Ontario Energy Board wants to hear from you about Hydro One
Hydro One is hosting a community meeting on Wednesday at the Parkside Centre.
CTV Northern Ontario
Published Monday, June 26, 2017 12:47PM EDT
The Ontario Energy Board is holding a series of community meetings across the province to give consumers the chance to participate in the OEB’s review of Hydro One’s recent application to increase its electricity distribution rates.
Nine OEB community meetings have been scheduled, starting in June, to enable Hydro One customers to learn more and ask questions about the utility’s distribution rate application.
The meetings are part of the OEB’s commitment to engage, empower and protect consumers. For every major electricity rate application it receives, the OEB holds one or more community meetings for consumers served by the utility. This makes it easier for all consumers to learn more about why their utility is asking for a change in rates to cover the costs of serving customers. Consumers can also find out more about how they can have a say in the review process, before, during and after the meeting.
The Registrar of the OEB explains that all Ontario utilities, including Hydro One, must apply to the OEB if they want to change their distribution rates. These are the rates that utilities charge for delivering electricity to homes and businesses. These are different from the electricity prices that cover the cost of the electricity that you use, which appears on the “electricity” line of your bill.
“The OEB helps control costs for all consumers,” says Kristi Sebalj, “by reviewing and testing the requested rate change through an open, robust and inclusive rate review process. We work hard to keep rates as low as possible while making sure utilities have what they need to keep the lights on.”
The Fair Hydro Act, 2017 is expected to reduce electricity bills for Hydro One customers in different ways starting this summer. The amounts requested by Hydro One in its application to the OEB relate to its distribution business and do not reflect any credits or other changes resulting from the Fair Hydro Act, 2017. Any amounts approved by the OEB will not impact the distribution line of the bill of most Hydro One customers, after the Fair Hydro Act credits and changes are applied.
The OEB still has an important role to play in ensuring that Hydro One provides an appropriate level of service quality to their customers at a reasonable cost, and that they are doing everything possible to be more efficient and keep improving.
The eighth of nine community meetings on the Hydro One application will take place in Sudbury on Wednesday, June 28 at the Parkside Centre, 140 Durham Street. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and presentations will begin at 6:30 p.m. Consumers are invited to make brief presentations and participate in the question-and-answer period. Consumers wishing to make a presentation are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org call 1-877-632-2727 (toll-free). Meetings are scheduled to end at 8:30 p.m.
As of June 27th, OEB community meetings will have taken place in Leamington, Napanee, Rockland, Owen Sound, Ancaster, Stouffville and Dryden. In addition to Sudbury, another meeting will also be held in Muskoka in July. The dates, locations and times of these meetings are posted on the OEB website at www.oeb.ca/participate/community-meetings.
“We encourage all Hydro One customers to come to the meetings and learn more about the application,” says Sebalj. “The OEB will review it to make sure Hydro One’s costs are justified and appropriate. It is up to the company to prove to the OEB why it needs a rate increase to cover these costs. Utilities rarely get all they ask for.”
The OEB has just begun reviewing Hydro One’s rate application. The review will take about a year and provides opportunities for consumers, stakeholders and other interested parties to participate.
Since 2009, the OEB has reviewed more than 130 major rate applications and reduced requested rate increases by an average of about 40 per cent. Overall, the OEB has kept the annual growth in average distribution rates close to the rate of inflation during the same period.
As Ontario’s independent regulator of the energy sector, the OEB makes decisions that serve the public interest. Its goal is to contribute to a sustainable, reliable and efficient energy sector and to help consumers get value from their electricity and natural gas services. This includes:
· Making the OEB’s processes more understandable for consumers and actively seeking consumer input to improve the OEB’s processes and achieve better results
· Setting rules for energy companies and enforcing them
· Working with consumers to facilitate the resolution of complaints they may have about their energy company
· Setting a number of different kinds of rates, including the rates utilities charge to deliver electricity and natural gas to their customers’ homes and businesses.
Since 2016, the OEB has held 20 community meetings. Feedback from these meetings helps inform the OEB’s final rate decisions.
For more information, consumers can call 1-855-831-8151 (toll-free) or visit the OEB’s website at www.oeb.ca, where you can also review the Hydro One Rate application before the meeting.