Ontario is taking steps to protect consumers by enhancing the authority of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), announced David Orazietti, Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
“Our government is committed to continually reviewing and improving policies and processes that impact the everyday lives of Ontario consumers,” said Orazietti. “The proposed legislation further strengthens consumer protection measures by effectively prohibiting door-to-door energy contract sales.”
The OEB has sole responsibility to set electricity rates for Ontario. If passed, the proposed Strengthening Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act would provide stronger compliance and enforcement tools, including increased penalties to companies that do not comply with OEB rules and directions.
As the province’s independent regulator of electricity, this would enhance the OEB’s ability to ensure continuity of service for consumers and provide greater protection for consumers in their dealings with electricity retailers and gas marketers.
Proposed amendments to enhance protections for energy consumers include:
• Banning door-to-door sales for energy contracts
• Increasing the cooling-off period for energy contracts to 20 days, and
• Providing government with the ability to identify priority transmission projects to ensure that critical transmission infrastructure is built in a timely manner.
“The Ontario Energy Board plays an important role in regulating our province’s energy sector,” said Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy. “As the energy sector continues to evolve, these new enhancements would ensure that the government has the ability to prioritize critical transmission infrastructure to provide the important leadership and oversight necessary to ensure the most vital projects are completed.”
Strengthening consumer protection in the energy sector is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic and innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
§ The OEB’s mandate is to act as a fair, impartial, and independent regulator as set by the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (OEBA). One of the OEB’s main objectives is to protect the interests of consumers with respect to prices and the adequacy, reliability and quality of electricity service.
§ The OEB is also moving forward with an initiative to increase consumer advocacy by giving consumers a direct voice in OEB hearings and proceedings.