How To Reduce Your Hydro By $407 A Year
In Ontario, the rising costs of hydro is an issue of contention, outrage and frustration. As we hear about more and more of our neighbors having their electricity disconnected we are left wondering:
“Will I be next?”
Everyone keeps complaining about the outrageous hydro rates, especially in the rural regions. Although not in complete agreement with the handling of our Hydro costs by our current Premier, I would like to make you aware of several cost cutting measures that are available to you.
These are measures that will EMPOWER you towards a HOPE and a FUTURE in grabbing a hold of your hydro debts.
Debt Retirement Charge Eliminated
One reduction automatically occurred on January 1, 2016 with Residential hydro users no longer being charged the Debt Retirement Charge. For the average homeowner, you immediately saw your hydro costs lowered by $5-$15 a month plus the HST that would have applied to that.
What was this Debt Retirement Charge? It was the charge on your hydro bill to pay down the debt of the former, now bankrupt, Ontario Hydro. There were outstanding debts of 38.1 billion dollars. We, the citizens of Ontario, were made to pay at least 19.4 billion of it through the Debt Retirement Charge.
Ontario Hydro, on April 1, 1999 was restructured into what is now known as Hydro One.
So as of January 1, 2016, as a Residential customer, you were no longer being charged this fee. Look on your hydro bills to see what the savings for you were in 2016. On our Veridian account it showed us that we saved $34.64 plus the HST off our 2016 bill.
TOTAL SAVINGS $39.14 for us in 2016.
Commercial hydro customers are set to no longer be charged this fee by April 1, 2018. So nobody will be charged this fee after this time. You can learn more about the Debt Retirement Charge here.
Provincial Portion of the HST
Effective January 1, 2017, the provincial tax portion of the HST, which is 8%, will no longer be charged on your hydro bills. This is in response to the increasing pressure on the Ontario Provincial Government to do something about the rising costs.
To give you a perspective of the potential savings you will realize, Barry and I paid $64.22 in provincial taxes on our hydro bill for 2016, so we are looking to realize that much in cost reduction for 2017.
PROJECTED 2017 SAVINGS $64.22 for Barry and I.
The one step that we did to reduce our hydro by $407 a year is the following:
Ontario Electricity Support Plan (OESP)
On January 1, 2016, the NEW Ontario Electricity Support Plan came into effect. It replaces the Clean Energy Benefit which was discontinued on December 31, 2015. The Clean Energy Benefit, available from 2010 to 2015 was a 10% rebate on your hydro bills. You received this credit up to 3,000 kWh/month. Although it helped Barry and I realize an average of $5/month savings, it was just a drop in the bucket.
The new Ontario Electricity Support Plan is designed to help those who are on lower incomes with a bigger reduction.
To receive the Ontario Electricity Support Plan you have to actively apply for it. You may or may not be eligible.
Eligibility for this program is determined by these 2 main factors:
- Income level — under $28,000 to a maximum of $52,000 combined family income
- number of people residing in the home
If you qualify past these first 2 criteria, you may be eligible to receive additional reductions if:
- your home is primarily heated with electricity
- the use of medical devices requiring hydro usage such as oxygen machines or more
- you are First Nations or Metis
We will look at the various income levels to see if you might qualify.
$28,000 Or Less Combined Family Income
If your family combined income is $28,000 or less and there are any number of people in your home from one, two, or even more then you automatically qualify. Based on the number of people living in your home you could have your monthly bill reduced by $30 minimum. However, you must actively apply to receive this credit.
If you have 7 people living in your home, you could receive a $50 reduction. And if you are heating with electric baseboards, you will receive an even higher reduction.
For Barry and I, having a total combined income for 2015 of $17,500, we qualified. We receive $30 off of our hydro bill every month. As we primarily heat with an oil furnace we did not qualify for any additional credits. When you calculate the HST savings on that $30 x 12 months, we save $407. That helped to bring our 2016 total hydro bill down to $914. Without those savings, we would have been paying $1,312.
2016 Hydro Bill–Barry and Theresa
Total Payable BEFORE discount $1,312
Actual Paid AFTER discount $ 914
TOTAL OESP SAVINGS $ 407
2016 Hydro Bill–Family of 5 with Electric Heat
This family receives a $55/month reduction, plus the HST, equaling a monthly savings of $62.15. Over the entire year, this family of 5 reduced their hydro bill by $746.
Income Between $28,001 To $39,000
Now if you are making between this next income level, your family will qualify only if there are 3 people or more living in your home. Singles and Couples no longer qualify once their combined total income is over $28,001 a year.
Total Family Yearly Income Of $39,001 To $48,000
You will only qualify at this income level if there are 5 people or more in your home. At this level the $30 discount applies for 5 people, $34 for 6, and $38 for 7 people. Remember, additional discounts are added if your home is primarily heated with hydro. Medical devices requiring hydro also qualify for greater discounts.
The Final Income Level That Qualifies Is $48,001 To $52,000
This discount level will only apply if there are 7 people or more in your home.
First Nations And Metis
As a member of the First Nations or Metis, you may also qualify at different income levels and for higher amounts. Go here to apply.
Unsure If You Qualify?
If you are still unsure whether you qualify or not, just go to this quick questionnaire to find out.
Still Have Questions?
If you are still wondering if this program is for you and will help EMPOWER you in bringing down your hydro bills, go to this FAQ website.
After you have submitted your application and signed consent forms you will be notified within 6-8 weeks of the qualification results. It took a couple of months from the time of application to having the discount show up on our hydro bills. After you have been accepted, you will not have to reapply for 2 years.
If You Qualify–You Are Also Automatically Qualified For These Too:
Once you are qualified for the Ontario Electricity Support Plan (OESP), then you are automatically qualified for the:
- Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)
- Special rules such as waiving security deposits
This is a comfort to know that if you do run into some dire hydro bill situations, that you can access these additional support systems.
Ontario Energy Board Freezes Prices
One final reprieve is the price freeze until at least May, 2017 by the Ontario Energy Board. At that time the Ontario Energy Board will re-evaluate whether a price increase is necessary.
In 2016, the Ontario Energy Board did approve 2 price increases, one in January, and the other in May. Due to public outcry and outrage, they have seen fit to put a hold on price increases. Let’s hope that this trend continues for the entire 2017 year.
Currently our hydro prices are:
- $0.087/kWh off-peak usage
- $0.132/kWh mid-peak usage
- $0.18/kWh full-peak usage
Empower Yourself And Grab This Discount If Eligible
If you are eligible to access this discount, we highly recommend that you do. It will EMPOWER you in one simple effortless step to reduce your hydro costs.
Sure, you can change your light bulbs, turn the thermostat down and more. However, this is the single most easiest way to reduce your hydro costs without imposing conditions or depriving yourself of life comforts. Even with the 2 price increases in 2016, Barry and I paid less for our total annual hydro than we even paid for 2015. This works!
So, in 2017, are your ready to apply here and claim these savings for yourself?
Be EMPOWERED towards a HOPE and a FUTURE today.