New changes to electricity bills in Ontario are coming into effect just in time for winter, and prices are going up for households and small businesses. The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) just announced that Ontario hydro bills will be increasing with the rise of inflation starting on November 1. So, it's time to start remembering to turn off your lights! 

The price increase will reflect the rate of inflation, according to a news release on the subject. Ontario is also coming up with a new rebate program to replace the current one. The Ontario Electricity Rebate (OER) will be an expanded relief program that will "largely offset the price changes," according to the release.

Ontarians can expect to see their bill rise by 1.8% starting November 1. This is an increase of about $2 for a typical customer who uses 700 kWh per month. New hydro bills will also show customers the true price of their usage and will also show how much money the government is rebating, aiming for a more transparent billing experience.Expect to see changes on your hydro bill a few weeks after November 1. The total bill impact will always reflect a customer's usage rate, and that means it may be higher than the $2 projected increase. There are peak times of use when Ontarians should minimize their use of electricity if they'd like to effectively save on consumption costs. 

Time of use (TOU) can affect how much you pay on your hydro bill after November 1 with the price increases.Off-peak hours will be weekdays from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. and all day on weekends and holidays. Mid-peak hours will be weekdays from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. On-peak (most expensive) hours will be weekdays from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. and then 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

The on-peak price of usage will be about double that of the off-peak price, so pay attention to what time you are charging your phone or using a blowdryer if you want to keep your bills as low as possible. 

The current government says that hydro bills have been too much of a mystery to consumers, who don't get a full breakdown of how much they are using on the current bill, and aim to change that.

"To our government, transparency is fundamental to fixing the hydro mess. Under the Liberal Government, the unfair hydro scheme hid the true cost of electricity from Ontarians," said Associate Energy Minister Bill Walker in a news release.

"Our government's straightforward approach puts Ontario families first by giving them the full picture of the actual cost of electricity on their bills and properly accounting for this expenditure."

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