In order to ensure that Ontario residents have access to stable electricity prices, the Ontario Energy Board sets Regulated Price Plan (RPP) prices, of which there are two versions: Time-of-Use and Tiered Pricing. The Ontario Energy Board also sets the regulated price for the Gas Supply Charge. These are the prices charged by regulated utilities to customers who have chosen not to explore the options offered by competitive energy retailers.
There are many regulated utilities in Ontario, the majority of which are small city-owned municipal utilities. However, there are three major utility companies currently operating Ontario which fulfill the vast majority of the province’s energy needs.
Hydro One is the largest distributor of electricity in Ontario, and operates 97% of province’s total transmission infrastructure. It is also provides electricity at regulated rates to approximately 1.3 million customers.
Hydro One was established as the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, or HEPC, in 1906. At the time, its mandate was to build the transmission lines needed to transport electricity from hydro generators at Niagara Falls to Ontario’s residents.
It later became known as Ontario Hydro, and many residents still use that name, even though the company was renamed Hydro One after the company was restructured in response to the deregulation of Ontario’s electricity market.
Enbridge Gas is the single largest distributor of natural gas in Ontario, and provides more than 2 million customers with natural gas at regulated rates.
Enbridge Gas was originally founded as Consumers Gas in 1848, with the sole focus of distributing natural gas. By the early 1900s, it had expanded to opening retail stores that sold appliances powered by electricity and natural gas. In the 1950s, the company completed construction of the world’s longest natural gas pipeline, stretching from Alberta to Montreal.
In 1995, Consumers Gas was acquired by IPL Energy of Calgary, and was rebranded as Enbridge Consumers Gas. Its name was changed again to Enbridge Gas Distribution in 2002.
Union Gas provides natural gas at regulated rates to 1.5 million customers in Ontario. The company was originally founded in 1911 in Niagara Falls, following the consolidation of three private natural gas companies. Shortly thereafter, the company relocated to Chatham, where its headquarters exist today.
The company grew slowly during much of the 20th Century, acquiring its 500 thousandth customer in 1985. In the next 30 years, it tripled in size, accumulating more than 1.5 million customers by 2015.
Union Gas was restructured in 1999 due to the deregulation of the Ontario energy market, and was acquired by Duke Energy in 2002. Union Gas is currently owned by Spectra Energy Corp., which is headquartered in Houston, Texas.