Premier Doug Ford says the province will extend its temporary reduction to hydro rates set to expire this Thursday.
Ford confirmed the move Tuesday while speaking to reporters as part of his regularly scheduled media conferences on COVID-19.
“It’s going to be extended for a little bit and that announcement will come later in the week there,” he said.
The province announced in March that it would reduce time-of-use electricity rates to the off-peak charge of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour, representing a more than 50 per cent drop from the on-peak rate of 20.8 cents-per-kWh — the mid-peak rate then stood at 14.4 cents-per-kWh.
The decision came after the province declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and as more people started working from home as a precautionary measure.
The reduced price was put in place for a 45-day period at a cost of $160 million.
A North Bay Hydro spokesperson asked to reserve comment until the province announces the extension.
The change was first reflected on hydro customers’ April bills, but only for all energy consumed on or after March 24, with standard time-of-use rates applying before that date.
In a letter posted to hydro’s website, president and chief executive officer Matt Payne said a planned rate increase, approved by the Ontario Energy Board for May 1, also has been postponed to Nov. 1.
A moratorium on disconnections for non-payment by residential and small-business customers, meanwhile, has been extended to July 31 from April 30.
Payne also encouraged the public, in his letter, to join in a “positivity initiative” started by hydro employees who are thanking frontline workers at the North Bay Regional Health Centre each week by displaying a sign hung from a bucket truck.
Those interested in participating can contact Neil Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In closing, I would like to say thank you to everyone in the community for the part you are playing in preventing the spread of COVID-19. It is incredible to see everyone in action,” Payne said.
“North Bay Hydro is in it like the rest of you, and we are here to help in any way we can.”
Hydro’s main office remains closed to the public.
Customers struggling to pay their hydro bills are asked to contact customer service at 705-474-8100 or email@example.com about a payment plan.
Information on assistance programs also can be found at www.northbayhydro.com/residential/assistance-programs/.
Tips on how to conserve consumption are available at www.saveonenergy.ca.