Customers get a little relief starting in January

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At recent Board meetings, the Boards of the electric and water utilities reviewed options for the 2016 budgets. The PUC Boards are pleased to announce they have approved budgets for 2016 that mitigate provincial increases to electricity delivery.

On January 1st, 2016, the Province will be removing the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OCEB) from Ontario’s electricity bills for residential and small business customers. Presently the OCEB provides a 10% reduction on electricity bills. Removal of this credit will result in a 10% increase in electricity bills across the board. While elimination of the OCEB is beyond PUC’s control, the Board and management of PUC recognized the negative impact this will have on the community. With that in mind, the PUC Board directed staff to develop a budget for 2016 that would mitigate the cost increase.

“The PUC works hard to keep costs down for our customers”, says PUC President Dominic Parrella. “PUC’s electric rates are consistently ranked as one of the 4th lowest across the province, and are the lowest in Northern Ontario. Staff worked hard to present the Board with a budget that was sensitive to the community’s difficult economic environment and that mitigated the bill increase caused by removal of the OCEB, while still meeting our operational needs”.

“The Board knew that directing staff to find ways to mitigate the effects of the increase caused with the elimination of the OCEB would be challenging – especially considering that PUC only has control over 18% of the total electricity bill,” says PUC Inc. Chair Jim Boniferro. “I want to commend the Board and staff for their hard work in developing a plan that supports our customers.”

The PUC was able to develop the approved budgets by revising existing financial and asset management plans. The PUC also:
· removed the water rate increase for residential customers and low volume commercial users (under 265 m3 per month) that was previously identified in the PUC’s Financial Plan as 10%.

· revised its electric rates application to the OEB to eliminate its part of the proposed increase for 2016 which will reduce the overall increase to the Delivery Charge from $1.03 per month to $0.65 per month for a customer that uses 800 kWh per month.

“We need to continue finding ways to keep costs as low as possible. City staff worked very hard to lessen the burden on ratepayers by reducing the City’s sewage charge by 38%,” says Mayor Christian Provenzano. “I commend PUC management and staff for doing what they could to alleviate the negative impact that the removal of the OCEB will have on our community. I appreciate the effort they made to assist in keeping costs down during a challenging time for our community.”

With the PUC’s 0% rate increase for residential water users and the City’s reduction of its sewage charge, the average residential customer can expect an approximate reduction of $12.00 per month on their PUC water/sewage bills.

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