Hydro One says electricity rates for some seasonal cottagers could jump by nearly $1,000 a year if Ontario's energy watchdog makes good on a plan to eliminate a customer class geared to them. The utility says the Ontario Energy Board -- which regulates the sector -- has asked it to cut a seasonal customer category that applies specifically to cottagers

The company says it opposes the change and that it would mean over half of its customers -- 84,000 cottagers -- would see their rates jump. Hydro One says the OEB has ordered it to mitigate the impact of any potential change larger than 10 per cent a year, which means incremental increases would be brought in until a customer is paying the new rate.
The OEB says the seasonal class isn't working because all users in it aren't paying their fair share.

Hydro One says the OEB proposal would result in moving cottagers to other rate classes. It filed a report last month with the energy watchdog that said the impact of the change would outweigh the benefits.

 "The elimination of the seasonal class ... results in only a small benefit for some seasonal customers at the expense of large negative impacts for other seasonal customers," the report says.  Hydro One says moving seasonal customers to a residential class would result in an increase of $68 a month for 78,000 customers, and a reduction of $7 a month for roughly 70,000 customers. The company says while the rate impacts would be capped at 10 per cent as ordered by the OEB, the gradual increases would need to be in place for a decade to ease customers into the new rates.

The OEB has not made a final decision on the plan and Hydro One says it will require time to notify its customers regardless of the outcome.
"We intend to continue advocating on the behalf of our customers and keeping them informed throughout this process," the company says in a statement on its website.