Ontario Energy Board Prohibits Winter Disconnects

Ontario Energy Board Prohibits Winter Disconnects

Postby CLS » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:15 pm

In a move with substantial impact on low-income consumers, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has issued an order prohibiting disconnection of residential electrical service through April 30, 2017. The order also requires that the homes of customers who have been disconnected be reconnected as quickly as possible. The OEB explained its order in a February 23, 2017 letter, excerpted below:

"The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has issued a Decision and Order amending the licences of all Ontario
electricity distributors to ban the disconnection of residential consumers for the period through
April 30, 2017, and to require that disconnected homes be reconnected as soon as possible at no
charge.

The Decision and Order also requires the prompt removal of load limiting devices that have been
installed on residential premises as an alternative to disconnection, and a prohibition on the
installation of new devices during the disconnection ban.

This Decision and Order follows the passage of the Protecting Vulnerable Energy Consumers Act, 2017
by the Ontario Legislature on February 22, 2017. The Act, which received Royal Assent on the same
day, strengthens the OEB’s authority in relation to disconnections by electricity and natural gas
distributors. It does so by expressly recognizing that the OEB’s rules can ban the disconnection of
low-volume (residential and small business) consumers during certain periods, and by making it
clear that the OEB’s rules prevail over the statutory right to disconnect that electricity and
natural gas distributors have under the Electricity Act, 1998 and the Public Utilities Act, respectively.

The OEB has moved swiftly to address this priority matter for the balance of this winter
as an interim measure. The OEB intends to launch a comprehensive review of customer service rules
for both electricity and natural gas in the near future. More enduring rules relating to
disconnection, among other matters, will be developed
through this review..."

This is good, and potentially life-saving, news for low-income consumers who faced or have already been subjected to disconnection of service.
Kathryn M. Bullon, B.Sc., J.D., M.Ad.Ed.
Legal Education Co-Coordinator
Community Law School
CLS
Site Admin
 
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