Image of a traditional mother father son and daughter family doing kitchen chores and an image of a black woman working on a calculator. In the middle of the two images text reads time-of-use residential and small business customers can now switch to Tiered prices.

Choosing your electricity price plan

If you are a residential or small business customer that pays Time-of-Use (TOU) electricity prices, starting October 13, 2020, you can choose to switch to Tiered prices for billing periods that begin as early as November 1, 2020.

To notify Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro of your decision to switch from TOU to Tiered prices, please complete and submit our online form or download a PDF version to complete and submit. 

If you want to continue paying TOU prices, you do not need to do anything.

Below are some tips to help you make your choice:

How is electricity use billed?

Time-of-use rates

Tiered rates

Things to think about before you switch

Use the Ontario Energy Board's Bill Calculator

Rules for Customer Choice

How is electricity use billed?

Electricity use is billed in kilowatt hours (kWh), which is how much electricity you use per hour. For example, if you use a 1,000 watt microwave for one hour, you used 1,000 watt-hours – or one kWh.

Time-of-use and Tiered electricity rates are typically set twice each year by the Ontario Energy Board, on May 1 and November 1. These charges are collected by Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and paid directly to electricity suppliers. Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro does not keep any of these charges.

Read on to learn more about the different pricing structures to help guide your choice.

Time-of-use Rates

With TOU prices, the price depends on when you use electricity. You can help manage your electricity costs by shifting your usage to lower price periods when possible.

There are three TOU periods:

  • Off-peak: When demand for electricity is lowest. Ontario households use most of their electricity – nearly two thirds of it – during off-peak hours. 
  • Mid-peak: When demand for electricity is moderate. These periods are during the daytime, but not the busiest times of day. 
  • On-peak: When demand for electricity is generally higher. These are the busier times of day - generally when people are cooking, starting up their computers and running heaters or air conditioners.

Clocks showing the different time-of-use periods. 

People use electricity differently depending on the season, so the TOU price periods are different in the winter than they are in the summer.

Time-of-use prices and schedule for electricity consumed between November 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021:

Time-of-Use Periods - Winter

Period

Time

Cost

Off-peak

Weekdays 7 pm to 7 am

Weekends & Holidays - all Day

10.5 ȼkWh

Mid-peak

Weekdays 11 am to 5 pm 

15.0 ȼ/kWh

On-peak

Weekdays 7 am to 11 am and 5 pm to 7 pm

21.7 ȼ/kWh 

For more information about time-of-use pricing, visit the Ontario Energy Board website

Tiered Rates

With Tiered prices, you can use a certain amount of electricity each month at a lower price. Once that limit (called a threshold) is exceeded, a higher price applies. For residential customers, the threshold normally changes with the season to reflect changing usage patterns – for example, there are fewer hours of daylight in the winter and some customers use electric heating.

In the winter period (November 1 – April 30), the Tier threshold for residential customers is 1,000 kWh so that households can use more power at the lower price. In the summer period (May 1 – October 31), the Tier threshold for residential customers is 600 kWh.

For small business customers, the Tier threshold is 750 kWh all year round.

Tiered prices give you the flexibility to use electricity at any time of day at the same price, although that price will change if you exceed the threshold during the month.

Prices for customers paying Tiered Prices effective November 1, 2020:
First 1,000 kWh/month 12.6 ȼ/kWh
For electricity used above 1,000 kWh/month 14.6 ȼ/kWh

For more information about Tiered Regulated Price Plan rates, please visit the Ontario Energy Board website. 

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Considering a Switch?

Are you thinking about opting out of TOU prices in favour of Tiered prices? Here are a few things to consider. Make sure you have some of your recent electricity bills handy as you go through the information below. Keep in mind the effect of COVID-19 on your electricity use (for instance, you may be working from home when you normally wouldn’t be). Most of the information you will need is on the Electricity line of your bill. 

Your price plan

Do you pay TOU or Tiered prices for your electricity? If you’re unsure, take a look at the Electricity line of your bill. Most residential and small business customers in Ontario pay TOU prices.

Your usage

How much electricity do you use in a month? If you’re unsure, take a look at the Electricity line on your bill. You might also want to look at the historical usage graph on your bill, which shows your average daily usage over the past 12-month period.

