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Ontario to Remove Debt Retirement Charge and Launch Low-Income Electricity Support Program

News Release

Ontario to Remove Debt Retirement Charge and Launch Low-Income Electricity Support Program

Province Assisting Low-Income Ontarians with Electricity Costs

Ministry of Energy

Ontario is helping make electricity more affordable for families by removing the Debt Retirement Charge for all residential consumers and introducing the Ontario Electricity Support Program for low-income families.

The proposed program, administered through the Ontario Energy Board, would come into effect on January 1, 2016 and would help low-income Ontarians by providing them with financial assistance.

Qualifying individuals could be eligible for a $20 to $50 monthly credit based on the size of the household and income.  For example, a family of four with an annual income of less than $28,000, would be eligible for a $38 monthly credit -- a total of about $455 per year. 

In addition, the Debt Retirement Charge for all residential consumers will be removed from the bill.

Helping low-income households with the cost of electricity is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • Removing the Debt Retirement Charge will save the typical residential electricity ratepayer $5.60 per month.
  • Electricity represents a significantly greater share of monthly expenses for low-income households than for higher-income households. Low-income households spend as much as 10% or more of their income on electricity bills, while consumers in the highest income bracket only use 2% or less.
  • The proposed Ontario Energy Support Program would be ratepayer funded with an estimated charge of less than one dollar a month for a typical residential customer in 2016.
  • The implementation of the Ontario Electricity Support Program would follow the conclusion of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit on December 31, 2015. The Ontario Clean Energy Benefit started in 2011 for a five-year term and provides approximately $1 billion in relief to eligible consumers annually.

Background Information

Additional Resources

Quotes

Bob Chiarelli

“The Ontario Electricity Support Program would provide ongoing assistance directly on the bills of eligible low-income electricity consumers as of January 1, 2016. This targeted assistance would be available to those who need it most, ensuring all Ontarians have continued access to clean and reliable electricity.”

Bob Chiarelli

Minister of Energy

“LIEN commends the Ontario government for establishing the Ontario Electricity Support Program. This program closes the loop in terms of addressing energy poverty in Ontario and is part of a comprehensive approach to the challenge that LIEN has been advocating for since 2004. We look forward to sharing program information with our stakeholders and the public.”

Theresa McClenaghan

Executive Director, Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and a Founding Member, The Low-Income Energy Network

“As the largest municipal electricity distribution in Canada serving a diverse, urban community, Toronto Hydro is pleased to have another assistance program available to our more vulnerable customers to help them manage their electricity costs.”

Anthony Haines

President and CEO, Toronto Hydro

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