News Post

Understanding Your Hydro Bills During the COVID-19 Summer

Understanding Your Hydro Bills During the COVID-19 Summer and Actions You Can Take
We know that this is a challenging time and we wish to support our customers and the communities we serve. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the extreme weather conditions this summer, we understand that customers may be receiving higher than normal bills this summer.   We offer some explanation and solutions for the high 2020 Summer Bills:
Why your bill may be higher than normal:

  • Extreme summer temperatures experienced for extended periods. There have been 32 days this summer with temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius as compared to a typical year that sees about 16 days above 30 degrees Celsius. So far this year there have been more than double that of a typical year while often accompanied by high humidity, little cloud cover and warm overnight temperatures.
  • More people are staying/working at home during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The average electricity consumption for a residential customer has increased significantly over prior years during the COVID-19 summer by 264 kWh in May and June, and 290 kWh in July during this extreme heat. We have seen average energy consumption increases of 29% in June and 28% in July. Air conditioner usage is being driven extra hard this summer due to the extremely hot temperatures compounded by more of the population being at home. 
 Average Milton Hydro Monthly Electricity Consumption (kWh)

*The provincial average for monthly kWh consumption is 750 kWh.
  • Flat electricity rate imposed by Government of Ontario.   As part of the response to the COVID pandemic, the Government of Ontario changed the rate structure from Time of Use to Flat Rate in order to create a more predictable way to pay for power while Ontarians work/stay at home. While consumers benefit from not paying on-peak rates, the constant heat has caused increased consumption in the off-peak hours.   On March 17th, 2020 the Government of Ontario issued an Emergency Order and as a result of the Order starting March 24th residential and small business customers on Time-of-Use  (“TOU”) pricing paid 10.1 ¢/kWh no matter what time of day the electricity was used. On June 1st the COVID-19 Flat Rate was increased to 12.8 ¢/kWh, again for all hours of the day and will remain in effect until October 31st.  
  • Over 80% of a residential electricity bill is volumetric and varies with consumption(kWh) used.  Milton Hydro is required to bill and collect all electricity related charges, which, in addition to its own distribution charges, include commodity costs for electricity payable to the Independent Electricity System Operator (“IESO”), and transmission charges payable to the provincially owned Hydro One Networks Inc.  These other non-distribution charges represent “pass-through” charges and vary with consumption used.   Milton Hydro does not benefit from the increased consumption of energy from residential customers or the changes in rate structure.  Milton Hydro charges a fixed monthly distribution charge rate of $28.39 to residential customers for its delivery component of the charges which does not vary with consumption used.
  • High Water Usage.  Milton Hydro bills Water and Wastewater charges on behalf of the Region of Halton.   While Milton Hydro bills for electricity every month, water charges are billed every 2nd month.  For those customers being billed Water and Wastewater on a given month, they will see a larger bill from Milton Hydro. In addition, we have seen increases in the consumption of water usage upwards to 25% from customers working and/or staying at home, increased lawn watering, pool use, and other uses due to a dry summer.     
Average Milton Hydro Bi-Monthly Water Usage (m3)

** The average customers uses 42 m3 of water on a bi-monthly basis (250 cubic metres (m3) per year). 
  • Wastewater Cap Eliminated in 2020.  In 2020, the Region of Halton removed the wastewater cap in order to uphold the principles of customer equity and conservation. 
    • Customer Equity: Customers who used large amounts of water to fill pools/water large lawns were receiving a discount on wastewater, while customers who did not have pools or large lawns did not receive this benefit.  By removing the cap, all customers pay the same amount for water/wastewater consumption, which is more equitable and fairer to all residents.
    • Conservation: The wastewater cap gave residents an incentive to use more water rather than less (e.g. residents who consumed more water were rewarded with lower rates), which goes against the principle of water conservation. While a high-consuming resident may now be paying more, what they are paying is in line with what all residents in the Region are paying for consumption.  Under the old model, high-consuming residents paid less per cubic meter of water consumed than low-consuming residents (i.e. residents who do not have pools to fill).  The cap was phased out gradually starting in 2017 to help ease the impact on resident’s water bills.  The cap was initially at 60m3 per month, and increased to 80m3 per month in 2017, 90m3 in 2018, and 110m3 in 2019.  In 2020 the cap has been fully removed.
    • For more information, contact Halton Region’s Senior Financial Analyst – Budgets at 905-825-6000 x7583.
Milton Hydro is here to help – Here are some ways to manage your bill:
Assistance Programs:
  • We understand that many may be experiencing financial challenges. Our customer service team is here to help.
    • If you think you may have challenges paying your bill, please call our customer service team at 905-876-4611 so we can discuss flexible bill payment options.
  • Electricity Support Programs are available to customers that may need help managing electricity costs:
  • The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), which provides emergency financial relief to eligible low-income customers to avoid having their service disconnected. Call our delivery agent, The Salvation Army, at 905-875-1022.
  • Halton Region Energy Funds (Assistance with Hydro Arrears) call 905-825-6000 or dial 311;
  • The Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP), which enables eligible low-income customers to receive a fixed monthly credit on their electricity bills.   Call 1-855-831-8151 visit
  • COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program – visit Milton Hydro’s website for qualification details:
Tools to monitor and manage your consumption:
  • Milton Hydro has online tools available to help its customers manage their Hydro and Water bills on their website by registering for an account on “My Account login” see video link
  • One of the tools on the website is a notifications/alerts option, which allows a user to set up notifications/alerts for budget and usage which will notify you by email when certain thresholds have been reached.
  • The Consumption Tab will let the user view historical billing information for both electricity and water over the past 24 months.
  • The Smart Meter Tab will let the user view hourly smart meter data for electricity consumption for a given range of dates as selected by the user. The Smart Meter Tab allows users to view and download data for analysis.
  • For detailed consumption comparisons see the Compare Usage Tab.
  • A wealth of other data analytics to enable customers to manage their Hydro and Water bill.
Useful links to assist with Energy Conservation:
  • The Milton Hydro website also has useful information to help residential customers with energy conservation tips including:
    • Energy Savings Tips for useful information to save energy relating to heating and cooling systems.
    • Save on Energy for useful information on saving energy.
    • Consumption Chart which indicates the energy consumption and cost of various household appliances, this will help you identify what the largest electricity consumers are.
What the Government of Ontario is Doing to Help Customers during COVID-19
  • On March 17th, 2020 the Government of Ontario issued an Emergency Order and as a result of the Order starting March 24th residential and small business customers on Time-of-Use  (“TOU”) pricing would pay 10.1 ¢/kWh no matter what time of day the electricity was used. This pricing was to expire on May 7th but was extended until May 31st
  • On June 1st the COVID-19 Recovery Rate was introduced at 12.8 ¢/kWh, again for all hours of the day.  This will remain in effect until October 31st when electricity prices are set by the Ontario Energy Board for November 1st. The 12.8 ¢/kWh price was the average price across all hours of the day in part to recognize that people will be at home more, they will be consuming more energy during on-peak and mid-peak periods, and additional consumption would not be billed at the on-peak and mid-peak prices.
  • More information about the rates is available at: Rates For Electricity and Water
  • Providing residents, small businesses and farms a 31.8% discount on electricity bills through the Ontario Electricity Rebate.
  • Established the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program to help customers struggling to pay their hydro bills.
  • The Government intends to introduce customer choice for consumers on the Regulated Price Plan (RPP) who pay time-of-use (TOU) prices. This initiative would allow RPP TOU customers to opt out of TOU pricing in favour of tiered prices starting November 1, 2020.

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