Changes in Ontario's Electricity Market
Ontario's competitive electricity market opened on May 1, 2002. This means you can continue to purchase power from the Spot Market (a market in which electricity is traded) through Great Lakes Power, or you can shop around and buy your electricity from a retailer licensed by the Ontario Energy Board. The Ontario Energy Board continues to regulate transmission and distribution rates.
The government of Ontario has changed the market because it believes that opening-up the electricity market to competition will result in greater opportunities for economic development and job creation.
The government and other stakeholders saw that Ontario Hydro's debt had spiraled out of control. This debt, totaling $38.1 billion, was guaranteed by the Ontario government and Ontario taxpayers. That, combined with the worldwide trend of breaking-up monopoly electricity systems in order to promote low-cost electricity through competition, is why the government introduced the Energy Competition Act.
The former Ontario Hydro has been broken into five separate, independent companies. Two of these successor companies, Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPGi) and Hydro One Networks Inc., (HONI), are commercial entities. When the Ontario government moved from a monopoly-based electricity system to a competitive electricity market on May 1, 2002, it meant that electricity can be produced and supplied by any number of companies and sold by licensed retailers.
Other generation companies are now being encouraged to develop power stations in the province to compete with Ontario Power Generation (OPG). This means that there will be a variety of sources of generation in the future.
It is anticipated that competition will introduce price and cost discipline on electricity providers, encourage savings, new ideas and technological innovations. The government also believes that it will be possible for new companies to enter the electricity business - which, in turn, should offer customers better products and services as well as a variety of new pricing options.
In the new marketplace, you now have the opportunity to buy electricity from among a number of Ontario Energy Board licensed electricity retailer companies competing to sell you power. You may purchase electricity from the Spot Market through Algoma Power Inc., or you may purchase electricity from a licensed retailer.
No. If you do not want to switch - then your current supplier, Algoma Power Inc., will continue to supply you with power at a price approved by the Ontario Energy Board.
Should you sign a contract with a electricity retailer, your electricity will continue to be delivered to your residence by Algoma Power Inc., which will be responsible for operating and maintaining the wires.
There is no deadline for making a decision.
You should take your time and compare offers from companies competing to sell you power.
Where can I find information about the changes in the electricity market?
If you have additional questions, or wish to learn more about the electricity market, you can contact the following sources for information:
- Algoma Power Inc. at 705-256-3850 or toll free (in North America) 1-877-457-7378; visit our website at www.algomapower.com, or e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org;
- The Ministry of Energy Science and Technology at a toll free number 1-888-668-4636or e-mail your questions or concerns to the Ministry at email@example.com.
- The Ontario Energy Board's Customer Service Centre at 416-314-2455, or toll free at 1-877-632-2727.
The former Ontario Hydro has been broken into five separate, independent companies. Two of these successor companies, Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPGi) and Hydro One Networks Inc., (HONI), are commercial entities.
- Ontario Power Generation (OPG) will generate electricity and will compete with other generating companies in the new marketplace.
- Hydro One Inc. transmits and distributes electricity through its subsidiary Hydro One Networks Inc. It also has four other subsidiaries: Hydro One Markets Inc., Hydro One Remote Communities Inc., Hydro One Telecom Inc., Ontario Hydro Energy Inc.,
- The Independent Electricity Market Operator (IMO), a not-for-profit crown corporation will run the electricity exchange for the sale and purchasing of power and will arrange for the dispatch of electricity to regulated distribution companies. In turn these distributors will ensure electricity gets to your home.
- The Electrical Safety Authority is responsible for setting the safety standards for wiring installations and equipment and appliance certification.
- A crown agency, the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation, is responsible for determining how electricity customers will pay down Ontario Hydro's debt.