COVID-19

COVID-19

Helping customers, protecting our employees and the public

Recognizing the uncertainty associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic, Hydro Ottawa is taking measures to help customers, protect the health and safety of our employees and the residents of the City of Ottawa and the village of Casselman while ensuring to provide reliable electricity services.

Helping customers manage electricity costs

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, Hydro Ottawa has been working closely with the Ontario Energy Board and Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, to address customer concerns about managing electricity costs.

A number of programs and options are available to customers experiencing difficulty with paying their electricity bills.

Electricity rates

Effective November 1, 2020 electricity rates have changed for Regulated Price Plan (RPP) customers. The majority of residential and small business customers are on the RPP. These rates are set by the Ontario Energy Board and will remain in effect until April 30, 2021.

Since October 13, 2020, existing and new customers can now choose between two rate structures as set by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB): time-of-use and tiered rates.

A rate structure selection form, as well as additional information and tools to help customers make the decision that meets their energy needs is available on Hydro Ottawa’s website and MyAccount customer portal.

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has also released a number of tools to help consumers, including an energy bill calculator to compare what your electricity bill might look like if you switched from TOU to tiered pricing, and a dedicated customer choice webpage available at oeb.ca/choice.

There is no deadline to make a decision and complete the form. Customers who do not wish to make a choice at this time will continue to be billed under time-of-use (TOU) as the default rate plan.

Time-of-use rates

Customers billed under the time-of-use (TOU) rate plan pay for electricity based on the time of the day and day of the week that they consume electricity. Rates are highest during on-peak periods, lower during mid-peak periods and lowest during off-peak periods. Starting November 1, 2020, winter TOU rates (November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021) will be as follows: 10.5 cents per kWh during off-peak, 15 cents per kWh during mid-peak, and 21.7 cents per kWh during on-peak.

Tiered rates

Customers under a tiered rate plan pay a lower rate for the electricity they consume up to an allowable kWh threshold per month. Once customers exceed that monthly kWh threshold, a higher rate is charged per kWh. Starting November 1, 2020, winter tiered rates (November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021) for residential customers will be as follows: 12.6 cents per kWh for consumption up to 1,000 kWh/month and 14.6 cents per kWh for consumption above 1,000 kWh. Winter tiered rates for small business customers will be as follows: 12.6 cents per kWh for consumption up to 750 kWh/month and 14.6 cents per kWh for consumption above 750 kWh.

Want to learn more about the customer choice initiative?

Please visit our Electricity Rate Selection page and check our Frequently Asked Questions. If you don't see your question, you can reach us online or by phone at 613-738-6400.

For more information, you can also visit the Ontario Energy Board’s customer choice initiative dedicated web page at oeb.ca/choice.

Deferral of Global Adjustment charges

To provide companies with temporary immediate relief on their electricity bills, the Ontario government has implemented an Emergency Order (EO) on Friday, May 1, 2020 and is deferring a portion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for industrial and commercial electricity consumers that do not participate in the Regulated Price Plan (RPP), starting from April 2020.

All rates related to the Global Adjustment charges are posted on the Independent Electricity System Operator’s website.

More information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) on the GA Emergency Order are available here.

Electricity service disconnection ban for residential customers

Starting November 15, 2020, the provincial government’s ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for residential customers will be in place until April 30, 2021.

The provincial winter disconnection ban that was to end on April 30, 2020, was extended by an additional three months (to July 31, 2020) for all residential customers.

The Ontario government in March 2020 added, small businesses to the extended disconnection ban period (to July 31, 2020) – we extended the ban to further include all of Hydro Ottawa’s commercial customers.

We realize that some of our customers may be experiencing financial uncertainty during these difficult times, and we want you to know that there are options available to help you.

Hydro Ottawa offers flexible payment arrangements, as well as financial assistance  programs you may qualify for.

Contact us online at hydroottawa.com/contact or by phone at 613 738-6400, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (excluding statutory holidays.)

Scams during the COVID-19 emergency

Hydro Ottawa is aware of increasing efforts by fraudsters attempting to take advantage of consumer uncertainty during this COVID-19 emergency.

If you receive a message, text or phone call from someone posing as a Hydro Ottawa representative and threatening to disconnect your power, do not respond to it. We encourage everyone to stay vigilant.

Customers are reminded of the following tips to stay safe:

  • Never make a payment for a charge that isn’t listed on your most recent bill
  • Ignore text messages or emails with suspicious links promising refunds
  • Don’t call the number provided to you. Instead, call Hydro Ottawa directly at 613-738-6400 to check the status of your account
  • Do not provide any personal information or details about your account
  • If you feel threatened in any way, contact 911 or the Ottawa Police Service at 613-236-1222 ext. 5433
  • Visit Hydro Ottawa’s Fraud Awareness page for more information

Electricity bill payment options

Customers may request flexible payment plans in order to allow more time to pay outstanding balances on their account.

An Equal Monthly Payment Plan (EMPP) allows customers to spread out their annual electricity costs over 12 equal monthly payments. This plan is available to qualifying residential and small business customers.

Arrears Payment Agreements (APA) are available. APAs allow customers more time to pay outstanding balances in order to avoid disconnection, and are interest-free.

Contact us to discuss payment options, online at hydroottawa.com/contact or by phone at 613 738-6400.

Monday to Friday,  8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (excluding statutory holidays.)

We encourage you to use our online services that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by visiting hydroottawa.com/MyAccount.

Note: We are experiencing an increased amount of customer inquiries. Therefore you may have a longer wait time than usual on our telephone lines.

