On August 25, 2020, the Ontario Energy Association (OEA) released a report produced by Power Advisory LLC that shows Ontario could reduce rate pressure on existing customers by introducing policies to increase electricity load. COVID-19 presents a good opportunity for Ontario to examine its current electricity policies related to load growth for the benefit of existing ratepayers.
The paper also looks at several ways this can be done, including implementing programs and/or policies that increase demand and introducing low-cost allocations of energy that better utilize the province’s surplus generation.
This report, titled Policies to Incent Load Growth to Reduce Electricity Costs for Existing Ontario Customers, can be read here.
On April 29, 2020, the Ontario Energy Association (OEA) released a policy paper outlining ways the Ontario government can reduce its nearly $6 billion of annual spending on electricity subsidies, while still offering targeted financial relief to those who need it most. In its paper, Help Those Who Need Help, the OEA notes the Ontario government spends roughly $6 billion annually subsidizing electricity rates for households, the majority of which do not need the subsidy.
Should the government remain on the same trajectory, it will spend at least $228 billion over the next 25 years subsidizing electricity rates.
This report can be read here.
COVID-19 ENERGY UPDATES & RESOURCES
During the COVID-19 crisis, the OEA wants to ensure Ontarians that our energy sector is taking all necessary steps to ensure the continued safe operation of our energy infrastructure. Our highest priority is to ensure the continuity of vital electricity and natural gas services to all households, businesses and service providers during this time.
The Ontario Energy Association (OEA) understands that this is an unprecedented and challenging time for many Ontario households. For households who are having difficulty with their energy bill at this time, we encourage you to contact your local utility who can assist and advise on the options available to manage bill payment challenges.
Ontario’s utilities have all suspended disconnections until July 31st, 2020 to provide all Ontario households the reassurance they will have access to vital energy services during the COVID19 crisis.
Below is some additional information to support and assist families, businesses and energy customers of Ontario. The OEA will continually update this list as more information becomes available.
Difficulty Paying Your Bill? Contact Your Utility.
If you are experiencing hardship or facing difficulty regarding bill payments, please contact your utilities provider immediately to discuss your options, which may include extended bill payment options and financial assistance programs.
The Government of Ontario is providing $9 million to support eligible residential customers struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of COVID-19. CEAP is delivered directly by electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers, further to rules laid out by the Ontario Energy Board.
CEAP provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. Eligible customers can start applying on July 13, 2020.
You must apply through your utility or USMP. Contact them directly about ways to apply – in addition to email and mail, other options like an online form may be available.
For further details regarding eligibility and how to apply, visit oeb.ca/ceap.
The Government of Ontario is providing $8 million to support small business and registered charity customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.
The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. Small business and registered charity customers may be eligible for up to $850 in support towards their electricity bill if they primarily use electricity for heating, or up to $425 otherwise. Small business and registered charity customers could also be eligible for up to $425 in support towards their natural gas bill.
CEAP-SB is being delivered by electricity distributors, natural gas distributors and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs), in accordance with rules laid out by the OEB.
For further details regarding eligibility and how to apply, visit oeb.ca/ceap.
The Ontario Energy Support Program (OESP) is an Ontario Energy Board (OEB) program that lowers electricity bills for lower-income households. The OESP provides a monthly credit to eligible customers based on household income and household size. The OESP credits are applied directly to eligible customers’ bills.
The program is available to all lower-income customers who have accounts with electricity distributors or unit sub-meter providers. Customers must apply to the program.
Customers can apply online at OntarioElectricitySupport.ca.
(If the link does not work, please click the URL below or paste it into a browser: https://ontarioelectricitysupport.ca/)
The Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) Emergency Financial Assistance (EFA) is an emergency financial assistance program developed by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to assist low-income energy customers. It is a grant program intended to provide emergency relief and is not intended to provide regular or ongoing bill payment assistance. Certain criteria is required to qualify for these programs, and must go through one of the intake agencies in Ontario. Please contact your electricity or natural gas provider or unit sub-metering provider, who will refer you to the social service agency serving the area in which you reside. As part of its COVID-19 response, the provincial government has announced an expansion of this program.
For more application information, please visit the Ontario Energy Board website.
(If the link does not work, please click the URL below or paste it into a browser: https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/help-low-income-consumers/low-income-energy-assistance-program.)
- The OEA highly recommends contacting your utilities provider to discuss the options available to you. Most service providers offer payment plans.
- The Ontario Native Welfare Administrators Association (ONWAA) is available to assist Indigenous households with their applications. Indigenous households can contact ONWAA at 1-844-885-3157 or email email@example.com to confirm their availability.
- Effective March 19, 2020, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has extended the current ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for all residential customers to July 31, 2020. Low-volume, small business customers will now also be protected by the ban. In addition, the OEB is calling on distributors to be more flexible on arrears payment arrangements.
- You may also contact 211 Ontario to find out more about other programs that you may qualify for.
Ontario Provides Consumers with Greater Stability and Predictability with Their Electricity Bills – Government of Ontario, May 30, 2020
Ontario Providing Electricity Relief to Families, Small Businesses and Farms During COVID-19 – Government of Ontario, March 24, 2020
Ontario to slash hydro rates to offset costs of working from home amid coronavirus pandemic – The Globe and Mail, March 24, 2020
OEB COVID-19 Update – Ontario Energy Board, March 18, 2020
COVID-19 watch: How Ontario’s energy sector is responding to ‘the big one’ – QP Briefing, March 16, 2020
New Ontario Energy Board customer service rules strengthen consumer protection – Ontario Energy Board, March 5, 2020
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan – Government of Canada
Energy Financial Assistance – The Low-Income Energy Network