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Conditions of Service

Hydro Ottawa is committed to providing our customers with safe, reliable electricity service. Our Conditions of Service define how we work with our customers and others to meet this commitment.

Hydro Ottawa's Conditions of Service are detailed in one important reference document for the customers, contractors, developers, retailers, generators and their agents, consultants and suppliers that we do business with on a daily basis. This document includes information on account administration including rates and conditions, billing procedures, and payment plan options.  It also references the regulations and codes, which govern the services Hydro Ottawa provides. These include safety and inspection requirements as well as roles and responsibilities.

Effective April 1, 2017, this revised Conditions of Service replaces any pre-existing Conditions of Service document.

A Summary of our Conditions of Service

Before you refer to our full Conditions of Service, have a look at the following summary. It might have the information you are looking for, or the answers to your questions.

As part of our commitment to providing you with safe and reliable electricity service, we’ve outlined the best way for us to do business together in our Conditions of Service.

Hydro Ottawa has an implied contract with every customer connected to our distribution system. As a Hydro Ottawa customer, you are responsible for meeting the terms of our Conditions of Service such as paying applicable rates, charges and fees. You are also responsible for the overhead power lines on your property that serve only your home or business. This includes the inspection and maintenance of these lines and the trimming of trees and vegetation.

 
The Conditions of Service also guide Hydro Ottawa's operations and define our rights and responsibilities.
 

Contact Information

Contact us if you need to update your account information, such as the phone number and email address we have on file for you.

Opening and Closing Accounts

If you are moving to, from or within our service territory in Ottawa and would like to open, close or update an account, please complete our online moving form at least 10 business days prior to your move. An account set-up charge will be applied to your first bill.

Please note that requests to open or close an account received from a third party, such as a lawyer or landlord, must be approved by the customer responsible for the account.

To see if you will be a Hydro Ottawa customer when you move, please consult this map of our service territory.

Rates

Our delivery rates include variable and fixed distribution charges, as well as transmission delivery charges. These charges vary according to your rate classification as a residential or business customer.


We also collect payment of other charges on behalf of third parties. These include electricity charges, regulatory charges, the debt retirement charge (if applicable), the global adjustment (if applicable) and HST. Hydro Ottawa offers programs to help low-income customers experiencing difficulty with paying their electricity bills. These include the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP), which provides a fixed monthly credit to the bills of eligible customers.

Retailers

Residential customers have two options for electricity supply. It can be supplied by Hydro Ottawa or you can sign a contract with an electricity retailer. If are enrolled with a retailer, you will be billed at your contracted rate for electricity. If you are a Hydro Ottawa customer, you will be billed the Time-of-Use prices for electricity under Ontario's Regulated Price Plan (RPP).

Late Payment Charges

A late payment charge of 1.5% per month (19.56% annually) is applied to all accounts not paid by the due date.

If you are enrolled in one of our pre-authorized payment plans, and a payment is returned due to non-sufficient funds (NSF), a NSF fee and a late payment charge will be applied to your account.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties please contact us. We can look into payment program options for you.

Bill Payment

We offer many different ways to pay your bill.

Regulatory Restrictions

Our distribution rates and services are regulated by the Ontario Energy Board, an independent provincial government board. Our current applications, reports and scorecard are available.

Security Deposits

Security deposits are collected to secure payment of future charges. Residential customers with a good payment history and non-residential customers who meet security deposit waiver conditions may be exempt. More detailed information is available on security deposit requirements for residential and business customers.

Overhead Clearance

All power lines are dangerous and could seriously injure anyone who gets too close. To ensure your safety, always keep a safe distance from power lines. This safe distance also applies to tools, recreational toys such as kites and aerial drones, trees and other objects. Restricted zones and other regulations for buildings and structures are in place to keep you safe.

Conditions of Service “Overhead Safety Clearances”, Section 3.0.15.

Cable Locates

Are you are planning to install fence posts, to plant a tree, or to excavate for a pool, deck or a new addition? At least five business days before you plan to dig, please book a free cable locate by calling Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 or by completing an online request.

