The expansion of Ontario’s Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) to provide electricity rate relief to more businesses comes into effect on January 1, 2017. Businesses who want to participate in the expanded ICI program must provide written notice to their electricity provider in order to qualify.

In our Sept 2016 Blakes Bulletin: New Opportunities for Ontario Businesses to Benefit from Electricity Rate Relief Program, we explained the ICI program and how it can benefit business users of electricity by reducing the global adjustment charge — a charge that has been, by far, the largest component of a typical business’ electricity costs.

In the September 15, 2016 Throne Speech, the Ontario government announced that it would be expanding the ICI, but did not provide any details as to which consumers would be allowed to benefit from the expanded ICI.

The details are now available in new Regulations, which take effect on January 1, 2017.

After January 1, 2017, any electricity consumer in Ontario that uses, on average, between one and five megawatts of electricity per month can elect to pay the global adjustment charge under the ICI program.

Consumers who on average use more than five megawatts of electricity, automatically participate in the ICI without having to make an election (but they can elect to opt out of ICI).

New participants in the expanded ICI will be eligible to participate in the next ICI “adjustment period”, which runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, but only if they provide written notice to their electricity provider (either the local electricity distribution company or the Independent Electricity System Operator) before June 15, 2017.

Businesses that use more than one megawatt of electricity each month should consider whether they may be able to reduce their electricity costs by participating in the ICI program in 2017.