Large, industrial power users in Ontario were given a much-hoped for break on electricity pricing yesterday that the government said would not result in higher rates for consumers and small businesses.

Over 40 large companies, including Ford, Imperial Oil, Petro Canada and Vale Inco, will be allowed to shift to time-of-use pricing to lower their electricity costs — the same pricing plan available to most homeowners, said Energy Minister Brad Duguid.

The power pricing change will help make those large industrial users more competitive, allowing them to reinvest in their businesses and create more jobs, said Duguid.

The minister dismissed reports that consumer rates could jump as high as $48 a year because of the change to benefit industrial users as “patently false,” and said it would have such a small impact on homeowners as to be effectively neutral.

“It’s more likely to be minimal savings, with a small potential for a very, very small, minimal increase,” said Duguid. “It’s more likely to be minimal savings than any minimal increase.”