For the majority of Canada’s history, every resident and business in the country paid for their electricity and natural gas at rates that were set by their provincial governments. But by the 1970s, the cost of decaying infrastructure and maintaining massive energy reserves resulted in prices that were significantly higher than those paid by consumers in many other countries.
In response to these concerns, provincial energy markets went through a gradual deregulation process between the 1980s and early 2000s. Now, consumers have the option of purchasing their electricity and natural gas directly from competitive companies, potentially saving a significant amount of money in the process.
However, it’s important to leave a safety net in place for consumers who wish to remain with their local utility companies for one reason or another.
That is why every provincial government has mandated that consumers will have access to regulated rate plans for their energy needs.
While the details vary from province to province, in general, regulated rate plans function similarly to variable rate plans. Every month, an independent agency examines current market conditions, while carefully evaluating market forecasts. Based on the available information, the agency in question will determine the energy rate paid by those on regulated rate plans.
In Alberta, these rates are updated on a monthly basis, with the Alberta Utilities Commission setting the RRO (Regulated Rate Option) rates for most residents of the province. (Read to understand Alberta’s deregulate electricity market.) In Ontario, the Ontario Energy Board updates the two sets of Regulated Rate Plan prices (Time-of-Use and Tiered) on a quarterly basis. In British Columbia BCUC (The British Columbia Utilities Commission) sets fair and reasonable electricity rates. Manitoba has PUB (Public Utilities Board) to regulate electricity and natural gas rates. As for Quebec, Régie de l’énergie, the governmental regulator sets electricity rates. Finally, SRRP (Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel) takes care of reviewing Saskatchewan’s energy rates every five years.
For more information on the details of these differing sets of regulated rate plans, we encourage you to explore the links on this page. If you would like to easily compare the various retail and regulated rates currently available in your area, please try our energy rate comparison form above. With only three pieces of information, you will be able to view always up-to-date tables with information about all of the energy plans currently available in your locale, so that you can find the plan that best suits you and your needs.