TORONTO, Dec. 30 /CNW/ - Starting January 1, 2011, new rules take effect to help protect Ontarians by ensuring that electricity retailers and gas marketers follow fair business practices and provide information that consumers need before signing or renewing an energy contract.
Some of the important new requirements that apply to contracts that are entered into or renewed by residential and small business consumers on or after January 1, 2011 include:
- Retailers and marketers must provide enhanced training and testing for their sales agents that meets the requirements set by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB);
- Consumers must be provided with a plain language disclosure statement (available in multiple languages at: http://www.oeb.gov.on.ca/OEB/Consumers/Information+in+Other+Languages) as well as a price comparison sheet that allows them to compare a contract price offer with the price of energy supplied by their utility;
- A requirement for the retailer or marketer to verify contracts that are entered into in person using a script approved by the OEB; and
- Limits on cancellation fees or, in some instances, the right to cancel without paying cancellation fees.
The new consumer protection framework is set out in the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010. In anticipation of the new legislation coming into force, the OEB updated its own rules for electricity retailers and gas marketers.
The OEB has also updated its website, www.oeb.gov.on.ca/OEB/Consumers, to incorporate the new consumer protection rules as part of the useful information available to consumers considering an energy contract. The website also has interactive online bill calculators that are geared to help residential and, starting January 1st; small business consumers estimate their electricity or natural gas bills. Those consumers can also compare those bill estimates with the contract price offered by an electricity retailer or gas marketer.
The Ontario Energy Board regulates the province's electricity and natural gas sectors in the public interest. It envisions a viable and efficient energy sector with informed consumers served by responsive regulatory processes that are effective, fair and transparent.
For more information, please refer to the attached backgrounder, visit the OEB website at www.oeb.gov.on.ca or contact our Consumer Relations Centre at 416-314-2455 or toll-free at 1-877-632-2727.
Ce document est aussi disponible en français.
New Energy Consumer Protection Rules
December 30, 2010
|Changes for energy contracting||The new consumer protection rules taking effect January 1, 2011 will help ensure that electricity retailers and natural gas marketers who offer energy contracts to residential and small business consumers follow fair business practices and provide information that consumers need to make better informed decisions about their energy supply.|
|Among the rules that apply to contracts that are entered into or renewed on or after January 1, 2011 are:|
|Compliance and Enforcement||Electricity retailers and natural gas marketers must self-certify that they are compliant with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements before they can enter into, renew, extend or amend contracts with residential and small business consumers on or after January 1, 2011.|
|In the first quarter of 2011, the OEB intends to undertake audits to ensure that active energy retailers and marketers are compliant with applicable legal and regulatory requirements as stated in their self-certifications.|
|In cases where an energy retailer or marketer is not complying with its legal or regulatory requirements, the OEB may take enforcement action, including making a compliance order, suspending or revoking a company's licence or ordering a company to pay an administrative penalty.|
|During the past two years, the Board has levied penalties totaling $506,500 for various instances of non-compliance by energy retailers and marketers.|
|For more information||The OEB's Consumer website includes up-to-date information on energy contracts, energy pricing, the rights and responsibilities of energy consumers and energy suppliers, and the OEB's role in protecting consumer interests.|
|The OEB's interactive online bill calculators help residential and, starting January 1st; small business consumers estimate their electricity or natural gas bills and compare those bill estimates with the contract price offered by an electricity retailer or gas marketer.|
|For a summary of energy market issues and how the OEB works to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers, please visit the Consumer Report section of our website.|
|Ce document est aussi disponible en français.|
For further information: For further information:
|Media Inquiries||Public Inquiries|
|Ontario Energy Board||Or 1-877-632-2727|