TORONTO — Significant increases in electricity bills are coming for camp owners and other seasonal-rate customers of Hydro One.
The Ontario Energy Board has ordered Hydro One to implement the elimination of its seasonal rate class starting on Jan. 1, 2023.
To mitigate the impact, the OEB has told Hydro One to increase rates in phases over a period of 10 years.
This means no customers should experience a rate hike of more than 10 per cent a year.
However, the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations – which represents groups from Kenora to Cornwall – has warned that this will ultimately result in hydro bills doubling for many camp owners.
Terry Rees, FOCA's executive-director, says "It's one more hit on our beleaguered wallets."
According to Rees, about 80,000 seasonal-use customers being moved to the low-density residential class can expect their electricity bills to increase by $600 to $800 a year.
"Not everyone's rich that owns property at the lake or in the north. That's a significant hit to a household budget," he told TBNewswatch.
Rees agreed that the blow will be softened by the 10-year phase-in period, but said "this is on top of other changes they're making to their electricity rates and other things."
The OEB decision comes six years after the regulator first decided Hydro One had to eliminate its seasonal class and move customers in that group into its other residential customer classes based on density.
It said the move is necessary because the distribution rates charged to seasonal customers don't reflect the actual cost of serving them.
The OEB has estimated that about half the customers in the seasonal rate class will be moved to the medium-density residential class and will see a slight decrease in their bills.