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By: k5 | posted in News & Stories |
Date: January 26th, 2011

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is the Ontario government regulator in the energy sector. It is urging consumers to do their homework before signing any contract with an alternative natural gas and electricity retailers at the door.

As of January 1, 2011, the new Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 (ECPA) took effect to better protect Ontarian from any alternative gas and electricity retailers/marketers using what the Board calls it “unfair business practices”.
 
The new Act took effect to all gas and electricity contracts signed or renewed after January 1, 2011.

“The focus of that is just to make sure consumers have the information they need to make a good decision on whether or not sign a contract,” said Alan Findlay, a spokesman for the energy board.

“It can be confusing, so it’s important that people take the time to make sure they have all the information,” he said.

With the new Act in effect, all alternative gas and electricity retailers/marketers operating in Ontario are require to give price comparison to all potential customers with the rates charged by the local utilities vs what the retailers/marketers are offering.

The four-week Energy Board ad campaign will run on the radio and online.

Some of the new ECPA requirements

– all natural gas and electricity retailers/marketers must clearly state “there is no guarantee savings” by switching supplier

– alternative gas and electricity retailers/marketers must state they are a private company and are not affiliated with any government body

– the new Act give people several opportunities to cancel long-term energy contracts without penalty, even after receiving their first bill

– consumers may cancel without any penalty up to 30 days after receiving the first bill

– canceling fee for early termination is now drop to $50 per year remaining for electricity contract and $100 per year for the remaining of natural gas contract
 
More basic information about the new ECPA and what you need to know before signing any gas and electricity contract. Click here.
 
Here is the full detail about the new ECPA
Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 (ECPA)

Why the changes and new law?

In 2009, Energy retailers aka alternative gas and electricity retailers/marketers were on the 9th position for the most consumer complaints in Ontario.

That resulted in the changes stem from legislation introduced in 2009 to crack down on what the province called abusive and unfair practices by energy retailers.
 
Ontario’s energy minister, Brad Duguid, has said the government received more than 100 complaints each week about unscrupulous energy retailers.

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There is 1 comment for Ontario Energy Board new ad campaign aim to educate consumers

  1. Calla Shea-Pelletier says:

    If the goal is to protect consumers from "abusive and unfair practices by energy retailers" – first I have to ask why were they introduced in the first place?… And second why are they allowed to exist at all?.

    We were not aware that retailers were allowed into the supply chain. Very dubious marketing lead us to sign a contract with "Just Energy"based out of New Zealand!! (I have since learned).

    The hundreds of dollars we have spent since signing the contract in 2007 could have been invested in our children's future education or groceries for the month!

    We are very disappointed, angry and frustrated with this situation. After we became more aware and contacted Just Energy we were offered a rate on par with Horizon. If transparency (over pure profit motivation) was a reason for allowing the retailers into the energy market – it's clear the transparency goal has failed and the measures to place the responsibility on "consumers" to be "aware" when it relates to an essential service is an excuse for more profit to be made at the expense of families. How can this possibly be an equitable expectation? Deliberate mis representation and small print is not a transparent or ethical practice.

    The act of the Ontario government allowing piggy backing for an essential service seems more about a profit motive then one concerned with equity and transparency for it's tax payers. It feels like a betrayal, not an act of best interest.

    Calla Shea-Pelletier

    Resident of Hamilton, Ontario

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