Orangeville Hydro to offer new overnight user rate option

June 8, 2023   ·   0 Comments


The town has reaped a little more than $21-million in dividends from Orangeville Hydro since its incorporation.

Of that amount, the municipality’s take was almost $460,000 this year, said Bob Long, chairperson of the utility’s board of directors.

He told council during its June 5 meeting that Orangeville Hydro had a very good year in 2022, despite a nasty December blizzard and supply issues from Hydro One. Staff and the utility’s top brass managed very well, he said.

The power company refunded $265,000 to customers last year to make up for overbilling caused by a snafu when, some years ago, about 15 local distribution companies charged based on a 50-week year as opposed to the actual 52-week year.

“Half of that was the town’s $133,000,” he said.

Rob Koekkoek, the utility’s president, and Amy Long, chief financial officer, presented Orangeville Hydro Ltd.’s 2022 financial report to council.

Koekkoek said last year was a big one for construction projects, with a lot of the 1970s infrastructure overhauled. The pole replacement program and the replacement of failed transformers continued as well.

The west feeder that served three parts of town with a number of neighbourhoods was converted.

New homes in Orangeville and Grand Valley were connected to the power service. Orangeville owns 94.5 per cent of the utility, while Grand Valley owns 5.5 per cent.

The regulated price plan administered a tiered price structure and a time of use rate structure that based customer costs on the daily peaks and lulls of power use.

“Historically up until about 2017, you’ll see that electricity rates were climbing, climbing, climbing,” Koekkoek said.

And then, the Ontario Fair Hydro Plan came into effect to offset some of the financial loads on customers through tax dollar subsidies.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused some volatility in power usage, price structure, and subsidies.

“Currently, the tiered rates and time of use rates have now settled and we don’t expect them to be adjusted other than Nov. 1 of each year,” Koekkoek said.

Orangeville Hydro will introduce a third power rate option called the ultra-low overnight, which changes the time of use structure, he said.

Koekkoek said the really low overnight rate is an incentive for electric vehicle owners to use the nighttime hours to recharge their vehicles. The load on the power grid is typically lower at night, Koekkoek said.

“Yes, you get the ultra-low overnight [rate] but there is an increased on-peak rate that is fairly high,” he said. “So there is a trade-off.”

He said Orangeville Hydro is working with other electric utilities and customer information service providers to get an online portal where customers can see their usage and decide which would be the best rate for them.

Amy Long said the total operating, maintenance, and administration expense last year was $3.7 million compared to $3.4 million the previous year.

That’s two per cent over the budgeted expenses for 2022, she said.

“Our operations, maintenance, and administration expenses were higher in 2022 mainly due to increased tree-trimming costs to improve our system reliability,” she said, and added that other contract costs also increased last year.

Capital expenditures in 2022 were $2.9 million, which was 31 per cent above what had been budgeted.

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