OTTAWA -- It will cost you more to turn on the lights over the next five years, as Hydro Ottawa aims to boost spending on capital projects.

The utility has applied to the Ontario Energy Board for permission to increase electricity distribution rates an average of 4.4 per cent a year between between 2021 and 2025. 

The utility says the rate increase is needed to cover the cost of capital investments required to maintain system reliability and safety, and invest in infrastructure and equipment.

Under the proposal, Hydro Ottawa would increase the distribution portion of hydro bills for residential customers using 750 kWh per month:

  • 2021: $1.31 a month
  • 2022: $2.18 a month
  • 2023: $1.84 a month
  • 2024: $0.98 a month
  • 2025: $0.61 a month

Hydro Ottawa says other customers, including businesses, may also be affected by the rate increases.

In its filing for the Ontario Energy Board, Hydro Ottawa says it anticipates a “sustained need to undertake significant levels of capital investment in its distribution system, in order to maintain reliability and service quality for its customers.”

Hydro Ottawa plans to spend $503 million on capital investments between 2021 and 2025. Investments include:

  • Building new distribution stations in growing areas of the city
  • Supporting local infrastructure projects like Light Rail Transit
  • Upgrading and modifying infrastructure to enhance reliability and capacity on the grid
  • Replacing equipment that has reached end-of-life
  • Investing in digital solutions to enhance customer service
  • Renewing the vehicle fleet

In a message to customers, Hydro Ottawa says “moving forward on our five-year plan will enable us to maintain a high level of reliability for customers, while ensuring that we keep costs low and continuously improve the way we do business.”

If approved by the Ontario Energy Board, the hydro rate increases would begin on Jan. 1, 2021.

Hydro Ottawa is the third largest municipally-owned distributor in Ontario. It serves approximately 340,000 customers a day.