Conditions of Service “Contact Information”, Section 1.5.

Access to Equipment

You may see our employees and contractors working in your neighbourhood or on your property from time to time. Our employees and contractors may need access to Hydro Ottawa equipment for inspection, testing or maintenance. They should be given safe, unhindered and secure access to this equipment. If a Hydro Ottawa employee identifies an obstruction, we will notify you.

Conditions of Service “Hydro Ottawa Access to Equipment”, Section 3.0.4.

Landscaping

Landscaping can make your home a pleasant place to live and it can help conserve energy. Preparing a plan for your landscaping project is important. Your plan should identify all of the electrical equipment on your property and allow safe access to our equipment. Be proactive and contact Hydro Ottawa before finalizing your plan. We will notify you if we identify an obstruction.

Conditions of Service “Hydro Ottawa Access to Equipment”, Section 3.0.4.

Tree Trimming

When trees are too close to power lines, they can compromise public safety and the uninterrupted supply of electricity. Keeping a close eye on tree and vegetation growth is everyone’s responsibility. Find out more about our tree trimming program.

Conditions of Service “Vegetation Management”, Section 3.0.6.

Planned Outages

We may occasionally need to interrupt your electricity service to repair, maintain or upgrade equipment. While we aim to provide you with advance notice of any power interruptions, there may be some exceptions such as emergency situations. Information on our significant planned work projects and their anticipated impact on power supply is available.

Conditions of Service “Conveyance of Electricity”, Section 2.3.

Cable Locates

Are you are planning to install fence posts, to plant a tree, or to excavate for a pool, deck or a new addition? At least five business days before you plan to dig, please book a free cable locate by calling Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 or by completing an online request.

Conditions of Service “Contact Information”, Section 1.5.

Street Lighting

Street lighting inquiries should be directed to the City of Ottawa. They can be reached online at Ottawa.ca or by calling Service Ottawa at 311.

Conditions of Service “Contact Information”, Section 1.5.

Power Interruptions and Surges

From time to time, events beyond our control can cause power interruptions or voltage irregularities. Therefore, we cannot guarantee a continuous or constant supply of power and are not liable for any damages caused by a lack of power, a power outage or surge. As a precaution, we suggest that you use voltage protection devices to protect your equipment.

Conditions of Service “Conveyance of Electricity”, Section 2.3 and “Indemnity and Liability”, Section 2.3.1.1.

Planned Outages

We may occasionally need to interrupt your electricity service to repair, maintain or upgrade equipment. While we aim to provide you with advance notice of any power interruptions, there may be some exceptions such as emergency situations. Information on our significant planned work projects and their anticipated impact on power supply is available.

Conditions of Service “Conveyance of Electricity”, Section 2.3.

Critical Care

If you require an uninterrupted source of power for medical equipment, please ensure you have an alternate source of power in case of a power outage.

Conditions of Service “Critical Care Customer Responsibility”, Section 2.3.2.10.

Report an Outage

To report a power outage and for information on current outages, please call our 24/7 outage line at 613-738-0188. Our online map also lists current outages.

If you spot a downed wire, please stay back (at least 33 feet or 10 metres) and call 911. 

Conditions of Service “Contact Information”, Section 1.5.

Stray Voltage

If you suspect high levels of stray voltage on farms, you may request an investigation.

Conditions of Service “Farm Stray Voltage”, Section 2.3.2.2.

Equipment Safety

Equipment such as satellite dishes, security devices, fencing and signage should not be attached to our structures without prior written approval from Hydro Ottawa. Contact our Service Desk to submit this request. If a Hydro Ottawa employee identifies an obstruction, we will notify you.

Conditions of Service “Public Access to Equipment”, Section 3.0.3.

Feed-In-Tariff

We offer a Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program for renewable generation projects greater than 10 kilowatts.

microFIT

We offer a micro Feed-In-Tariff (microFIT) program for customers who are interested in installing renewable electricity generation projects that are 10 kilowatts or less in size.

