Electricity Competition in Ontario - In Opposition to the NDP's and EDA's call to Eliminate Residential Retail Contracts

Why electricity competition and customer choice is the future for Ontario, by creating jobs and benefiting customers in price and service.

TORONTO, March 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Planet Energy (Ontario) Corp. [Planet Energy] would like to clarify and comment on the press release by The Electricity Distributors Association [EDA] which was released on March 5, 2014.  The information as outlined in the press release is factually incorrect.

The EDA estimates "that roughly a million Ontarians are currently supplied with electricity at their homes under the terms of retail contracts".  As at February 2014, there are in fact approximately 350,000 Ontarians currently enrolled under retail agreements1.  As the EDA has nearly tripled the number of actual customers enrolled under retail agreements, it is worth stating that all of the information following that statement became inflated.

The EDA incorrectly states that "Energy retailers have also accounted for an inordinate number of complaints to both the OEB and MPPs…"   In fact, the number of consumer complaints against electricity suppliers received by the Ontario Energy Board [OEB] from January, 2011, to December, 2013, is down approximately 80%2.  However, utility escalated complaints during the same time period have increased by approximately 255%3.  In fact, consumer complaints against electric utilities were greater than the number of complaints against electricity retailers during the latter part of 2013.

The EDA further compounds its non-factual statements by stating that consumers under a retail agreement "incur a monthly commodity cost of approximately $105, in contrast to $70 for those who purchase electricity directly from their local utility…" The fact is that many consumers thus far during 2014 have saved money under a retail electricity agreement when compared to the rate which they would have paid with the utility, and during a high usage period4 as a result of the colder than normal winter.

The EDA should focus its efforts on improving efficiencies of its member utilities for the benefit of all Ontarians. As an example to this point, the service and administrative costs of Ontario's electric utilities are to the knowledge of Planet Energy, the highest in all of North America.  At present time, a residential customer pays approximately $257 per year for Customer Charges, which is in addition to charges such as transmission and distribution.  In fact, utility charges alone can account from anywhere between 40%-90% of a consumers payable charges5.  Instead of lobbying for the elimination of customer choice in Ontario, the EDA should instead be focusing on how their members can reduce distribution, transmission and customer charges by becoming more efficient and restructuring their organizations.

Planet Energy believes that the best way to improve Ontario's electricity commodity market, and allow consumers to make an apples-to-apples price comparison, is to remove the Global Adjustment and allow electricity supply in Ontario to trade openly - much the same as natural gas has traded in Ontario since 1986 -which has greatly benefitted consumers.  Competition can only exist in an open and competitive market, and competition has always benefitted consumers.

The goal and agenda of the EDA and NDP seems to be to thwart electricity competition in Ontario, stifle customer choice and move backwards to inefficient monopolies, which do not offer choice and competitive rates for Ontario consumers and businesses.

About Planet Energy (Ontario) Corp.
Planet Energy (http://www.planetenergy.ca) is a retail energy company that offers its customers a variety of products and options. With our plans, our customers can choose what works best for them, rather than being told what to pay by their local utility.

1 http://www.ebterthcorp.com/sites/www.ebterthcorp.com/files/market_data/meter_14.gif
2 http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/Consumers/Contact+Consumer+Relations/Have+a+Question+or+Complaint#contacts
3 http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/Consumers/Contact+Consumer+Relations/Have+a+Question+or+Complaint#contacts
4 http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/oeb/Consumers/Electricity/Your%20Electricity%20Utility
5 http://www.hydroone.com/RegulatoryAffairs/RatesPrices/Pages/Default.aspx

Image with caption: "Planet Energy (CNW Group/Planet Energy)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140310_C4258_PHOTO_EN_37726.jpg

Image with caption: "Retailer complaints have significantly decreased by approximately 80%, while complaints against electric utilities have risen and are now greater than complaints against Retailers. (CNW Group/Planet Energy)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140310_C4258_PHOTO_EN_37724.jpg

Image with caption: "Escalated complaints for Retailers have decreased while escalated complaints against utilities have risen by approximately 255% and greatly exceed the number of escalated complaints against Retailers. (CNW Group/Planet Energy)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140310_C4258_PHOTO_EN_37725.jpg

SOURCE: Planet Energy

For further information:

Media Contact:
Jordan Small
Director, Marketing
Planet Energy (Ontario) Corp.

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