Information Regarding COVID-19
TEMPORARY OFFICE CLOSURE – Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020
InnPower has been closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and recommendations made by health officials. Our first priority is the continued safety of our employees and customers. Public health officials continue to advise that social distancing is the most effective strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As such, InnPower offices will be closed to the public, including customer walk-ins, until further notice.
InnPower would like to assure customers that during this difficult time, we will work diligently to continue providing the same level of service as always. We appreciate your support, cooperation, and understanding of this decision.
Regular updates will be provided on our website and social media. If you wish to speak to a customer service representative, we would be more than happy to assist over the phone or email.
Government Assistance with Hydro During the Pandemic
The Ontario government announced that it will continue to support provincial electricity consumers by providing stability and greater customer choice, while helping those struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program Residential (CEAP) – Beginning July 13th, CEAP will provide one-time payments to consumers to help pay down any electricity bill debt incurred over the COVID-19 period. To learn more and see if you are eligible for CEAP, please visit our CEAP page.
- COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business and Registered Charities (CEAP-SB) – Beginning August 31st, 2020; CEAP-SB will provide one-time payments for Small Business (GS<50) customers & Registered Charities to help support those customers who have fallen behind on their accounts due to the pandemic. To learn more and see if you are eligible for CEAP, please visit our CEAP-SB page.
- Disconnection Ban – The Ontario Energy Board extended the Winter Disconnection ban on non-payment electricity disconnections for residential customers to July 31, 2020. Low-volume, small business customers are also protected by the ban during this period. This provided customers an extension of time to pay their bills/make arrangements without the worry of being disconnected.
- COVID-19 Recovery Rate - The COVID-19 Recovery Rate is designed to help support Ontarians as the economy is restarted. Households, farms and small businesses who pay time-of-use electricity rates will now be billed at 12.8 cents/kWh for all 3 TOU Periods, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The new rate will begin June 1st, 2020, continuing until October 31st, 2020. This rate will be automatically reflected on customers' electricity bills. The winter time-of-use time periods are to continue to be used.
- Customer Choice Initiative - Starting November 1, 2020, customers will be able to choose an electricity pricing plan that best suits their household and lifestyle. Customers will have the option of TOU electricity rates or tiered pricing, which provides a set rate for electricity up to a certain level of consumption. More information regarding this will be released as we receive it.
- Frozen Global Adjustment (GA) Charges - Effective June 26th, 2020; companies that participate in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) will not be required to reduce their electricity usage during peak hours, as their proportion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for these companies will be frozen.
- Deferred Global Adjustment (GA) Charges – The Ontario Government announced temporary relief for industrial and commercial electricity consumers that do not participate in the Regulated Price Plan (RPP) by deferring a portion of GA charges for April, May and June 2020.
Time-of-Use (TOU) Rate Periods
The Ontario Government has announced that the emergency off-peak TOU rate relief (ending May 31st, 2020) will be replaced by the COVID-19 Recovery Rate. The COVID-19 Recovery Rate is designed to help support Ontarians as the economy is restarted.
Households, farms and small businesses who pay time-of-use electricity rates will now be billed at 12.8 cents/kWh, instead of the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents/kWh. The new rate will begin June 1st, 2020, continuing until October 31st, 2020. This rate will be automatically reflected on customers' electricity bills and will apply for all 3 TOU Periods, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The winter time-of-use time periods are to continue to be used.
For customers on tiered rates: winter prices will continue to apply and the winter consumption threshold continues to apply until October 31st, 2020.
*Please note that we bill one month behind. If you are receiving a bill in April, that usage/cost will be for electricity used in March. We would like to remind everyone that the Emergency TOU rates being set to off-peak pricing came into effect on March 24th. The bills being received in April will show March 1st to March 31st usage. This will show usage between March 1st - March 23rd with regular TOU Pricing and usage between March 24th - March 31st at the emergency off-peak 24/7 pricing. The bills received in May will be for April Usage, and the bills received in June will be for May usage. The emergency off-peak pricing will apply for the entire months of April and May.
Global Adjustment (GA) Charges
Ontario is deferring a portion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for industrial and commercial electricity consumers that do not participate in the Regulated Price Plan (RPP), starting from April 2020. The GA rate for smaller industrial and commercial consumers (i.e., Class B) has been set at $115 per megawatt-hour, which is roughly in line with March 2020 value. Large industrial and commercial consumers (i.e., Class A) will receive the same percentage reduction in GA charges as Class B consumers. The government intends to keep this relief in place through the end of June 2020, subject to necessary extensions and approvals to implement this initiative.
Industrial and commercial electricity consumers will automatically see this relief reflected on their bills. Consumers will automatically see this relief reflected on their bills. Consumers who have already received their April bill should see an adjustment on a future bill. Please contact InnPower Corporation with questions about your bill.
