Electricity retailers are independent brokers who arrange contracts between electricity buyers and energy sellers. Typically, they offer contracts that lock in a fixed price of the electricity component of the bill, often for one-to five-year periods.
You should remember that retailers usually quote only on the “commodity” or electrical component of your bill – typically about 50 per cent of the total charges. Other components of your bill include transmission and distribution charges which are still regulated and apply to all consumers.
You have three options when buying electricity:
- Regulated Price Plan (RPP) — you pay a regulated price per kWh for the electricity you use. RPP prices are set by the Ontario Energy Board and may change twice a year, in May and November.
- Electricity Retailer — you pay the contracted price per kWh for the electricity you use. Your contract with the electricity retailer only affects the “Electricity” line of your bill. This price is determined by the electricity retailer and is not regulated by the Ontario Energy Board. Usually the price is fixed for a number of years, but it may change during the term of the contract.
- Spot Market Pricing (only available if you have an interval meter) — you pay actual wholesale market prices for electricity which change every hour.
If you choose to sign with an electricity retailer or pay the spot market pricing. Brantford Power will continue to bill you for “Delivery,” “Regulatory Charges” and “Debt Retirement Charges.”
The best choice will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you leave the Regulated Price Plan, you will need to settle your Regulated Price Plan account with Brantford Power, since the stable price you’ve been paying may not reflect the cost of electricity up to that time. You will receive or pay your share of the difference (called the “RPP Settlement”) between the amount that all Regulated Price Plan consumers have paid for electricity and the amount that has been paid to electricity generators. This will be calculated by your utility according to a formula established by the OEB.
Retail Energy Contracts
If you are approached to sign or renew an electricity contract for your home or small business, it’s important to know who you’re dealing with.
Five things to remember if you are approached to sign an energy contract:
- Always make sure you get a business card and look at the salesperson’s ID badge first
- Don’t share personal information (i.e. your gas or electricity bill) unless you are sure you want to sign a contract
- Carefully read the contract, disclosure statement and price comparison provided by the salesperson
- After you acknowledge receipt of the contract, you have 10 days to cancel it. Take the time to read the contract in detail again and research any questions you may have. You can also cancel an electricity contract up to 30 days after you receive your first bill under the contract
- The Ontario Energy Board and Brantford Power do not go door to door
Returning to the Regulated Price Plan
If you terminate your contract before the expiry date with an energy retailer you may have to pay a charge. That charge will be specified in your contract with the retailer. When terminating your contract, you will automatically return to the Regulated Price Plan.
For more information, visit the Ontario Energy Board’s website at: http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca