For immediate release:
Friday, April 1, 2011
(Toronto) The Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) welcomes the long-awaited release of the Ontario Energy Board's (OEB) customer service rules that are specifically designed to help financially-strapped low-income households maintain their residential electricity service.
The rules released this week are part of the OEB's Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) - a comprehensive plan consisting of: emergency relief for consumers in short-term payment crisis; targeted energy conservation and demand management programs to reduce energy consumption and costs, and the new flexible rules on matters such as security deposit and fee waivers, arrears payment plans and disconnection notice periods.
"This is good news for low-income consumers who struggle to pay for rent, food, transportation and their basic energy needs," said Jennifer Lopinski, LIEN steering committee member and the Emergency Home Energy program administrator with A Place Called Home in the Municipality of Kawartha Lakes. "When attempting to resolve their electricity arrears, low-income consumers will have real options to reduce financial hardship. We're also pleased that the OEB is consulting on implementing similar conditions of service rules for low-income natural gas customers."
LIEN actively participated in the OEB's proceeding which was initiated three years ago to develop the new customer service rules, and continues to advocate for the establishment of a permanent energy rate affordability program for low-income consumers that would proactively prevent households from falling into arrears.
The new low-income customer service rules will come into effect on October 1, 2011. For more details about the rules and eligibility, please see the OEB backgrounder at: http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/_Documents/Press+Releases/bckgrndr_lowincome.pdf
For further information:
Zee Bhanji, LIEN Coordinator
416-597-5855 ext. 5167