Your Electricity Bill
Explanation of Charges
Below is a sample electricity bill for consumers on time-of-use (TOU) pricing. Descriptions for each line item are provided below.
If you have a contract with an energy retailer or are thinking about signing with one, your bill might look a little different. Click here to see how.
You can also compare your utility bill with a bill based on a contract with an electricity retailer using our bill calculator.
This line of the bill shows the price you are paying for the electricity you used during the billing period. Low-volume consumers (households and small businesses) who buy their electricity from their utility pay either tiered or time-of-use (TOU) prices. These prices, referred to as Regulated Price Plan or RPP prices, are set by the OEB based on a forecast of how much it will cost to supply electricity to RPP consumers over the next 12 months. RPP prices are designed so that the price RPP consumers pay for electricity recovers the payments made to electricity generators for the electricity they produce (including both market costs and the Global Adjustment). Twice a year, the OEB reviews the forecast and, if necessary, adjusts prices accordingly (May 1st and Nov 1st).
Your utility buys the electricity it supplies to you from the wholesale market. The RPP prices you pay allow your utility to recover that supply cost. Utilities are not permitted to make a profit on the sale of electricity to consumers.
This line of the bill shows the cost of delivering electricity from generating stations across the Province to your home or business via the high voltage (transmission) and low voltage (distribution) electricity systems.
All the charges on the Delivery line of the bill are approved by the OEB. Some of the charges are fixed at a set amount per month. Others are variable and increase or decrease depending on the amount of electricity you have used. Delivery charges include:
- Customer Service Charge: A fixed monthly charge intended to allow your utility to recover the costs associated with meter reading, billing, customer service and account maintenance, and general utility operations.
- Distribution Charge: A variable per kilowatt-hour (kWh) charge intended to allow your utility to recover the cost of building and maintaining its low-voltage distribution system, including overhead and underground distribution lines, poles, and transformer stations. View utility electricity distribution rate applications and decisions.
- Transmission Charge: A variable per kWh charge intended to allow your utility to recover the charges it pays towards the operation and maintenance of the high-voltage transmission system that carries electricity from generating stations to the utility.
When electricity is delivered over a power line, it is normal for a small amount of power to be consumed, or lost, as heat. In calculating your electricity costs for the billing period, your utility multiplies your cost of electricity by a Board-approved adjustment factor that accounts for those losses.
- If your utility supplies your electricity, this adjustment is made to the Delivery line of your bill
- If you are on a retail contract, this adjustment is made to the Electricity line of your bill
1. The Wholesale Market Service Charge covers the cost of services provided by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to operate the wholesale electricity market and maintain the reliability of the high voltage power grid. It also covers certain costs incurred by local utilities to connect renewable generation. Although the Wholesale Market Service Charge is set by the Board to allow these costs to be passed on to consumers, the Board does not set or approve all of the costs that are recovered through that charge. The description below notes which charges are approved by the Board.
Included within this charge:
- Physical Limitations and Losses: When electricity is delivered over a transmission line, it is normal for a small amount of power to be consumed, or lost, as heat. Also covered are other costs incurred by the IESO to operate the high voltage power grid.
- Energy Reliability: Sometimes the balance between generation and demand is affected by an unanticipated event, such as equipment failure or a surge in consumption. The IESO purchases reserve electricity that is available on short notice to restore the balance.
- IESO Administration Fee: The IESO charges an administrative fee to manage the high voltage power system and operate the wholesale electricity market in Ontario. The OEB annually sets the fee that can be charged by the IESO.
- OPA Administration Fee: This fee pays for the administration costs of the OPA, whose mandate includes planning for generation, demand management, conservation and transmission in the province. The OEB annually sets the fee that can be charged by the OPA. This fee does not include the costs payable under contracts for generation supply or for delivery of conservation and demand management programs that are entered into by the OPA. (Note: The Ontario Power Authority merged with the Independent Electricity System Operator on January 1, 2015)
- Rural and Remote Electricity Rate Protection: This charge is collected by the IESO to pay certain electricity distributors who provide electricity service in rural and remote areas. It helps to offset the higher cost of providing service to consumers in those areas. The charge is calculated annually by the OEB in accordance with rules set out in regulations.
- Renewable Connections: Some of the costs incurred by a utility to connect renewable generation facilities can be recovered from consumers throughout the province. This cost recovery is subject to OEB approval.
2. The Standard Supply Service Charge covers a portion of a utility’s administrative costs to provide electricity to customers that purchase their electricity from the utility (i.e. customers that are not served by a retailer). This charge is set by the OEB and is the same for all utilities across the province.
Debt Retirement Charge (DRC)
This 0.7¢/kWh charge is set by the Ontario Ministry of Finance and is used by the government to pay down the residual stranded debt of the former Ontario Hydro.
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OCEB)
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit takes 10% off the cost of up to 3,000 kWh/month of electricity use. Some exceptions apply, please see Ontario.ca/OCEB or 1-888-668-4636. To learn more about how Ontario is building a strong, clean electricity system, visit Ontario.ca/energyplan.
Your power utility measures your electricity use in kilowatt hours, abbreviated as kWh. One kilowatt hour is the same thing as using 1,000 watts of electricity for one hour. So if you run 10 100-watt light bulbs for one hour, you’ve used 1 kWh of electricity.
You could burn a 60-watt bulb for nearly 17 hours to consume the same amount of energy.
Consider replacing that same 60-watt bulb with a 15-watt compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb. The 15-watt CFL bulb produces roughly the same brightness but uses one-quarter the electricity. And it will take 67 hours to consume the same amount of electricity.
Customer Service Rules for Electricity Help for Low-Income Consumers (LEAP) Electricity Prices Time-of-use Holiday Schedule How Electricity Prices are Set Video: How are Delivery Rates Set?
Page last updated 2015-01-27