You have three options when buying electricity:
| ||Regulated Price Plan (RPP) — you pay a regulated price per kWh for the electricity you use. RPP prices are set by the Ontario Energy Board and may change twice a year, in May and November.|
| ||Electricity Retailer — you pay the contracted price per kWh for the electricity you use. Your contract with the electricity retailer only affects the "Electricity" line of your bill. This price is determined by the electricity retailer and is not regulated by the Ontario Energy Board. Usually the price is fixed for a number of years, but it may change during the term of the contract.|
| ||Spot Market Pricing (only available if you have an interval meter) — you pay actual wholesale market prices for electricity which change every hour.|
If you choose to sign with an electricity retailer or pay the spot market pricing, Hydro One will continue to bill you for "Delivery", "Regulatory Charges" and "Debt Retirement Charges."
An electricity retailer may offer to bill you for all your electricity charges directly or it may contract Hydro One to continue to bill you on the retailer's behalf for the contract price and term you signed with a retailer.
Settling your account
You will have to settle your outstanding account if you leave the Regulated Price Plan. If you switch to an electricity retailer you will either need to pay a one-time charge or credit, called the "RPP Settlement" that will appear on your final bill as a Regulated Price Plan customer.
- You will need to pay Hydro One if customers on the Regulated Price Plan have been paying less than was paid to generators; or
- You will be reimbursed if customers on the Regulated Price Plan have been paying more for electricity than was paid to generators.
Each month the Ontario Energy Board updates the RPP Variance Settlement Factor on their website. You can estimate the amount you would pay or receive by multiplying this factor by your usage over the past 12 months.
For customers that remain on the Regulated Price Plan, the difference is tracked in something called a variance account and incorporated into future Regulated Price Plan prices set by the Ontario Energy Board.
Changes to your bill
If you choose to sign with an electricity retailer or you pay the spot market price for electricity, you will be billed for the Global Adjustment.
It can be a credit or a charge, and is your share of the difference between government regulated and contract prices for electricity paid to certain generators and the market prices they would have received had they not been subject to government regulation or contracts.
If you buy from an electricity retailer, the Global Adjustment is not included in the contract price offered by the retailer, so on your bill it is shown as a separate item. By law, the Global Adjustment applies to you and cannot be transferred to an electricity retailer or any other party.
As a Regulated Price Plan customer, you do not see the Global Adjustment on your bill because an estimate of this amount is already reflected in the stable price for electricity set by the Ontario Energy Board, shown on the "Electricity" line of your bill.
Returning to the Regulated Price Plan
If you enrol with an electricity retailer, you are making a commitment to purchase electricity from the retailer for a certain period of time. If you terminate your contract early, you may have to pay a charge. That charge will be specified in your contract with the retailer.
If you terminate your retail contract, you will automatically return to the Regulated Price Plan.
Questions to ask when considering a contract with an Electricity Retailer
These are some questions for you to consider before entering into a contract with an electricity retailer:
- What is the price being offered? How does it compare with my current service provider or other suppliers?
- What is my "RPP Settlement" amount?
- How long is the term of the contract?
- Do you offer contracts that differ in length?
- Does the price stated in the contract differ depending on the length of the contract?
- What other fees or charges would I be required to pay?
- Would I be required to pay any charges if I leave before the contract ends?
- When would the contract take effect?
- Does the electricity retailer have a licence from the Ontario Energy Board?
- Does the contract change if a smart meter is installed before the term of the contract?
- Do you offer "green power" contracts and, if so, how does the price differ?
Evaluating your options
The Ontario Energy Board regulates the electricity sector and provides a list of retailers licensed to operate in Ontario. These retailers are obliged to follow a code of conduct.
Electricity retailers may be knocking on your door, asking you to sign-up for a fixed electricity rate as well as other products and services. These companies are not affiliated with Hydro One.
Visit the "Retail Energy Contracts" section on the Ontario Energy Board's website.