Contracts

All primary service customers and developers are required to sign an Installation and Service Agreement when they apply to connect a project to Hydro Ottawa's electricity grid. Once the agreement is signed and the Electrical Safety Authority has approved the project, we will connect your project to our grid. Some services may be requested directly online.

Conditions of Service “Contracts”, Section 2.1.6.

Voltage Guidelines

We maintain the service voltage at your supply point to comply with the quality guidelines of the Canadian Standards Association's Standard (CAN3-C235) for these projects. When voltages are outside the acceptable limits, we may take steps to improve or correct these issues.

Conditions of Service “Voltage Guidelines”, Section 2.3.5.

Embedded Generation

Hydro Ottawa will connect Embedded Generators or Energy Resource Facilities where it is technically possible. The technical requirements for embedded Generation or Energy Resource Facilities are set out in our Generation Technical Guideline (ref: ECG0006) and Revenue Metering Specification (ref: GCS0008).

Conditions of Service “Embedded Generation”, Section 3.5.

Generation Design Specifications

To help the design and construction process go as efficiently and problem-free as possible, we provide standard construction drawings free of charge to developers, contractors and consultants.

Renovating

We can help with a renovation guide that includes an electricity check list, tips for hiring a contractor and frequently asked questions.

Residential Design Specifications

To help the design and construction process go as efficiently and problem-free as possible, we provide standard construction drawings free of charge to developers, contractors and consultants.

Commercial Design Specifications

To help the design and construction process go as efficiently and problem-free as possible, we provide standard construction drawings free of charge to developers, contractors and consultants.

Customer Care

Our Customer Care agents are available online, by email at custserv@hydroottawa.com or by phone at 613-738-6400 from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays).

Service Desk

Customers, developers or contractors may contact our Service Desk agents from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays). Please call 613-738-6400.

Report an Outage

Power out? To report a power outage, please call 613-738-0188, anytime.

Social Media

We use a variety of social media platforms to keep the public informed and up-to-date including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

High Voltage Service Requests

Our Operations Planning Department is available from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays). Please call 613-738-6400 or email operationsplanning@hydroottawa.com for assistance.

Vault Maintenance Requests

Please call 613-738-5499, ext. 7185 or email vaultmaintenance2@hydroottawa.com.

Metering Requests

Please call 613-738-6416.

Conservation Business Programs

Please call 613-738-5474 or email businessinfo@hydroottawa.com. You can also find out more about Hydro Ottawa's conservation programs for both residential and business customers online.

How many services can I have to my property?

For both primary and secondary services, Hydro Ottawa will designate one supply point with a single supply voltage per property. This could be an underground cable chamber, pole, or pad-mounted device. This supply point could also be located on an adjacent property for which Hydro Ottawa has land rights. Where Hydro Ottawa owns and controls the on-property outdoor primary distribution system, Hydro Ottawa may, at its discretion, provide multiple supply points to the property. Where a property is electrically connected to an adjacent property by powerlines, Hydro Ottawa will not provide another supply point for the adjacent property unless the initial electrical connection is removed. In all cases the final supply point is the sole and exclusive decision of Hydro Ottawa.

Conditions of Service Section 2.1.1

What is the electrical and civil demarcation point between Hydro Ottawa and my service?

If you are a residential customer, refer to Conditions of Service Section 3.1.1.

If you are a commercial customer with a secondary voltage supply, refer to Conditions of Service Section 3.2.1.

If you are a commercial customer with a primary voltage supply, refer to Conditions of Service Section 3.3.1.

What are Hydro Ottawa’s standard voltage offerings?

Depending on the type of distribution system equipment in place, the preferred secondary voltage may include:

  • 120/240 V, 1-phase, 3-wire,
  • 120/208 V, 3-phase, 4-wire, grounded wye connected, or
  • 347/600 V, 3-phase, 4-wire, grounded wye connected.

The following primary services may be made available:

  • 4,160/2,400 V grounded wye connected; or
  • 8,320/4,800 V grounded wye connected; or
  • 13,200/7,600 V (transformer rating at 12,800/7400 V) grounded wye or delta connected depending on location; or
  • 27,600/16,000 V grounded wye connected; or
  • 44,000 V delta connected.

