Ontario eyeing discount electricity rates for low-demand public EV charging stations
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EV Charging
May 1, 2024
Mehanaz Yakub

The proposed discounted rate structure will be available in January 2026, pending Ontario Energy Board approvals

Photo: Electric Autonomy

The proposed discounted rate structure will be available in January 2026, pending Ontario Energy Board approvals

The Ontario government is taking steps to increase access to public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations by exploring options to introduce new discounted electricity rates for charging stations in low-demand areas.

The announcement was made by Todd Smith, the province’s energy minister, at Electric Autonomy‘s second annual EV & Charging Expo today in Toronto.

“Today, the EV chargers that are found in areas with lower demand experience sharp peaks in demand when an EV is plugged in and charging, but the overall energy consumption is low because they’re not used for most of the day,” said Smith, in the Expo’s opening session.

Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, makes the announcement at the EV & Charging Expo 2024

“The existing rate structure makes these stations very expensive to operate and the unfortunate result is that electric vehicle charging stations that are expected to have a low utilization are either not built or they’re operating at a loss.”

To address these challenges in low EV demand areas, the provincial government and the Ontario Energy Board are beginning public consultations this month to design a new retail transmission service rate for public EV charging stations that operate at 50kW and above.

If the OEB approves the new rate structure, this will reduce the electricity costs for charging infrastructure where demand is only beginning to emerge.

Local distribution companies could begin offering the new rate to public EV charging providers as early as January 1, 2026.

Province supporting EV initiatives

Along with his announcement about the retail transmission service rate proposal, Smith also recapped a number of recent Ontario government initiatives to support the adoption of EVs and make charging infrastructure more accessible.

So far, through the EV ChargeON program, the government has invested $91 million to install chargers outside of large urban centres, such as community hubs, carpool parking lots, and provincial parks. Charging stations have also been installed at 20 ONroute rest stops along the 400 and 401 highways.

“We know how important it is to support the rollout of EV charging stations across the province giving drivers the confidence to make the switch,” said Smith.

The government has also created a streamlined standard for all local distribution companies and utilities to follow when installing EV charging infrastructure.

Additionally, Ontario offers an Ultra-Low Overnight price plan. This plan allows EV owners to save up to $90 annually through using electricity during the night when demand is lower.

“All this work and more is bringing us closer to a clean energy future that’s driven by electrification,” said Smith.

“In the end, all of this work is going to give us the power to champion advancements in green technology like the ones that you see all around you here at the Enercare Centre as part of this conference today.”

By 2030, the government expects that there will be over a million electric cars driving in the province.

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