Further to the deferral of Global Adjustment charges, The Ontario government is helping large industrial and commercial companies return to full levels of operation without the fear of electricity costs spiking by providing more stable electricity pricing for two years. Effective June 26th, 2020; companies that participate in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) will not be required to reduce their electricity usage during peak hours, as their proportion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for these companies will be frozen.
Changes to Operations
Our line crew and operations team are hard at work to keep the lights on during this pandemic. In order to work safely, we have made various changes to how our operations are carried out. Our crew is practicing physical distancing, equipped with gloves and masks/visors as required and will be corresponding with customers via cell phone.
Listed below are some changes which may impact our customers…
- DIR’S will be taking place with enhanced safety precautions.
- Layouts are still being processed. We will continue to provide customers with a cost estimate and trench inspections, while practising physical distancing.
- Service Cancellations are still being issued to staff under the condition that no customer contact is required.
- New Service Connections in subdivisions will continue under the condition that the builder can provide our lines staff a timeline in which they can have access to the homes without other trades being on site.
As the pandemic conditions change, these measures will be adjusted accordingly. We apologize for any inconvenience these changes may cause and appreciate your patience and co-operation during these difficult times.
If you have any question’s regarding workers on site, please do not approach the workers. Please call or email InnPower at the contact information provided above to discuss. Help us keep our team safe by keeping your distance when driving your vehicle and in person so we can keep them safe and healthy during COVID-19.
If you are concerned about paying your bill, are experiencing hardship, and/or have been impacted by the pandemic, we want to help. Please see the attached brochure explaining various financial assistance programs that are available to customers. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service team via phone or email.
We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone and we want our customers to know that we are here to provide support. InnPower will be offering increased payment and arrears management flexibility to customers that are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.
If you wish to make a payment on your account at this time, please see the available payment options listed below.
- Telephone and Online Banking - Through Your Financial Institution
- Mail – Cheque
- Credit Card Payment - via Third Party Company ‘Paymentus’ online https://ipn.paymentus.com/rotp/insh or by phone 1-866-837-0181
- Cash Payments – Leave in Dropbox in an Envelope with Name, Service Address and Account #
- Dropbox – Our Office Dropbox Remains Open and Will be Checked Multiple Times Per Day
Important FLUSHING Reminder
With the recent Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak and toilet paper shortage, we would like to remind customers that only toilet paper should be flushed. Flushing inappropriate household items can clog homeowner/municipal sewer pipes, cause overflow, health concerns, environmental issues, property damage, and thousands of dollars in repairs to both the homeowner and municipality!
For property owners, blocked pipes can lead to toilet/sink overflows and costly repairs. For municipalities, blocked pipes increase costs due to unscheduled maintenance and may result in increased water rates for all of us.
- Any Wipes (even "flushable" ones), diapers,
- Hygiene Products (Floss, Tampons, Condoms, etc.)
- Cat Litter
- Fats, Oils, Grease
- Paper Towel
Safely Re-Opening Buildings for Building Owners/Operators
With COVID-19 restrictions being eased and many businesses/buildings beginning to re-open, it is important to ensure that health and safety is considered in all aspects of the process, including water.
When buildings are closed or on low occupancy for any prolonged period, water in the building becomes stagnant and can pose serious health risks. Harmful microbiological and chemical contaminants can grow or leach into water supply.
While municipal utilities are responsible to get clean, safe drinking water to each property, it is the responsibility of each property owner to ensure it maintains the safety of that water within their building.
In order to help residents, InnServices has compiled a fact sheet that is intended to assist with identifying possible concerns for tenants and building owners who plan to reopen their businesses after being closed for a prolonged period. These considerations should be addressed before allowing tenants and visitors to re-occupy any building that has been closed for a prolonged period.
For more detailed information on maintenance & mitigation during a shutdown, and reopening your building, view the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association’s report on Safely Re-Opening Buildings.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is being done to support households and businesses with increased electricity usage during this COVID-19 outbreak?
The government of Ontario extended the emergency rate relief for time-of-use electricity customers until May 31, 2020. Households, farms and small businesses paying TOU electricity rates were charged the lowest price, known as the off-peak electricity rate, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, between March 24 th - May 31st, 2020.
Starting June 1, 2020, the government of Ontario has introduced a “COVID-19 Recovery Rate” of 12.8¢/kWh for TOU Regulated Price Plan (RPP) customers to provide stability and predictability. Households, farms and small businesses who pay time-of-use electricity rates will now be billed at 12.8 cents/kWh, instead of the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents/kWh. This rate is equal to the forecasted average RPP supply cost, calculated November 1, 2019. The new rate will begin June 1st, 2020, continuing until October 31st, 2020. This rate will apply for all 3 TOU Periods, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The winter time-of-use time periods are to continue to be used.
How is this being implemented? Do ratepayers need to take any action?
