Frequently Asked Questions
You can control your bill by reducing your electricity consumption. The less energy used, the lower the bill. Simple things you can do around your home to reduce energy consumption include:
- Turning off unnecessary lights and appliances
- Resetting the thermostat
- Washing clothes in warm or cold water
- Leaving pot lids on while cooking.
For more, visit our Energy Savings Tips page.
You may have used more or less energy than your neighbour. The more energy you use, the higher your bill will be. Your neighbour may also have a different billing period, or your neighbour may have signed a contract with a retail company. Different retail companies have different contract rates and terms. In addition, the age and type of appliances your have may affect your bill. Newer and more energy efficient appliances, such as a furnace or AC unit can help keep bills low.
Ontario’s electricity market opened to competition on May 1, 2002. This gave customers the choice of purchasing their electricity from a retail company, or continuing to purchase it from their local distribution company, Essex Powerlines. Customers who signed contracts with electricity retail companies pay their contracted rate, regardless of what the fluctuating rate is on the spot market. Essex Powerlines does not have specific rate information for each retail company. Therefore, Essex Powerlines cannot determine if a customer will actually save money.
Essex Powerlines is responsible for delivering electricity to all customers in its distribution area, whether they choose a retail contract or the market rate. These charges include the delivery charge and the fixed charge for operating, maintaining and improving our electricity delivery system, infrastructure, billing and information services.
For all customers, Essex Powerlines continues to have two important functions:
- We ensure the safe, reliable delivery of electricity, generated by other organizations, to homes and businesses; and
- We bill customers both for our services and for the services provided by other organizations in the Ontario electricity system.
To report a power outage, visit our Power Outage Information page and fill out the form.
Ongoing power outage information can be found on our website under Power Outage Information, or through our social media channels. Please follow @essexpowerlines on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-date power outage information and other related material.
To sign up for online billing, or to review your bill online, sign up for MyAccount. MyAccount is an online service that allows you to gain access to do the following:
- 24/7 access to view your bill and billing history
- View and pay your bill
- View your electricity use
- Sign up for services like paperless billing
When you sign up for paperless billing on MyAccount, you will receive an email each time a new bill has been issued.
You must have a valid email address.
To update your billing address without changing your service address, please call our Essex Powerlines’ Customer Service Department at 519-737-6640.
There are multiple ways you can pay your bill. See our Billing Payment Options for more details.
Essex Powerlines does offer an automated credit card payment option. However, credit card companies charge businesses, like Essex Powerlines, a percentage of the payment as a processing fee. Since we are a regulated utility, we do not embed this fee in our service/rates. In order to be fair to all customers, Essex Powerlines has to ensure that the users of the credit card service pay for the service. The service fee goes to Paymentus, the online payment company.
It is important to note that Paymentus does not accept American Express. Please log on to MyAccount or call Essex Powerlines at 519-737-6640 and a Customer Service Representative will help you with any inquiries you may have.
Our office is currently closed to the public. If you should need to speak to someone regarding your bill, please contact our customer service department, 519-737-6640.
Customers can also bring their bill to their financial institution and have the payment withdrawn from their account and sent directly to us by a bank teller- They’re familiar with the process!
Please note that payments must reach our office or be postmarked on or prior to the due date to avoid a late payment charge of 1.5% per month. Essex Powerlines is not responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience that may result.
Yes! Essex Powerlines offers a pre-authorized payment plan. For more information on the Pre-Authorized Payment Plan visit here. To sign up today, login or signup with MyAccount. It’s quick and easy! Your bank account will automatically be debited and you’ll never have to worry about missing a payment again.
Qualifying customers can be billed through our Equal Payment Plan. The plan predicts your bill and allows you to pay a set amount each month. There is no charge for the plan and you can withdraw at any time. Just give us a call! 519-737-6640
Essex Powerlines has state-of-the-art technology that sends a notice to our Managers when a significant power outage occurs. SmartMAP, a tool designed by Essex Powerlines, is in constant communication with control devices installed throughout the city. SmartMAP will alert our Managers and Operators when the power goes out in near real-time.
While we heavily rely on our SmartMAP tool, SmartMAP works at a certain threshold of affected customers. As such, we do rely on our customers to help pinpoint smaller outages affecting homes and businesses in their respective area. Customers can call our service representatives at 519-737-6640 or 519-561-6366 during after hours.
Essex Powerline cannot guarantee a constant power supply because many power outages are due to reasons beyond our control (severe weather, loss of supply, foreign interference, etc.) As such, Essex Powerlines does not reimburse customers for damage occurred during a power outage.
Please refer to your insurance companies for more details.
When current exceeding the capabilities of the system are detected, power is removed temporarily to clear the problem. This may happen multiple times in a row. If the temporary removal of power does not help, then the wire/feeder must be isolated and de-energized until the problem can be discovered. This is usually done by patrolling crews.
These types of temporary faults occur all the time. A branch contacting the line in a high wind, an animal making contact with the wire and ground (ex. A squirrel sitting on a transformer and reaching up to contact the energized top of the transformer bushing), lightning, and tracking during a rainstorm (i.e. surface wetness can conduct electricity temporarily shorting out an energized device) are all examples of occurrences that may cause a temporary fault.
The idea is that the system will react automatically and avoid damage and a lengthy outage for a problem that is very difficult to detect by observation, especially temporary situations. By de-energizing the system temporarily through an auto reclosure, these faults can clear themselves and prevent a device from failing due to overload.
There are many ways to protect your appliances from power surges. Here are some common recommendations:
- Unplug valuable electronics when there are severe weather warnings in place.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets by limiting the number of devices connected to a single outlet.
- Always use a surge protector for your sensitive electronics, such as TVs and computers. Be sure to choose the right surge protector for your needs!
- Consider installing whole home surge protectors. Whole home surge protectors are installed at your home’s main electrical panel. They offer protection and guard an entire household or building from external surges. Before installing, make sure the protector complies with safety codes and regulations. If you are unsure, contact a local electrician.
- Unplug additional appliances/electronics that are not in use. Did you know that when an electronic is plugged in but not necessarily turned on, it still uses something called “phantom” power? Not only will unplugging help you save energy, but it will help protect your electronics from possible power surges.
A brownout happens less frequently than transients or fluctuating voltage but are much more noticeable when they occur. Brownouts seem to occur on those hot muggy days in the heat of summer when everyone has air condition turned on full blast.
Brownouts are defined as longer-term under-voltage conditions lasting from several seconds to several hours, depending on the cause. This type of disturbance can typically be measured with a standard digital or analog voltmeter. They are caused by faults, large changes in the load (such as air conditioners), long-term regulation problems, utility grid overload, or within the power grid.