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EPCOR applies for rate increase for Collingwood area customers

EPCOR has had to change its request because of a promise made in the 2018 share-sale agreement with the Town of Collingwood not to increase electricity rates for five years
File photo, EPCOR offices on Stewart Road in Collingwood.

Collingwood’s electricity distributor has applied for permission to increase rates next year. 

EPCOR Electricity Distribution Ontario Inc. has an application before the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) currently, requesting the rate hike for 2023, but has to make changes to the application to follow the agreement made with the town when EPCOR purchased Collus PowerStream in 2018.

If the rate increase application is approved, a residential customer would see an increase of $4.86 per month on average, and a general service customer (anything that doesn’t fit under residential) will see an increase of about $12.39 per month.

EPCOR’s original application asked for the rate hikes to be effective Jan. 1, 2023, which contravenes the agreement it made with the Town of Collingwood in 2018 when it purchased Collus PowerStream.

The deal between the town and EPCOR stated EPCOR would implement a one per cent reduction in local electricity rates and would not change the rate for five years. The sale closed in October 2018.

In an emailed statement to CollingwoodToday on Aug. 31, a spokesperson from EPCOR’s media relations department said EPCOR is amending its application that is before the OEB to change the effective date for the rate increase to Oct. 1, 2023. This would push the rate change to exactly five years from the close of the sale.

A document attached to the OEB application filed on Aug. 31, 2022 by EPCOR indicates EPCOR’s intention to change the effective date for the new rates to October instead of January.

“Following recent discussions with the Town of Collingwood, it has come to light that the application must be amended,” states the EPCOR document.

The letter further lists the requirements set out in the share-purchase agreement between EPCOR and the town for the purchase of the former Collus PowerStream Corporation.

As a result of EPCOR's request to change the date the rate changes would take effect, the OEB confirmed EPCOR's rate change application is "in abeyance" until EPCOR files an amended application. This puts the rate increase application on hold for now.

The original application from EPCOR was filed on May 27, 2022 with the OEB. 

According to EPCOR, the fee increase is meant to support growth and maintenance of “a safe, reliable distribution system over a five-year period.”

“To improve reliability as a result of unplanned outages, we plan to incorporate smart devices to restore electricity service at a quicker, safer, and more cost-effective rate,” read the statement. “In addition, we have proposed continued enhancements to the electricity grid to maintain pace with the growing use of electric vehicles, solar panels, and other distributed energy resources.”

EPCOR distributes electricity to customers in Collingwood, Stayner and Creemore and to a portion of the Town of The Blue Mountains. Their Ontario website states they serve nearly 20,000 customers in the area. 

The OEB has not made a final decision on EPCOR’s request for a price increase.

You can read more about EPCOR’s application to the OEB and submit comments online here.

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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