By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Oshawa residents will soon have the opportunity to choose different programs and billing options for their electricity after the Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation was chosen to be part of a new pilot project from the Ontario Energy Board.
The OPUC, along with providers in Barrie, York Region and London, representing approximately 18,000 customers, will have new options for tailoring hydro billing programs to customers. The new program are likened to the “pick and pay” options now available for some television cable packages.
“We’re excited by it, it was a competitive process to sort of win the favour of the Ontario Energy Board to actually do these trials,” says Ivano Labricciosa, the president and CEO of the OPUC.
Aiming to start in the spring of 2018, Labricciosa says Oshawa residents will have the option to sign up for a pair of pick and pay programs. The first, labelled as a seasonal time of use program will allow residents to have two time-of-use (TOU) periods in the summer and winter while paying a flat rate in spring and fall, or a super peak time of use program which allows for a simplified two-price plan combined with a “super peak” period on weekday afternoons.
For Labricciosa, the new programs offer the opportunity for residents to find a program that suits their lifestyle.
“No one is going to change their lifestyle to shoehorn in a plan, I like to think this is the other way around,” he says. “It’s us figuring out what plan works best for you and helps you develop an envelope.”
Currently, the OPUC is looking for 2,000 customers to sign up for the pilot program, following which they will analyze existing information to see if the household is a good fit.
“We’re trying to use the intelligence to figure out how people are using energy, whether these prospective price plans, or other ones, will be better for them in meeting the customer needs,” Labricciosa says, noting that right now, it’s unclear how affective the programs will be in terms of savings. “It’s a trial, so much like anything else, nobody knows the answers yet. We’re trying to get people to participate, it’s kind of a no-risk trial.”
The OPUC advises that they will be posting further information once it becomes available on their website (www.opuc.on.ca) and state that Oshawa residents interested in taking part in the program can call OPUC customer service at 905-723-4623.