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Good News for Low-income Electricity Customers

April 4, 2011 Fast Facts

Last week the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced new customer service rules for eligible low-income residential electricity customers.

The new rules will allow eligible low-income customers:

  • to ask for security deposits to be waived or returned.
  • to request an equalized billing amount without enrolling in an automatic withdrawal payment plan.

The new rules will also provide enhanced arrears repayment agreements with more flexible terms.

Advocates are pleased.

Jennifer Lopinski, a member of the Low Income Energy Network’s (LIEN) Steering Committee, commented on LIEN’s website (http://www.lowincomeenergy.ca/)

“This is good news for low-income consumers who struggle to pay for rent, food, transportation and their basic energy needs. When attempting to resolve their electricity arrears, low-income consumers will have real options to reduce financial hardship. We’re also pleased that the OEB is consulting on implementing similar conditions of service rules for low-income natural gas customers.”

The LIEN advocates to ensure universal access to adequate, affordable energy as a basic necessity, while at the same time minimizing the impacts on health and on the local and global environment of meeting the essential energy and conservation needs of all Ontarians.

The new rules take effect on October 1, 2011.

According to the OEB “eligible low-income customers are qualified, based on their income level, by a social service or government agency that partners with the electricity utility to assess eligibility.”

For more information please refer to the low-income customer service rules backgrounder at http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/_Documents/Press+Releases/bckgrndr_lowincome.pdf.

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