OEB developing province-wide programs for low-income energy customers

TORONTO, July 22 /CNW/ - Today the Ontario Energy Board (the Board) announced it is resuming work on province-wide programs related to low-income energy customers.

The initiatives announced today flow primarily from the Board's original Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) announced in March 2009.

LEAP has three components: emergency financial assistance for customers in need; access to more flexible customer service rules on matters such as bill payment and disconnection notice periods; and targeted conservation and demand management programs.

The Board is resuming the Financial Assistance Working Group which had previously helped develop recommendations to implement an emergency financial assistance program for electricity and natural gas distributors. It aims to have an emergency financial assistance program in place for the 2010-2011 heating season.

The Board will also be developing customer service rules tailored to low-income electricity customers. These rules will build upon the broader set of customer service rules that were adopted by the Board on July 2, 2010. The Board will also consider similar rules for natural gas distributors, and unit sub-meter providers.

The Board's work on Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) includes coordinating with the Ontario Power Authority as it develops a program for low-income residential consumers to ensure there is a coordinated approach to deliver CDM and Demand Side Management programs by electricity and natural gas distributors. The Board also issued a draft CDM Code for electricity distributors on June 22, 2010 setting out the obligations and requirements that licensed electricity distributors must comply with in relation to their CDM targets. The targets aim to reduce electricity consumption by 6,000 gigawatt hours and to reduce peak provincial electricity demand by 1,330 megawatts over a four-year period.

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, and works towards this vision through regulation that is effective, fair and transparent. For more information on the Board, please visit our website at www.oeb.gov.on.ca or contact the Consumer Relations Centre at 416-314-2455 or toll-free at 1-877-632-2727.

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SOURCE Ontario Energy Board

For further information: For further information: Media Inquiries, Vanda Wall, Ontario Energy Board, 416-544-5171; Public Inquiries, 416-314-2455 Or 1-877-632-2727

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