Time for Ontario to widen peak/off-leak rate gap in TOU pricing
Results from a pilot project in Oklahoma show that having a wider TOU price gap will encourage more peak-period conservation and shifting of electricity use, a finding that contrasts with the experience in Ontario, where the price gap and the market signal it sends is very weak. In the Oklahoma trial, pricing ranged from 4.2 cents (U.S.) for off-peak times and up to 46 cents for critical peaks, compared to a range of 5.1 to 9.9 cents at an Ontario utility such as Toronto Hydro.
Some participants in the Oklahoma pilot achieved a 57 per cent reduction in energy use during peak periods compared to a control group, while the average reduction was 33 per cent during highest-price periods. Widening the TOU price range in Ontario is crucial to realizing the benefits of smart meters and to enabling competitive services from third-party retailers, including storage services.