Ontario is modernizing the electricity system and taking action on climate change. Because electricity costs affect the everyday life of Ontarians, the Province has introduced a number of measures to help manage these costs. The government remains committed to making Ontario’s electricity system clean and reliable while managing overall system costs.
Towards a Low-Carbon Economy
Ontario was the first jurisdiction in North America to eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation. The elimination of coal-fired electricity in Ontario is equivalent to taking up to seven million cars off the road and, along with investments in clean, renewable energy, has allowed the Province to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and become a Canadian leader in clean tech.
The government’s action plan to fight climate change will include initiatives that help Ontarians in their everyday lives. These initiatives will help mitigate the price increases that are anticipated as a result of cap and trade, reward innovative companies and ensure that households and businesses thrive during the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- The government is eliminating the debt retirement charge (DRC) for commercial, industrial and all other electricity users as of April 1, 2018 — nine months earlier than previously estimated. Large industrial consumers using 3,000 megawatt-hours per month could save $21,000 monthly, while a small business using 20,000 kilowatt-hours per month could save $140 monthly.
- Ontario is committed to working with business as the Province introduces cap and trade. The Province will encourage the uptake of lower-carbon technologies by providing timely regulatory review and approval of proposals that could help
- In 2015, the government expanded the Industrial Electricity Incentive program with contracts up to the end of 2024 for 14 industrial companies, helping these large businesses manage their electricity costs and assisting them in creating hundreds of new jobs.
- The government expanded the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI), encouraging more of Ontario’s largest energy users to reduce their electricity use during peak periods, saving them money and lowering overall system costs. Since July 1, 2015, the expanded ICI program has helped more than 280 of Ontario’s largest energy consumers save an average of about 25 per cent on their electricity bills.
- The Industrial Accelerator Program (IAP) has been extended for an additional five-year period from 2015 to 2020. The IAP provides financial incentives to encourage investment in innovative process improvements and equipment retrofits to reduce electricity consumption and help eligible companies become more competitive.
- Eligible large industrial facilities in the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program receive a rebate of two cents per kilowatt hour. In 2015, the government committed to ongoing support for large northern industrials beyond March 2016, with continued investment of up to $120 million annually. The government is undertaking a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the program and options for a sustainable approach.
- Ontario removed the DRC for residential consumers as of January 1, 2016, saving a typical user about $70 a year.
- The Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) provides an ongoing credit directly on the electricity bills of eligible low-income households. Those who are eligible can apply for and receive a monthly credit on their electricity bill of $30 to $50, for a total of $360 to $600 per year. For a family of three earning a total household income of $30,000, they may receive an on-bill credit of $30 per month.
- The OESP also offers a larger credit of $45 to $75 per month, for a total of $540 to $900 a year, to low-income consumers whose homes are electrically heated and those who rely on certain medical devices. Eligible First Nation and Métis households also qualify for the larger credit.
- The government will also take steps, through investments in residential energy efficiency, to ensure that the net impact of cap and trade on electricity cost would actually provide a modest benefit of up to $2 per month, on average, to residential consumers.
- Ontario also offers other programs for households, including the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit and the Northern Ontario Energy Credit.
Powering Up for the Future
The Province remains committed to building a cleaner and more sustainable energy system for all Ontarians while reducing electricity system cost pressures. Since 2003, more than $34 billion has been invested in cleaner energy generation in Ontario, with Hydro One investing about $15 billion in modern transmission and distribution infrastructure. Other initiatives include:
- Pursuing the continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station beyond 2020 up to 2024. By doing this, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) would protect 4,500 jobs across the Durham region, avoid eight million tonnes of GHG emissions, and save Ontario electricity consumers up to $600 million.
- Moving forward with OPG’s refurbishment of the four units at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. The Independent Electricity System Operator has updated its contract with Bruce Power to refurbish six nuclear units, in addition to two already refurbished units at the Bruce nuclear site. Together, this secures over 9,800 megawatts (MW) of affordable, reliable and emission-free power.
- Bringing online over 16,000 MW of new and refurbished capacity, including more than 7,000 MW of wind, solar, water and bioenergy. Ontario is working with the federal government on the connection of remote communities to the electricity grid to reduce the use of diesel fuel in remote First Nation communities. Ontario will continue to explore innovative solutions for supplying electricity, including from on-site renewable energy sources, microgrids and conservation.