Energy Contracts: New Consumer Protections 1/1/17

Energy Contracts: New Consumer Protections 1/1/17

Postby CLS » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:05 pm

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has expanded protections for residential energy customers, effective January 1, 2017. The new rules address what energy retailers (often called "rebillers") may and may not do when engaging in door-to-door energy contract sales. As explained in more detail on the OEB's website at

"On January 1, 2017, the following new rules come into effect:

Door-to-door activities:

No one can sign you up for an energy contract while they are at your home.

Energy retailers can still come to your home and give you information, but they cannot leave a copy of a contract with you.

There are limits on the times of the day, and the number of times, an energy retailer can come to your home. They are NOT allowed to come to your home:

On a day that is a legal holiday in Ontario;
On the weekday that counts as a legal holiday if the holiday fell on the weekend;
On weekends, before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m.;
On weekdays, before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m.;
More than 4 times in a 12-month period unless you invite them to do so;
If you have posted a sign at your home discouraging door-to-door marketing/sales;
In addition, if an energy retailer has come to your home uninvited, they cannot contact you again in any way more than once in the next 30 days unless:
You’ve asked them to, or
You have signed a contract and need you to confirm that you want to continue with it.


An energy retailer cannot provide a gift card, gift certificate or other financial incentive, or any equipment, product or service, at your home to be redeemed after entering into, amending or renewing a contract. If you are offered any of these outside of your home, the energy retailer cannot ask you to return or repay it, even if you enter into a contract and then cancel it.

Contact renewals and extensions

An energy contract cannot be automatically renewed or extended.


If you enter into or renew a contract, you can cancel it within 30 days of getting your second bill under the contract. You have to pay those bills, but you won’t have to pay a cancellation fee.
If you cancel a contract after that, you may have to pay a cancellation fee. For most residential consumers, the cancellation fee is no more than $50 whether the contract is for gas or electricity or both.

Confirming a contract

No matter how you entered into a contract – including over the internet – you later have to confirm that you still want the contract. Otherwise, the contract will become invalid. You will be contacted 10-45 days after you’ve entered into the energy contract to verify that you wish to continue with it. If you do not want to continue with the contract, you can say so and you will not have to pay a cancellation fee.

Plain language contracts

All energy contracts have to be in plain language, and must include standard contract terms and conditions that have been written by the OEB."

The new rules expand upon existing protections created under the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010.
Kathryn M. Bullon, B.Sc., J.D., M.Ad.Ed.
Legal Education Co-Coordinator
Community Law School
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