‘A La Carte’ Power Pricing Put To The Test In Simcoe County

Year-long experiment could change the way we all pay for power

Ten-thousand Alectra Utilities’ customers in Simcoe County are taking part in a power-pricing test project that could give us all greater choice in how we pay for electricity at different times of day. Brian Bentz, President and CEO of Alectra, notes not everyone uses electricity in the same way…

The trial provides the opportunity to better manage household electricity costs, while also helping Ontario’s power system run more efficiently. There are three plans to choose from:

Advantage Power PricingEnhanced Plan: The Enhanced plan is similar to the Time-of Use plan that has been available to Ontarians since 2007, but it has one key change: a bigger
difference between On-peak and Off-peak prices. This wider rate gap lets participants cut electricity costs if they shift their usage to Off-peak hours.

Advantage Power Pricing – Dynamic Plan: The Dynamic plan features a peak period between 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on weekdays (holidays excluded) where the rate is either Low, Medium or High. At all other times on this plan an Off-peak rate applies. This rate is lower than standard Time-of-Use rates. Customers are alerted a day in advance as to what rate they will have for those peak periods. This gives them the opportunity to adjust their usage accordingly. Additionally, the Dynamic plan includes six Critical Peak Pricing periods which will last for four hours each. These critical periods will be planned to occur during times the system is under the most demand in the winter and summer seasons.

Advantage Power Pricing – Overnight Plan: The Overnight plan features a similar schedule to standard Time-of-Use, but with the addition of a Super Off-peak rate from 12:00 a.m. to
6:00 a.m. This is designed for customers with large flexible loads, like electric vehicles, or who work shifts, to use electricity when system costs are low.

Bentz says they will be looking at how consumers in the test behave toward the above programs with an eye to rolling the options out to everyone by the end of next year or early 2019.