Farm customers are eligible for the Regulated Price Plan and/or the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit, regardless of their electricity consumption.
Regulated Price Plan (RPP)
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) sets the commodity rates for the Regulated Price Plan (RPP). Residential customers, small businesses, farm customers and others who are considered low-volume users of electricity (designated customers) can purchase their power through the Regulated Price Plan. More information about the RPP is available on the OEB website.
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit
The Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OCEB) provides a 10 per cent reduction on the total electricity bill for residential and small-business customers. Hydro Ottawa began applying the Benefit to these customers' electricity bills when it came into effect on January 1, 2011.
Some farmers are currently not receiving the OCEB even though they may be eligible.
These customers can self-declare their eligibility to receive the OCEB and or RPP by filling out a self-declaration form and return it to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Eligible customers will receive the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit retroactive to January 1, 2011.
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OCEB) amendments
The Ontario Ministry of Energy has made changes to the OCEB. Effective September 1st, 2012, the amendment will limit the 10% reduction to the first unadjusted 3,000 kWh per month of consumption. The eligibility criteria have not changed and residential, farms and business customers will still qualify.
Customers who require the use of medical equipment that runs on electricity which is prescribed by a medical practitioner can be exempted from the 3,000kWh/month cap by submitting a form. Please download and return the completed exemption form below or contact us.
What is Farm Stray Voltage and What Causes It?
Electrical systems, both farm systems and utility distribution systems are grounded to the earth to ensure safety and reliability. Inevitably, some current flows through the earth at each point where the electrical system is grounded and a small voltage develops. This voltage is called neutral-to-earth voltage (NEV).
Stray voltage occurs when equipment that is not supposed to be energized picks up voltage from nearby wires or equipment. It can be found at low levels between two contact points where electricity is grounded.
Farm Stray Voltage
Electrically grounded farm equipment includes metal stabling, feeders, milk pipelines or wet concrete floors.
If an animal touches two contact points with different voltage levels, a small electric current passes through the animal. This occurrence is known as 'stray voltage', 'animal contact voltage' or 'tingle voltage'. Some livestock animals, particularly cows, are so sensitive to electric currents and voltages that they are bothered by small levels that people would not feel.
Reported livestock symptoms for stray voltage
There are also non-electrical causes for the above symptoms such as poor nutrition, high temperatures, infectious diseases, milking machine defects, improper handling of cows and poor environmental conditions such as dirty stalls and muddy pastures.
If stray voltage is suspected, the only way to determine the cause is to have your farm tested by a trained expert.
Causes of Farm Stray Voltage
Hydro Ottawa designs and operates its distribution system in compliance with all applicable codes and regulations. Our regulator, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), requires that we regularly inspect our distribution system.
Stray voltage can originate from two sources, a utilities' electrical distribution system and the farm's electric system. For safety reasons, Hydro Ottawa's neutral system is connected to a farm's grounding system. Some voltage will always exist between the neutral system (ground conductors) and the earth. Grounding is provided to protect people and animals from shocks, but it can also cause stray voltage. On a farm, poor or faulty wiring, unbalanced farm system loading, improper grounding, defective equipment or voltages from telephone lines or gas pipelines are all possible sources.
How are utility contributions to farm stray voltage addressed?
If a utility is found responsible for contributing to farm stray voltage, the utility must take steps to lower its contribution to acceptable levels. The particular solution will depend on the utility's equipment servicing the farm, the extent of the problem and other technical factors.
Common ways of addressing utility contributions to farm stray voltage include installing filtering equipment at the service to the property and installing additional grounding equipment to the utility's neutral conductors.
What should you do if you suspect Stray Voltage problems on your farm?
If you suspect stray voltage problems at your farm, you should first review Hydro Ottawa's Farm Stray Voltage Customer Response Procedure.
If after reviewing this information, you would like Hydro Ottawa to investigate if we are contributing to stray voltage on your livestock farm, please call 613-738-6400 as outlined in the Farm Stray Voltage Customer Response Procedure.
For further information on stray voltages at livestock farms, visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) website.
Hydro Ottawa's Conditions of Service describes its operating practices and connection rules. Download a copy of our Conditions of Service.