Hydro One (TSX:H) announced Thursday it’s resuming its Winter Relief Fund in support of low-income customers during the coldest months.
Half of Canadians say they can’t keep up with the cost of living, according to an Angus Reid Institute poll from February. Those polled indicated they couldn’t manage a sudden expense of over $1,000 if it were to arise. The three largest culprits putting the weight on Canadian’s household budgets include food, gasoline and energy.
The Winter Relief Fund was implemented originally in 2020 as pandemic relief, and has since helped tens of thousands of customers access $11 million in financial relief from both Hydro One and governmental programs.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a small segment of our customers fall further and further behind. We continue to encourage customers who are experiencing financial hardship to contact our customer care team to access the relief, flexibility and choice available to them,” said Spencer Gill, vice president, customer service, Hydro One.
Winter Relief Fund provides support in the coldest months
Beyond financial support, Hydro One helps out in other ways. Customers can choose their own billing date and pricing plan with options being time of use or tiered. Also, customers can sign up to get high usage notifications in order to keep an eye on their consumption. This works best when customers set up budget billing to flatten spikes in electricity usage usually associated with heating and cooling. Hydro One’s program also offers to connect customers with appropriate low-cone programs while offering payment flexibility, such as a customized payment plan.
“Ontario is continuing to provide immediate bill relief to electricity consumers and ensuring additional support is available to families when they need it,” said Todd Smith, Ontario’s Minister of Energy.
Hydro One is Ontario’s largest electricity transmission and distribution provider, serving over 1.5 million customers. It had approximately $30.4 billion in assets as of December 31, 2021 and annual revenues of $7.2 billion.