The Ontario Energy Board is expected to rule this month on whether it will eliminate a Hydro One seasonal rate class which could cost its local customers.

Hydro One sent a letter to seasonal customers Aug. 13 outlining the latest on the situation. The energy provider said it continues to argue against the class elimination, which provides reduced rates.

Hydro One said it told the energy board in a July 19 report that this change would have a negative effect on more than half of seasonal customers.

“We have presented an alternative solution that would protect the majority of seasonal customers that do not qualify for the subsidies available for year-round residents,” Hydro One said in the email. “We owe it to our customers to present the OEB with a better solution and to work to ensure that our regulator reconsidered this decision.”

The discussion on the class elimination began in 2015. The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) directed Hydro One to develop a report to eliminate the class and migrate users to other residential classes based on population density. Hydro One said the OEB is concerned that seasonal customers who are high-volume users of electricity are paying a disproportionate share of the energy costs.

Hydro One has reported the change would result in only a small positive impact for high-use seasonal customers, while a higher number of lowuse customers would see a negative impact.

Hydro One is instead proposing the seasonal rate class be kept. With all residential classes changing to all-fixed distribution rates by 2024, Hydro One is instead recommending a cap be put in place to protect high-use customers until that date, to determine the impact that change will have.

The Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations (FOCA) has also pushed against the class change.

“FOCA is concerned about the unrelenting electricity cost increases of our community,” the organization said on its website FOCA also argued the all fixed rate should address the OEB’s concerns.

If the OEB eliminates the seasonal rate, Hydro One said 78,000 of its customers could see their bills increase by $68/month, implemented over several years. Hydro One said it will not receive any financial benefit from the OEB decision and will soon inform its customers about the ruling.

“We intend to continue advocating on your behalf and keeping you informed throughout this process,” Hydro One said in its letter

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