If a primary service is installed, the primary service connection must meet the standards found in Appendix F.

Conditions of Service Section 2.3.4

When do I need to bring my current electrical service up to standard?

If any customer service equipment work is undertaken around the electrical ownership demarcation point and requires an Electrical Safety Authority permit, non-standard service equipment configurations must meet Hydro Ottawa’s current technical servicing standards.

Conditions of Service Appendix G Section G-0, note 13

What is Hydro Ottawa’s property reinstatement policy when working in the road allowance or on Hydro Ottawa easements?

If any repair of the powerlines on your property is required, Hydro Ottawa will reinstate outdoor surfaces with sand, gravel, and/or soil. It is your responsibility to repair/replace vegetation (e.g., shrubs, trees, lawn, gardens), hard surfaces, structures (e.g., decks, fences, patios, sheds, pools, play structures), foundations and buried, shallow utility services such as telephone, cablevision or watering systems disrupted by the repair.

Conditions of Service Section 3.0.8

How close can I build to an overhead powerline? 

The construction of permanent structures within the “restricted zone” surrounding overhead powerlines is prohibited. This zone is defined by Hydro Ottawa’s clearance standard (see OLS0002). The “restricted zone” consists of a five metre (16 feet) radial distance from overhead medium voltage powerlines, and a two-metre (6.5 feet) distance from a vertical line drawn from the powerlines to ground level along the length of the pole line. This standard complies with the requirements of the Ministry of Labour’s Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. These requirements prohibit any work activity within 3 meters (10 feet) plus conductor swing (the side-to-side, up-down conductor movement) of primary voltage powerlines with a final clearance of five metres for construction and future maintenance of the building.

Conditions of Service Section 3.0.15

What is the difference between a residential & commercial service?

Residential services are typically a 120/240V, 1-phase, 3-wire, up to a maximum of 400A, where available and may be subject to additional restrictions. For residential services requiring a larger supply than previously mentioned and for 3-phase services you should refer to our Conditions of Service.

Commercial services (or General Services) include small apartment buildings, dense condominium arrangements, small commercial buildings, agricultural properties, billboards, and industrial and institutional developments supplied from the public road allowance or a Hydro Ottawa easement.

Conditions of Service Section 3.2 (General Services, secondary voltage supply) and Section 3.3 (General Services, primary voltage supply).

What is the difference between a residential subdivision and a residential infill?

“Infill Service” means any service, rural or urban, which was not part of a pre-planned subdivision or a service that was installed five years or more after the pre-planned subdivision had the primary electrical installation “substantially completed.”

“Residential Underground Subdivision” means a residential area with three or more homes supplied from an on-grade pad-mounted transformer(s), transformer sidewalk vault, or secondary pedestal(s) by underground secondary cables.

Conditions of Service Section 4 – glossary of terms

Will I be required to pay a security deposit?  If so, can it be waived?

As a condition for supplying or continuing to supply electrical distribution services, Hydro Ottawa will request security deposits from customers, based on the customer classification and the customer’s billing history. Security deposits are established and managed in accordance with Sections 2.4.6.1 to 2.4.29 of the Distribution System Code (DSC).

Conditions of Service Section 2.4.3

Non-residential customers opening an account may qualify for a deposit waiver based on criteria outlined in Conditions of Service Section 2.4.3.2.

Can the pole line on my street be buried underground?

Hydro Ottawa’s standard construction for its electrical distribution system on/or crossing municipal arterials, major collectors, highways, rivers, railways, open fields, rural areas, flood plains and business parks, excluding greenfield residential, is overhead distribution.

All costs associated with the relocation, or conversion from overhead to underground are the responsibility of the requestor unless an existing agreement is in place. If the relocation of Hydro Ottawa’s distribution system is on lands not owned by the requestor, it is the responsibility of the requestor to complete negotiations with the landowner to the satisfaction of, and at no cost to Hydro Ottawa.

Conditions of Service section 2.1.4

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