Ontario's competitive electricity market opened on May 1, 2002, giving all customers the choice to select their electricity provider.
The former Ontario Hydro was broken into five separate, independent companies. One of the companies, Ontario Power Generation, still generates electricity, but now competes against independent producers. Hydro One took over Ontario Hydro's transmission and distribution lines and still delivers power to your home or business.
With the move to competition, utilities have separated their service into two parts:
- Regulated distribution of power, which is still only provided by the utility, and
- Supply of the electric commodity, which is open to competition.
Customers at Hydro One and other local utilities may choose an alternative provider for their supply service, while their electricity will still be delivered by their utility.
For most customers not choosing an alternative provider, customers are placed on the Regulated Price Plan at their utility. This is a default rate that changes every six months with the market. It also has tiered pricing, meaning there is one price for the first 600 kilowatt-hours or so, and a higher price for additional kilowatt-hours (the threshold varies by season and customer class).
Customers using more than 250,000 kilowatt-hours per year are not eligible for the Regulated Price Plan, and receive hourly market prices from the wholesale market, which are volatile.
Choosing an alternative electricity provider allows customers to receive price security and avoid the volatility of the market. When choosing a competitive provider, customers are still served by their same distribution company over the same wires, and still call their utility for power outages.
Natural gas choice for large customers in Ontario began in 1985, with smaller customers receiving a choice in their provider starting in 1992. Originally, choices were limited to a "buy/sell" arrangement under which competitive brokers provided a rebate to gas customers. In 1997, additional reforms made new products possible, allowing gas marketers to offer fixed price security in addition to savings off the utility rate.
Customers can choose a different company to supply them with their gas supply. Customers choosing an alternative gas supplier will still have their gas supply delivered by the local utility, but customers will be buying their gas supply from a new company.
A customer's natural gas bill has been separated into two parts:
- Regulated distribution of gas, which is still only provided by the utility, and
- Supply of the gas commodity, which is open to competition.
Customers can choose to receive their gas supply from one of several competitive gas suppliers. If customers do not shop for an alternative gas supplier, they receive default supply service from their utility. Under default supply service, customers pay a supply charge called 'cost of gas' which can vary as often as quarterly. Customers can avoid wild swings in the gas supply charge by contracting with an alternative gas supplier.
Customers choosing a competitive gas provider can gain price assurance by locking in a fixed rate for one year, or even longer. When you choose an alternative gas provider, your same utility delivers your gas to you, and you still call them for any gas disruption or service outages.
Save for your home or business in minutes!
or call us now at