Tornadoes. Ice storms. Floods. And now, a pandemic. If there’s one thing we are familiar with at Hydro Ottawa, its crises. And although the COVID-19 outbreak is not one directly linked to the energy sector, it is a crisis impacting our entire community.
This is an unprecedented situation with many unknowns. But one thing Ottawa residents shouldn’t have to worry about is a safe and reliable supply of electricity. This remains our primary goal, and, as our President and CEO mentioned in a letter to customers, we remain vigilant and focused on achieving this goal.
We also feel it is vital that we keep you as informed and supported as possible.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve heard from many concerned customers, and have decided to provide direct answers to some of the most common questions you may have about your energy supply or Hydro Ottawa during this pandemic.
1. What if my power goes out?
Hydro Ottawa is dedicated to providing safe and reliable electricity to all customers. Please note that large scale non-essential work has been postponed until further notice, with the exception of emergency jobs, and those deemed essential to providing a reliable supply of power to our customers. However, due to events beyond our control like extreme weather, we can’t guarantee an uninterrupted supply of power all of the time. If the power goes out, please let us know by calling our dedicated outage line at (613) 738-0188 or online through MyAccount. Our Outage Map remains available to customers wanting to check on the status of an outage, and our social media channels will be updated regularly to keep you informed.
2. Are your crews still out working in the community?
Some work will continue in our community should they be designated as essential as per the provincial government’s guidelines. For secondary services, such as new services, upgrades and necessary repairs, some restrictions may apply. In an effort to keep our crews safe and healthy, large planned work projects not deemed essential will be postponed until further notice. Emergency jobs and those deemed essential to providing a reliable supply of power will continue to be performed. Please visit our Planned Work web page for more information.
3. Will there be any changes to electricity rates to help me pay my bill?
Earlier this week, the provincial government announced temporary relief to support Ontario electricity customers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
As of March 24 and until May 7, 2020, customers who are charged Time-of Use electricity rates will now pay the lowest rate or off-peak rate (10.1 cents/kWh), 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the 45-day period.
According to the government, the estimated impact on the average monthly residential bill will be $16.13 or, $24.20 over the 45-day period, but will depend on a customer’s total consumption and consumption behaviours.
For more information, please refer to the Ontario Energy Board electricity rates page.
4. I got a call that I will be disconnected – is this accurate?
Scams targeting our customers, by either threatening disconnection or demanding payment (or both), are becoming more and more prevalent, and these scammers often use times of crisis and distraction to reach those most vulnerable. We have already heard of scam activity targeting Hydro Ottawa customers during the COVID-19 outbreak, and it’s possible this activity could continue or increase. We encourage everyone to stay vigilant and know that we have extended the provincial disconnection ban until the end of July to all customers. We will not be disconnecting power for non-payment during this difficult time. Learn more about how to spot a scam by watching this video or by visiting the Fraud Awareness section of our website
5. What programs are available to help pay my bills?
Everyone is facing harder times right now – and those hardships may last for the foreseeable future. We have updated the COVID-19-dedicated page on our website to outline the new measures we are taking to support customers, including extending the provincial disconnection ban to all customers. We’ve also included a list of other financial assistance programs, including emergency relief, available to our customers.
6. How can we conserve electricity while self-isolating or social distancing?
Many people want to conserve energy, whether to reduce their electricity costs or to lower their carbon footprint. However, having the entire family home all day, every day, might mean using more electricity than what would be the average for your household. If you’re looking to reduce your energy consumption at home over the coming weeks, we invite you to check out our conservation page for a list of 65 Ways to Manage Energy Use Remember, even small changes add up over time.
If we missed something or if your question was not answered in the list above, you can contact us by phone or email using our Contact Us form. Please note that we are experiencing a higher than usual volume of inquiries, so wait times may be longer.
Stay healthy, and as always, stay safe!