TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2019 /CNW/ - The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has accepted an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) from Elexicon Energy Inc. (Elexicon), an OEB-licensed electricity distributor, following an inspection into the company's disconnection practices. The inspection focused on non-compliant disconnection notices sent to approximately 3,500 customers, 317 of whom had their electricity disconnected. Under the terms of the AVC, Elexicon will pay an administrative monetary penalty ($50,000), apply a credit to the bills of affected customers who were disconnected (about $40,000) and make a donation to the Low-income Energy Assistance Program($32,300).
All customers who received a non-compliant notice will be notified directly by Elexicon.
An AVC is a binding commitment by a regulated entity to take measures to rectify or prevent non-compliance. Failure to abide by the terms of an AVC can lead to enforcement action being taken by the OEB.
The OEB's inspection found, and Elexicon admitted, that during the period from May 1 to July 30, 2019, approximately 3,500 customers in the Veridian Rate Zone portion of Elexicon's service territory were inadvertently sent disconnection notices that did not comply with all of the requirements of the OEB's Distribution System Code (DSC).
The DSC requires a utility to provide at least a 10-day notice period to a customer prior to disconnection, and the notice period extends from the date the customer receives the notice to the "earliest possible disconnection date" stated in the notice. The approximately 3,500 customers did not have a full 10 days between these two dates and as a result were not given proper notice of their possible disconnection by Elexicon.
Under the terms of the AVC, Elexicon will deliver a letter to each of the affected customers advising of the compliance matter and its resolution. Elexicon has also assured the OEB that it has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that staff involved in the collection and disconnection process are properly informed of the regulatory requirements.
"It is the OEB's responsibility to protect consumers by making sure that the companies that we regulate follow the rules. When the rules are not followed, particularly those governing disconnections, customers may be harmed. By taking the actions we have, and with Elexicon committing to ensuring that its internal practices support compliance, consumers will be protected." – Brian Hewson, Vice-President, Consumer Protection & Industry Performance
Learn about the OEB's Customer Service Rules for electricity distributors, including those governing disconnections
About the Ontario Energy Board
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For more information, please visit the OEB website at oeb.ca or contact us directly.
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SOURCE Ontario Energy Board
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