Financial assistance

A number of financial assistance programs are available to qualifying customers.

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Programs

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for residential customers (CEAP)

The Government of Ontario is providing support for residential customers who have fallen behind on their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The objective of this program - known as the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) is to help residential customers catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.

Through CEAP you may be eligible to receive a one-time credit on your electricity bill.

CEAP funding is limited. Applying for the one-time credit does not guarantee that CEAP support will be provided. Once the first-come, first-served provincial program funds are depleted, the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program will close.

Visit hydroottawa.com/ceap to learn more about the program details, eligibility requirements and the different ways to submit your application form.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) on the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) for residential customers are also available here.

Important Notice: On September 30, 2020, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) changed the eligibility criteria to make CEAP for residential customers more easily accessible.

Customers, who have already submitted an application but did not qualify, will be re-evaluated by Hydro Ottawa using the new eligibility criteria. 

There is no need to submit another application.
 

The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB)

The Government of Ontario is providing support for small business and registered charity customers that have fallen behind in their bill payments as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.

Through the provincial program - known as the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) you may be eligible to receive a one-time credit on your electricity bill.

CEAP-SB funding is limited. Applying for the on bill credit does not guarantee that support will be provided. Once the first-come, first-served provincial program funds are depleted, the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business will close.

Visit hydroottawa.com/ceap-sb to learn more about the program details, eligibility requirements and the different ways to submit your application form.

Important Notice: On September 30, 2020, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) changed the eligibility criteria to make CEAP-SB more easily accessible to small businesses.

Customers, who have already submitted an application but did not qualify, will be re-evaluated by Hydro Ottawa using the new eligibility criteria. 

There is no need to submit another application.

If you need help to complete the application form, please contact us by telephone at 613 738-6400. Our Customer Service representatives are available to assist you Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (excluding statutory holidays.)

You can also reach us at [email protected]

For more information on CEAP-SB, you can also visit the Ontario Energy Board’s website at ontarioenergyboard.ca.

Hydro Ottawa respects your privacy. Any personal information collected will be used by Hydro Ottawa in order to provide you with customer service in accordance with the terms of our Privacy Policy.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your Personal Information or this Privacy Policy please address them to: [email protected].

Additional support for small businesses

Ontario's Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebates program

The Ontario government is providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills.

Starting November 16, businesses that were required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures announced on October 9 (modified Stage 2 restrictions) can apply for temporary property tax and energy cost rebates directly to the province through a single, online application portal.

What you’ll need to apply

To apply, you will have to submit proof of costs.

For property tax rebates, this includes your property tax bills (or proof of costs associated with property taxes).

For energy cost rebates, this includes a digital copy of the first energy bill (including electricity, natural gas, propane or other) you received on or after the day Stage 2 restrictions were put in place in your region. You can also submit other energy bills if your business is heated by propane or heating oil.

Note: You must have signing authority for the applicant in order to submit this application.

You will also need to provide:

  • Your contact information (name, telephone number and email address);
  • Your Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Business Number (9 digits); and
  • Your banking information.

How to apply

Fill out an online application to apply for property tax rebates or energy cost rebates.

You will be able to complete a single form to apply for any – or all – of these programs.

To submit your application, visit, ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs

Most businesses can expect to receive their rebate payments within a few weeks of submitting a complete application.

For questions, please contact Transfer Payment Ontario Client Care at:

Tel: 416-325-6691

Toll-free: 1-855-216-3090

TTY: 416-325-3408

Toll-free TTY: 1-800-268-7095
 

Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) provides eligible low-income customers with a one-time payment of up to $500 per household per calendar year ($600 if a customer’s home is heated electrically), which is automatically credited to the customer’s electricity bill.
 

The Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) provides eligible low-income customers with a fixed credit of up to $900 dollars a year on their electricity bills. Customers with electrically heated homes, or that rely on certain medical devices requiring more electricity, are offered a higher level of assistance.

Electricity conservation programs and tips

Conservation programs are available to help customers reduce their energy use. Some of these are special programs for low-income customers.

When you make small energy efficiency changes around the house, you use less electricity. Find energy-saving tips to help manage your home energy use.

The Home Assistance Program

The Home Assistance Program can help you better manage your monthly electricity costs and improve your home comfort.

Our safety measures

Hydro Ottawa has put in place preventive measures to protect the health and safety of our employees and the public. Employees are reminded to practice social distancing and hygiene measures. Whenever possible, employees are working remotely.

Rest assured that our field employees will continue to provide essential services and our power line workers will continue to respond. If they are required to visit any premises, our field employees will follow all safety measures issued by public health authorities.

Furthermore, our crews will not be entering any occupied premise, such as residential homes, Long Term Care facilities, Day Care centres, unless risk has been carefully assessed.

Keeping you informed

As COVID-19 uncertainty increases, Hydro Ottawa wants to help customers stay informed and get the support they need.

Visit these government official websites for more information:

Government of Canada

For more information on the federal government’s COVID-19 response, including the current national numbers, public safety and travel bans, as well as financial and economic support for residents and businesses, visit Canada.ca.

Government of Ontario

For an overview of what the government of Ontario is doing to help and support Ontarians, visit Ontario.ca or Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID19 

City of Ottawa

For more information on the City of Ottawa’s COVID-10 financial support and assistance visit Ottawa.ca.

You can also get the latest information on topics such as COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolation, travel and tips on preventing the spread by visiting Ottawa Public Health.

We continue to monitor the situation closely and will implement new measures as the situation progresses. New developments or updates will be updated on this page, shared as a news release and posted on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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