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.