The Ford government will temporarily end time of use electricity rates and move all consumers onto what was the lowest rate as more people are forced home during the day due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senior government officials confirmed to CTV News Toronto that starting Tuesday, all electricity customers will be charged only the lowest or off-peak rate for hydro all day, all night, seven days a week.

The off-peak rate is 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour, while the existing mid-peak rate is 14.4 cents and the peak rate is 20.8 cents per kilowatt hour.

“We’re switching off peak time of use electricity rates,” Ford said, “Saving customers 50 per cent over peak rates for the next 45 days. This means you will pay the lowest rate possible, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The move comes as more and more Ontarians are forced to be at home during the daytime due to self-isolation, loss of their jobs or telecommuting in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, which by Monday had infected more than 500 Ontarians.

The Ontario Energy Board is also suspending disconnections due to lack of payment on electricity or natural gas bills until July 31.

Charging only the lowest time of use rate to all customers will cost the province about $161 million, over an initial run of 45 days, officials said.

Tomorrow, Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips is expected to release an economic statement in lieu of a full annual budget that will likely include more measures to respond to COVID-19.