No action is required by electricity consumers: rate changes will be applied automatically for everyone paying time-of-use rates. The emergency TOU Rate relief will automatically be applied between March 24 th – May 31st. The COVID Recovery Rate will automatically be applied between June 1st – October 31st.
In cases where a ratepayer’s billing cycle ends before their local distribution company implements this change, they will receive the reduced rate as a credit on a future bill.
How will this appear on bills?
Ratepayers will automatically see the emergency TOU Rate relief of off-peak pricing reflected on electricity bills for usage between March 24 th – May 31st. The off-peak rate will be shown as the rate for all three TOU periods.
Ratepayers will automatically see the COVID Recovery rate on their bills with usage between June 1 st – October 31st. The 12.8 cents/kWh rate will be shown as the rate for all three TOU periods.
Will the COVID-19 Recovery Rate have an impact on customer bills?
Historical consumption patterns suggest that the monthly summer bills of most residential and small business customers charged at the COVID-19 Recovery Rate would on average be expected to be within +/- 2 percent of the bill they would have received if they were charged the TOU prices by the Ontario Energy Board on November 1, 2019.
The bill impact for individual customers as a result of the adoption of the COVID-19 Recovery Rate will depend on how much electricity they use and the extent to which their consumption pattern is different from what it has been in the past.
Illustrative Bill Comparison Examples:
- ·Compared to regular time-of-use rates, the average consumer (700kWh monthly consumption, 64% off-peak, 18% mid-peak, 18% off-peak) would not see a bill change when charged the COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents/kWh.
- oCompared to regular time-of-use rates, a consumer who uses 700kWh a month but has an atypical consumption pattern (45% off-peak, 25% mid-peak, 30% on-peak) would see a bill decrease of approximately $9.47 when charged the COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents/kWh.
- oCompared to regular time-of-use rates, a consumer who uses 700kWh a month with a consumption pattern of 55% off-peak, 20% mid-peak, 25% on-peak would see a bill decrease of approximately $4.99 when charged the COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents/kWh.
- ·Compared to the emergency TOU rate relief off-peak price of 10.1 cents/kWh, the average customer (700kWh monthly consumption) would see a bill increase of approximately $16.13 when they are moved to the COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents/kWh.
That’s a big price increase on June 1. Won’t that create hardship if people have not gone back to work, kids are still home from school, and small businesses are already struggling?
Compared to having peak/mid-peak/off-peak rates, the 12.8¢/kWh rate would better reflect ongoing adjustments to Ontarians’ working/living arrangements.
A price that doesn’t vary by time of day is a simple way to enhance predictability for residential, small business and farm customers about their costs at a time when their electricity use might be a lot different than it is normally. This rate provides stability for Ontarians who are working and learning from home over the warm summer months.
This rate is based on the forecasted average RPP supply cost, calculated by the Ontario Energy Board as of November 1, 2019.
The government’s primary focus remains protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians, while taking measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives
Will tiered rate customers also be receiving the lower rate?
Tiered customers will not be affected by the new fixed price. The initial rate reduction was targeted to TOU ratepayers, as those were the customers that would see the greatest increase in cost due to being home during the day. There are approximately 5 million residential consumers, farms and some small businesses who are on TOU electricity prices under the RPP.
The remainder of RPP customers either pay tiered prices or have opted out of the RPP to sign a contract with an electricity retailer or to pay market-based pricing. At the present time, RPP customers who pay tiered rates make up less than 5% of RPP consumers.
This pricing change would not apply to RPP customers who pay tiered rates. It would also not apply to consumers who have opted out of RPP to sign a contract with an electricity retailer.
The Ontario Energy Board has extended the winter tier prices and the winter thresholds also remain in place until further notice. By keeping the winter threshold in place, residential customers will have an additional 400kWh/month available at the lower Tier 1 price.
The government has said that the new fixed price will be in place until October 31, 2020. What happens then?
The OEB expects to set new TOU and tiered RPP prices effective November 1, 2020. The OEB will do a new forecast of the cost to supply electricity to RPP customers for the November 1, 2020 to October 31, 2021 period, and will base the new TOU and tiered RPP prices on that new forecast.
Those RPP prices will also include an adjustment to account for any difference between prior prices and the actual cost of electricity supply over the previous 12 months. Under the RPP, prices are set so that, over time, RPP customers pay the actual cost of the power they use.
The government has announced that it intends to enable customer choice for RPP customers on TOU pricing. This initiative would allow RPP TOU customers to opt out of the TOU prices that the OEB expects to set for November 1, 2020 and instead pay tiered prices.
The Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines has indicated that the government will be looking to the OEB to develop the rules to implement the customer choice initiative, which is expected to be available on November 1, 2020. More information, including how to make an informed choice about which price structure is right for you, will be made available over the coming months.