Ottawa, ONTARIO—The federal and provincial governments announced Wednesday that they would start implementing changes to their electricity pricing regimes by the spring, with gas and electric providers starting to see the most significant price changes in the region.
“This is a very important step forward for the energy sector,” said Energy Minister Brad Duguid in a release.
“Gas prices have been frozen since the early 1980s and our goal is to ensure that consumers are able to continue to have access to reliable, affordable electricity for years to come.”
Ontario and Quebec announced their own changes in April.
Ontario will start charging consumers an average of $1.90 a month for gas, a jump of more than $100 over last year.
Ontario Power Generation will charge customers an average $2.00 a month starting in July, a rise of $100, and Hydro One will charge $1 a month beginning in October.
B.C. will start starting charging $2 a month on July 1, a 20 per cent increase over last month.
The changes will apply to residential customers, and to commercial and industrial customers.
Ottawa and Nova Scotia will start hiking their electricity rates starting in May.
Ottawa’s new rate hike will be the first in the province’s history, but it is the largest in Canada.
The province will also introduce a “co-payment” system, in which consumers can choose between the utility and the utility’s gas supplier for gas.
The co-payment is intended to lower costs by helping to mitigate the impact of price increases on customers.
“Electricity prices are going up and they are going to go up,” Duguid said.
“We need to make sure that the price increases that are coming down the pipeline are not going to be as high as they have been in the past.”
Ontario’s plan to start charging customers $2 per month is the biggest in Canada and the biggest jump since 2003.
Ottawa also announced Wednesday it will begin charging consumers more for their electricity, beginning in March.
Ontario’s new price hike will come as the province begins to roll out a plan to gradually phase in new regulations on the industry, including a mandatory carbon price.
The provincial government announced Wednesday the province will start phasing in a carbon price starting next year, with an initial price of $3.70 a tonne by 2020.
New Brunswick will start the new carbon price at $2 by 2021, and Nova Scotians will be charged an initial $1 by 2019.
Quebec will start levying a $3 carbon tax on electricity generation starting in 2020.
The provinces will also start phoning in new measures to protect the environment, including increasing fuel efficiency requirements for new electric vehicles, and mandating emissions-trading schemes for power plants.
Duguid added that Quebec’s plans to phase out coal by 2030 would save $6 billion a year in the electricity sector and $5 billion a decade in health care.
The governments also announced that the provinces will be working on an agreement to end carbon taxes in Quebec, a move the provinces say will create tens of thousands of jobs.
Ontario has said it will phase out its carbon tax in 2021, a plan Duguid hopes will create an additional $6.3 billion in revenue for the province.
Duguid said the governments are committed to working with industry to bring a transition to a carbon-free electricity system to the province by the time the provincial election in 2019 rolls around.
He said the province is also working with other jurisdictions on a plan for electric vehicle charging.
“It’s going to happen,” Duguidy said.
The electricity sector will also see some major price hikes by the middle of the year.
Gas prices will rise by $1 to $3 a month by April, and the wholesale electricity rate will rise from $3 to $7.50 by the beginning of May.
The wholesale price of gas in Ontario will jump from $2 to $5 by the summer, and then from $5 to $8 by September.
The new rates will be effective in April and will take effect July 1.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s new electric rate will increase by an average 20 per per cent by 2019, with a maximum increase of 20 per 100,000 people.
Quebec’s new electricity rate is also increasing by an incremental 20 per one per cent over the same time frame.
The government will also announce that electricity prices in Ontario, B.S. and Newfoundland and also New Brunswick and Nova Star will increase for consumers.
Bidders for electricity contracts in Ontario and B.K. will be given an average increase of $10 a year, while consumers in Ontario can expect a 10 per cent price hike in 2019.
Dugiud said it is important to recognize that the provincial electricity price hikes will have an impact on consumers across the province, and that the government will be monitoring the prices of residential customers and businesses to ensure they are being charged fairly.
Ontario also announced it