1 - New Year’s Day
  • Monday, February 16 - Family Day
  • Friday, April 3 - Good Friday
  • Monday, May 18 - Victoria Day
  • Wednesday, July 1 - Canada Day
  • Monday, August 3 - Civic Holiday
  • Monday, September 7 - Labour Day
  • Monday, October 12 - Thanksgiving Day
  • Friday, December 25 - Christmas Day
  • Saturday, December 26 - Boxing Day

How are Time-of-Use rates set?

The Ontario Energy Board reviews the TOU rates based on electricity market prices over the previous six months as well as its forecast of future electricity prices over the next year.

TOU rates reflect the fact that the cost to provide electricity changes throughout the day. When demand is low, less expensive sources of electricity are used. When demand rises, more expensive forms of electricity production are called upon, making prices higher.

How can I manage my Time-of-Use bill?

Simply login to myAccount to see how much electricity your household consumes during each TOU period of the day. You will find easy-to-understand graphs of your usage for hourly, daily, weekly and monthly time periods. There are plenty of tools and tips to help you manage your household energy consumption, set consumption and energy cost alerts, and predict your next bill. Sign up today and join the close to 60,000 Horizon Utilities customers who have access to their information on-line.

We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about TOU rates and your home's energy usage pattern. Please contact our Customer Service department for more information.

The Independent System Electricity Operator also offers some interactive tools to help you learn more at "10 Smart Meter Lane".

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