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Cracking Down On Energy Retailers

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Cracking Down On Energy Retailers

McGuinty Government Proposes New Protections For Energy Consumers

Ministry of Energy

Ontario is proposing new rules that would provide additional protection for energy consumers and allow for greater energy conservation through suite metering.

The province introduced new legislation today that would, if passed, lead to:

  • Protecting consumers from hidden contract costs, excessive cancellation fees, "negative-option" contract renewals, and other unfair industry practices.
  • Providing greater fairness and transparency for consumers through rate comparisons, plain language contract disclosure, enhanced rights to cancel contracts and a new licensing and training regime, including mandatory oral disclosure and ID badges.
  • Enabling individual suite metering in apartment buildings, which gives tenants more control over energy costs. 
  • Granting the Ontario Energy Board more authority to set policies on security deposits and shutting off an individual's electricity.

The proposed Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2009, would ensure Ontarians have the information they need about electricity contracts and bills, as well as the comfort of knowing they can rely on fair business practices. If passed, the proposed legislation would help families make wise and informed energy choices. Many of the provisions resulting from the proposed legislation, should it pass, would involve consultation and be set at a later date by regulation.

Quick Facts

  • A suite meter lets tenants pay for their electricity based on their actual consumption. This means consumers could lower their electricity bills by conserving or shifting their usage.
  • In the past three years, energy retailers have cracked the top 10 list of consumer complaints received by the Ministry of Consumer Services.
  • Currently, the Ontario Energy Board logs between 100 and 150 consumer complaints a week about the practices of energy retailers.

Additional Resources

Quotes

“The proposed legislation underscores the McGuinty government's commitment to protecting consumers. If passed, it will ensure fairness and transparency in the way gas and electricity consumers are treated throughout Ontario. It also provides the protections necessary to ensure Ontarians, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances, are not subject to exploitive business practices.”

Hon. Gerry Phillips

Minister of Energy and Infrastructure

“This legislation incorporates best practices in consumer protection and has real teeth. It will ensure that consumers have the opportunity to make informed decisions about their energy choices.”

Hon. Ted McMeekin

Minister of Consumer Services

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