The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) will implement a new optional Ultra-Low Overnight Price Plan for Regulated Price Plan (RPP) customers, to be available for May 1, 2023. Electricity distributors can choose whether to make this available to their customers on May 1, 2023, or to wait until November 1, 2023.
As discussed in a prior post, the ultra-low overnight pricing is intended to support and incent electric vehicle (EV) adoption. In response to direction from the Ontario Minister of Energy, the OEB prepared a report titled Design of an Optional Enhanced Time-of-Use Price in March 2022, proposing the design of an Optional Enhanced Time-of-Use (OETOU) price for RPP customers to further incent demand-shifting away from peak periods to lower-demand periods. Relative to existing Time-of-Use (TOU) pricing, the OETOU sees lower prices overnight and higher prices in the peak evening hours.
The proposed OETOU pricing is as set out below:
The OEB’s proposal would see the OETOU price become an option for RPP customers as part of the Customer Choice initiative, which started on November 1, 2020, and lets RPP consumers choose between TOU and Tiered pricing options. The OEB designed the OETOU so that it would be available to all RPP-eligible consumers on an optional basis, in addition to the standard TOU and Tiered pricing options.
In August 2022, the Ministry of Energy issued a Notice indicating that it will introduce an Ultra-Low Overnight Price Plan option, based on the proposal in the OEB’s report. Since that time, regulatory changes to support this option have been developed.
One change is an update to the RPP Regulation under the Ontario Energy Board Act to direct the OEB to establish the Ultra-Low Overnight Price Plan, with pricing periods aligned to those set out in the chart above. That change is effective January 1, 2023.
At the same time, the OEB is undertaking a process to update the Standard Supply Service Code and RPP Manual to implement the Ultra-Low Overnight Price Plan option for consumers. As set out in the OEB’s Notice of Proposal to Amend Codes, electricity distributors will be required to allow RPP consumers with smart meters to opt in to the new Ultra-Low Overnight Price Plan. Distributors will process requests to switch to the new option in the same way (and subject to the same deadlines) that they currently process requests to switch between standard TOU and Tiered pricing. The option can be made available to consumers on May 1, 2023, and must be available for November 1, 2023. For customers who opt for the new Ultra-Low Overnight Price Plan, distributors must issue bills that display electricity usage by each of the four Ultra-Low Overnight Price Plan time periods.
Further information about the OEB’s plans and progress can be found at the OEB’s web page titled Enabling the Implementation of an Ultra-Low Overnight Price Plan.
Additionally, the OEB has announced that in November 2022, it will be undertaking an “Electric Vehicle Integration initiative.” The OEB’s Electric Vehicle Integration website says that the OEB will pursue three “workstreams” to “inform subsequent work to remove barriers to the integration of EVs with the transmission and distribution systems.” The first step is a November 2022 survey of industry stakeholders to identify barriers to the deployment of EV charging infrastructure.