In today’s speech from the throne, the Ontario government announced plans to provide rebates on electricity bills for urban and rural residential customers, as well as small business and industrial customers.

Noting that customers are facing electricity cost increases above the level of inflation, the government announced that it will introduce legislation effective January 1, 2017, to provide a direct rebate to residential and small business customers of 8%, an amount equal to the provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax.

Rural customers will see an enhancement of the existing Rural or Remote Rate Protection program which, combined with the HST rebate, is expected to result in an on-bill monthly savings of about 20% or $45 a month.

For industrial customers, the government announced that the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) will be expanded to lower the threshold for participation and expand the eligibility beyond existing customer types. The ICI rewards large electricity customers who shift consumption away from peak periods.

Finally, the government notes that, as part of the Climate Change Action Plan, customers eligible for neither the HST rebate nor the expanded ICI program will receive an on-bill benefit via the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account to reduce emissions while reducing rates.

Presumably, further details of these announced programs will be released in the coming weeks.