Ontario Passes Legislation to Further Protect Energy Ratepayers
Robust New Tools Will Provide Consumers With a Stronger Voice
Today Ontario passed legislation to protect consumers by strengthening the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and improving its ability to ensure continuity of service.
The Strengthening Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act, 2015 will enhance the OEB's role to ensure that it continues to have a robust set of tools to protect consumers and regulate the energy sector. Changes include:
- Banning door-to-door sales for energy contracts
- Providing the OEB with stronger enforcement powers and increasing penalties to a maximum of $1 million per day for companies violating OEB rules and directions
- Increasing consumer representation in OEB proceedings
- Enhancing the OEB's ability to ensure reliability and continuity of distribution and transmission service
- Providing the province with the ability to identify priority projects to ensure that critical transmission infrastructure is built in a timely manner
Strengthening consumer protection in the energy sector is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic and innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- The OEB is an independent regulator responsible for setting just and reasonable rates for electricity and natural gas distributors, licensing market participants including electricity retailers and gas marketers and protecting the interests of consumers.
- Currently the OEB sets the rates for three gas distributors, over 70 Local Distribution Companies and five transmitters across the province. Distribution and transmission companies must submit rate filings with the OEB to ensure costs are allocated appropriately and rates for consumers are adjusted as needed.
- The OEB reviews and approves applications for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures for transmission or distribution assets to ensure that ratepayers are not harmed as a result of the transaction.
- The OEB monitors whether regulated companies are compliant with legislation and OEB codes and rules and undertakes enforcement measures as needed.
- Learn about the role of the OEB as set by the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (OEBA).
“The Ontario Energy Board plays an important role in regulating our province’s energy sector and setting electricity rates. A stronger Ontario Energy Board will ensure energy consumers are best protected. New rules to ban door-to-door sales for energy contracts and significantly increased fines for violations of OEB rules will improve consumer protections and the reliability of our electricity system.”