Your consumption patterns

When you use electricity can be another factor in your choice. Historically, the typical residential customer who paid TOU prices has used nearly two thirds of their power at off-peak times – the time when the lowest TOU price applies. The other third of their power used was typically split equally between on- and mid-peak times. Look at the Electricity line of your bill to see how much power you use in each of the three TOU price periods. 

Seasonal changes and time of year

As described above, the TOU price periods and Tier thresholds change with the seasons and are different during the winter (November 1 – April 30) and summer (May 1 – October 31) periods. Does the amount of electricity you use change based on the season?

If you’re thinking about switching, you should pay close attention to how much electricity you use in a month, because on Tiered pricing the price is higher for every kWh of electricity that you use above the Tier threshold of 1,000 kWh in the winter or 600 kWh in the summer. For instance, if you heat your home electrically, your monthly use in the winter may be higher. And the same goes for the summer if you need to run your air conditioner. 

With TOU prices, the price depends on when you use electricity. Although the TOU price periods also change with the season, the electricity you use after 7 p.m. every day, and all the time on weekends and holidays, is charged at the lowest price under TOU all year round.

Lifestyle and daily habits

Are you often home during the day on weekdays, so that shifting your usage is more challenging? Do you have large appliances that you need to run during the day on weekdays? Can you shift more of that usage to nighttime or weekend hours? 

Small business

If you’re a small business owner, some of the same factors mentioned earlier also apply – how much electricity do you use each month, and when do you use it? Keep in mind that the Tier threshold for small business customers is 750 kWh all year round. And not all small businesses are the same. A large restaurant with several ovens running in the evening may have a very different electricity usage pattern than a small salon that’s only open during the day. So may a dry cleaner compared to a convenience store, or a clothing store compared to a bakery.

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Ontario Energy Board Bill Calculator

The Ontario Energy Board has created a bill calculator to help you estimate and compare what you might pay using time-of-use rates or tiered rates.

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Rules for Customer Choice

If you’re a TOU customer and don’t want to switch to Tiered prices, you don’t need to do anything. You will stay on TOU prices.

If you do want to switch to Tiered prices, here are the rules that apply. These rules also apply if you later want to switch back to TOU prices.

The choice between TOU and Tiered prices is available to nearly all residential and small business customers that have smart meters and are billed on TOU.  

  • Starting October 13, 2020, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro will accept pricing plan election forms by online, email, or mail. Forms can also be dropped off in the drop box at our office at 301 Victoria Street South, Kitchener. 
  • You must complete and submit an election form to notify Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro that you want to switch. You should have a recent electricity bill on hand when filling out the form, as you will need your account number.  
  • Within 10 business days of receiving your election form, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro will notify you if your election form can’t be processed and the reason why.  
  • If there are no issues with your election form, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro will notify you by mail  to let you know when you can expect to start being billed on your new price plan. 
  • A switch in pricing plan can only take effect at the start of a billing period. You are generally billed for a 30-day period, and the start and end dates are identified on your electricity bill. 
  • Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro will start charging you according to your new price plan as of your next billing period after you submit your election form if we receive the form at least 10 business days before that billing period starts, and provided there are no issues with your form (see above). 
  • If we receive your complete election form less than 10 business days before the start of your next billing period, we may start charging according to your new price plan at the start of the next billing period after that. 
  • Because a switch in prices can only take effect at the beginning of a billing period, it will take some time between the day you provide your election form and the day you actually start being charged according to your new price plan. 
  • If you live in a condominium or apartment that has its own individual meter and your bill comes from a company other than Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro, you are a customer of a unit sub-meter provider (USMP). Customers of USMPs also can’t switch to Tiered prices. That decision can only be made for the building as a whole by the “master consumer,” who is the person that retained a USMP for the property. In most cases, the master consumer is the property manager, landlord or condominium board. 
  • Customers that are buying their electricity from an energy retailer pay the electricity price set out in their contract.  Once they have left their retail contract, they will have a choice between paying TOU or Tiered prices. For details about your energy contract, contact your energy retailer.

For more information about TOU and Tiered pricing, visit oeb.ca/choice.

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Complete and submit our online form

Download a PDF version of the form to submit by email, mail, or drop off in our drop box at:

301 Victoria Street South
Kitchener, Ontario
N2G 4L2

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