News Post

Covid19 - Frequently Asked Questions


Milton Hydro will be providing regular updates via email and on our website.  As much as possible, information regarding your Milton Hydro account will be communicated via electronic means.  If you have not already done so, please provide us with an email address so we can keep you apprised of what’s new. 
 
What is happening during COVID19?
 
New Time of Use Rates extended until October 31st, 2020.
 
UPDATE:

As Ontarians continue to work and learn from home, the government is extending the suspension of time-of-use price to provide consumers with greater stability and predictability with their electricity bills.
To extend this support responsibly, the government is introducing a fixed electricity price, known as the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, of 12.8 cents per kWh, which will be automatically applied to all time-of-use customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This fixed electricity price will be in place from June 1 - October 31, 2020. 

The COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8¢/kWh is based on the average cost of electricity, set by the Ontario Energy Board. This fixed rate will continue to suspend time-of-use prices in a fiscally responsible manner. By introducing this new fixed rate, consumers will have greater flexibility to use electricity when they need it without paying on-peak and mid-peak prices.
 
Please be advised that this pricing change does not apply to RPP customers who pay tiered rates.  It also does not apply to consumers who have opted out of RPP to sign a contract with an electricity retailer.
 
Questions & Answers

Q1.  What is being done to support households and businesses with increased electricity usage during this COVID-19 outbreak?

For electricity consumed starting at 12:00 a.m. on Monday June 1, 2020, households, farms and small businesses paying TOU electricity rates will be charged the New COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 ¢ per kWh, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Milton Hydro will apply this change automatically for everyone paying TOU rates, you do not have to do anything.

See the table below for the new rates and dates the changes take effect.



chartforrates.jpg

Q2.  How is the COVID-29 Recovery Rate determined?

The COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8¢/kWh is based on the average Ontario cost of electricity and is set by the Ontario Energy Board.

Q3.  When will I see the change in rates on my bill?

The COVID-19 Recovery Rate for all hours will be shown on your first bill with reading dates that straddle May 31st and June 1st.  Milton Hydro bills customers about 15 days after reading the meter so the first bills that straddle these dates will be issued beginning June 16th.

The first bill will show the TOU consumption up to May 31st at the current rate of 10.1 ¢/kWh and then the TOU consumption used June 1st and after at the COVID-19 Recovery Rate 12.8 ¢/kWh.  

Q4.  How long will this be in place?

It is the government’s intention that the COVID-19 Recovery Rate TOU customers will be in effect until October 31st at which time the government will have reviewed TOU rates to be effective November 1st.

Q5. Why is the new COVID-19 Recovery Rate only extended until October 31st?  Does this mean that social distancing practices will be over by then?

As COVID-19 continues to evolve, the government wants to minimize the financial burden and support people when they’re doing the right thing and staying home.

That’s why the government implemented immediate rate relief when Ontarians were asked to begin social distancing, and enacted other measures such as extending the Ontario Energy Board’s disconnection ban and a government funded program of $9 million for an enhanced COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program (“CEAP”) to be introduced in early July.

Q6.  Will tiered rate customers also be receiving the lower rate?

No.  To quickly implement the pricing change so that it applies during the emergency response period, all TOU customers (including residential, farms and small businesses) received the pricing change and are the customers that would continue to benefit from the proposed extension until October 31, 2020. These are the customers that see the greatest increase in cost due to being home during the day. Tiered customers are charged a consistent rate regardless of the time of day.

Most Regulated Price Plan (RPP) consumers pay TOU prices, the rest of RPP customers pay tiered prices. There are approximately 5 million residential consumers, farms and some small businesses billed TOU electricity prices under the RPP.

This pricing change does not apply to RPP customers who pay tiered rates. It would also not apply to consumers who have opted out of the RPP to sign a contract with an electricity retailer.

Q7.  Will unit sub-meter customers or retailer customers also be receiving the lower rate?

No.  Unit sub-meter providers and retailers are not regulated by the Ontario Energy Board (“OEB”) and as commercial businesses their rates are not approved by the OEB.

Q8.  What options do I have for paying my bill?

Customers may request flexible payment arrangements in order to allow more time to pay outstanding balances on their account, if needed. 
Our office is currently closed to ensure the social distancing of our team, but we are available to discuss payment assistance: 
  • Online:  Email us at  customerservice@miltonhydro.com
  • Phone: 905-876-4611 during normal business hours (Weekdays from 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.)
  • Note: We are experiencing an increased amount of customer inquiries. Therefore, you may have a longer wait time than usual on our telephone lines. Thank you in advance for your patience.
We encourage customers to be prepared in case they are unable to pick up mail due to self-isolation, illness, or if there is a delay in postal service.  Paperless Billing and/or Pre-Authorized Payments are proactive and convenient options to help customers stay on track with monthly bills. Sign up today!

Please Note:

Milton Hydro has moved customers to Paperless Billing where we have an active email address.  We now have over 70% of our customers on Paperless Billing.   For those customers who have not provided an email address, we ask that you access your myAccount at www.miltonhydro.com/login  to set up or change your details; alternatively you can contact our customer service department during normal business hours to provide updated contact information via 905-876-4611 or email us at customerservice@miltonhydro.com.
 
Other methods are Credit Card – through Paymentus, a third-party automated payment service noted on our web site or by calling 1-866-447-5024, Telephone/Internet Banking, Drop Box, and/or Mail (allow up to 5 days delivery).
 
Q9.  What are you doing for customers who may be struggling to pay their electricity bill during this time?

We know that this is a challenging time and we wish to support our customers and the communities we serve. Due to the many consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, we understand that many may be experiencing financial challenges. Our customer service team is here to help. Here is what we’ve put in place until further notice:
  • We have suspended disconnecting customers until July 31st – both residential and small business.
  • 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 after the disconnection ban ends July 31st.
    • 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
 
Q10.  Is Milton Hydro still charging Late Payment Interest on past due payment?

Milton Hydro’s rates and charges are approved by the Ontario Energy Board (“OEB”) and are to be applied consistently according to our Tariff of Rates and Charges.  On March 27th, the Ontario Energy Board (“OEB”) advised distributors that Late Payment Interest charges may be reduced or waived on electricity charges during the COVID19 emergency relief to support Ontarians. Milton Hydro has elected to temporarily waive Late Payment Interest on electricity charges beginning with bills issued on March 31st to help our customers during this difficult time.  Milton Hydro will waive Late Payment Interest on electricity charges up to July 31, 2020, which is when the disconnection ban ends as referred to in question 9 above.
Please note: Milton Hydro bills water on behalf of the Region.  Interest on water charges will continue to be charged.
 
Q11.  Is Milton Hydro doing anything to prevent in-person interactions with customers and members of the public?

Yes, we’ve taken several steps. We have closed our office to customers and visitors. We have reduced crew size and cut back on non-essential work.  We are practicing social distancing and are not working on customers property unless required, to ensure uninterrupted power or in secure meter rooms as a proactive measure to reduce public interactions and keep our employees and customers safe. We would ask the public to not approach our crews when working in your area.  We are regularly assessing our processes and activities to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep people safe.

 

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