Effective November 1, 2022, the OER will provide eligible consumers with an 11.7% rebate from the province on the subtotal of their electricity bill to ensure the average residential bill increase is held to about 2 per cent annually, well below the current levels of inflation.
In addition, the legacy exemption for customers that were previously receiving the 8 per cent rebate under the former Fair Hydro Plan is set to end on October 31, 2022. As was last communicated in March 2022, these customers will no longer receive the OER beginning November 1, 2022. However, they will continue to benefit from the Comprehensive Electricity Plan (CEP).
Effective July 1, 2022, the following types of consumer accounts will become eligible for OER:
Common areas in individually metered multi-unit complexes that contain at least 50 per
cent residential units, such as condominiums
Residential mobile home parks, and
Retirement residences that are not long-term care homes, but do not meet eligibility
criteria as a residential multi-unit complex.
1. Common areas in residential multi-unit complexes such as condominium buildings
Previously, in multi-unit complexes where the distributor directly meters the individual units and the common area account has its own meter, the common area account would not qualify for the OER, unless it had a demand of less than 50 kW or used less than 250,000 kWh a year. The amendments will change this. Accounts that are at least partly in relation to any common elements of a multi-unit complex and that exceed the demand and use thresholds will qualify, as long as the complex is predominantly residential (specifically, the complex must contain at least two “qualifying units”, and at least 50% of the units in the complex must be qualifying units).
2. Retirement residences
The amendments add retirement residences to the list of eligible accounts. These are multi-unit complexes (other than long-term care homes, which were already eligible) where at least 50% of the units are occupied or intended to be occupied as a permanent residence by people aged 65 or older (who are not related to the operator of the complex), and where at least six people aged 65 or older live.
3. Mobile home parks
Mobile home parks, as defined in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, are also added to the list of eligible accounts. That definition is: “‘mobile home park’ means the land on which one or more occupied mobile homes are located and includes the rental units and the land, structures, services and facilities of which the landlord retains possession and that are intended for the common use and enjoyment of the tenants of the landlord”. “Mobile home” is defined in the same Act as: “a dwelling that is designed to be made mobile and that is being used as a permanent residence” (emphasis added). On the other hand, trailer parks that are not mobile home parks (such as facilities for seasonal use rather than permanent residence) are expressly excluded.
In order to receive the OER, consumers who qualify under the expanded eligibility requirements will need to submit a one-time notice to their electricity distributor, in which they attest to their eligibility. This is similar to the notice that must currently be provided in respect of a multi-unit complex. Like such a multi-unit complex notice, a notice in respect of a common area, a retirement residence or a mobile home park must be given in person, by mail or by such other means as the distributor may permit.
Consumers that are currently receiving the OER under the grandfathering regulatory provisions will continue to receive the rebate until October 31, 2022. When the OER was introduced, a grandfathering period was also put in place for consumers that were previously receiving the 8% rebate as of October 22, 2019, if they met prescribed requirements to provide notice to their electricity vendor before February 1, 2021. The grandfathering period was scheduled to end on April 30, 2021.
For questions about eligibility, please contact your electricity distribution company or the Ontario Energy Board.