TORONTO - Hydro rates are coming down just in time for the winter heating season, although mid-peak prices will rise.

The Ontario Energy Board has announced new prices for electricity in the province. Starting Nov. 1, it will lower the off-peak prices to 5.1 cents per kilowatt-hour from 5.3 cents.

The change means the average residential customer using 800 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month will save about $2.80 on each bill, a drop of 2.6 per cent.

The mid-peak rate rises to 8.1 cents from 8 cents. The on-peak rate remains at 9.9 cents per kilowatt-hour.

More than four million Ontario homes have smart meters. Those allow electricity's price to be set by time-of-day use, so people can theoretically save money by doing laundry and dishes in the evening.

All homes and businesses should have them by the end of the year.

Consumers who don't yet have smart meters will pay 6.4 cents per kilowatt-hour, a decline of 0.1 cent, for the first 1,000 kilowatts used each month. After that, they will pay 7.4 cents.

Premier Dalton McGuinty conceded last month that the price differential between the peak and off-peak rates wasn’t enough to allow people to benefit from switching times.

Some people had complained that although they switched times, they were seeing their hydro bills go up instead of down. The price of off-peak hydro had risen about 20 per cent since 2009.

The opposition parties have been constantly attacking the Liberal government over hydro rates. In a new series of TV ads, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak talks about the need to get hydro rates under control.

With files from CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss and The Canadian Press