April 23rd, 2014

Advocacy group applauds Energy Minister’s proactive move to help vulnerable consumers pay their bills

For immediate release:

April 24, 2014

(Toronto) The Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) commends the government’s commitment to ensuring ongoing affordability of electricity bills for Ontario’s low-income households. The Ontario Electricity Support Program, which was announced by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli today, is an important component of a comprehensive approach to reducing energy poverty in Ontario – for which LIEN has been advocating since 2004.

“We are pleased that Minister Chiarelli has directed the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to develop an electricity rate affordability program which will help low-income consumers pay for their essential electricity service and other basic needs such as rent, food, transportation and medications,” said Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), one of LIEN’s founding members. “We look forward to participating in the OEB’s consultation hearings to provide input into the program’s design.”

The Ontario Electricity Support Program will build on the OEB’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and is scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2016.

LEAP has been in place since 2011 and has three components: more flexible customer service rules on matters such as arrears payment plans and disconnection notice periods; emergency energy assistance, and energy conservation programs targeted specifically to low-income consumers.

LIEN is a network of anti-poverty, affordable housing, environmental and social justice organizations that works to address the needs of Ontario’s low-income households by ensuring the implementation of effective energy assistance and conservation programs and policies.

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For further information:
Zee Bhanji
LIEN Coordinator
416-597-5855 ext. 5167
www.lowincomeenergy.ca

March 28th, 2014

LIEN annual conference 2014 – Toronto

“Celebrating a Decade of Low-Income Energy Advocacy”

Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Location: Harbourfront Community Centre, Dance Studio, 627 Queens Quay West (corner Bathurst St), Toronto

CONFERENCE MATERIALS

Conference kit

Final Agenda for LIEN 2014 conference

Description of LIEN and its work – 2014

Acronyms 2014

Speaker biographies 2014

List of participants 2014

Evaluation Form 2014

Presentations

Addressing energy poverty in Ontario – LIEN’s decade of advocacy – Mary Todorow (ACTO) & Theresa McClenaghan (CELA)

OPA saveONenergy Home Assistance Program – Jen Atkinson (Windfall Centre) & Kai Millyard (GCC)

Enbridge Gas low-income programs – Erika Lontoc & Jennifer Cittadini

Union Gas low-income programs – Priyanka Gupta

Review of the OEB’s low-income programs – Jennifer Lopinski (APCH)

Who’s Doing What – Changes to energy assistance programs and why it matters – Jennefer Laidley (ISAC)

March 25th, 2014

Time for Energy Rate Affordability Program in Ontario

For immediate release:
March 25, 2014

(Toronto) As the Low-Income Energy Network celebrates its 10th anniversary today at its annual symposium, the top line message from the conference is the need for an energy rate affordability program in Ontario.

LIEN has been advocating a comprehensive solution to energy poverty in Ontario over the last ten years. From emergency energy assistance, to low-income energy conservation programs, to better terms of service for low-income consumers, there has been great progress in the province. But the missing link is an Energy Rate Affordability Program to make sure that electricity bills are within reach for low income consumers. LIEN advocates a province wide program that sets a threshold of 6% of total household income as the maximum amount that low-income consumers should have to pay for their total energy bills – for heating and non-heating energy uses. Above that threshold, difficult choices have to be made between food, rent, electricity, medication and other essentials.

The work LIEN has done demonstrates that low-income energy affordability programs are good for utilities and their ratepayers too, because bills become much more manageable for the lowest income consumers.

Today, LIEN has sent a letter to all of Ontario’s provincial party leaders, urging them to support a low income energy rate affordability program for Ontario.
Letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne
Letter to Hon. Tim Hudak
Letter to Hon. Andrea Horwath
Letter to Mike Schreiner

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For further information, please contact:

Theresa McClenaghan
Executive Director & Counsel
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Cell: 416.662.8341
E-mail: theresa@cela.ca

Zee Bhanji
Coordinator
Low-Income Energy Network
Tel: 416.597.5855 ext. 5167
E-mail: bhanjiz@lao.on.ca

Mary Todorow
Policy Analyst
Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario
Tel: 416-597-5855 ext. 5173
E-mail: todorom@lao.on.ca