News & Events

Ontario and Nova Scotia advocates team up to improve federal plan for low-income energy consumers

(Toronto/Halifax) The Affordable Energy Coalition (AEC) in Nova Scotia and the Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) of Ontario released their recommendations today to ensure maximum success in the delivery of the federal government's recently announced programs, the EnerGuide for Low-Income Households and the Energy Cost Benefit.

"The new federal programs are great news. Our concern is that low-income consumers must have direct access to energy conservation measures that don't rely on reimbursement. People who are having a hard time juggling paying for both rent and food are in no position to spend money up front," says Claire McNeil of the Affordable Energy Coalition.

"We are hoping our recommendations will be welcomed by the federal government. The more closely the departments can work with their community partners, the better the chance of success of the programs," says Mary Todorow of the Low-Income Energy Network.

The LIEN/AEC recommendations include:
· direct program delivery
· energy conservation measures at no cost to participants
· comprehensive approach which includes education and outreach
· focus on renters as well as homeowners and social housing residents
· appliance and system upgrades for all types of energy use, including electricity, gas and oil
· ongoing rate assistance
· include families with no children and low-income singles who are not seniors
· additional ways of identifying those in need (other than National Child Benefit or Guaranteed Income Supplement)
· no clawback of benefits by provinces or territories

See this document for the LIEN AEC response.

Energy Costs to be Dumped on Tenants?

TORONTO - The Ontario government is paving the way for landlords to unilaterally dump energy costs on tenants. Installing sub-metering in apartment buildings would be ineffective and unfair, charge critics in a report to be released today.

The report, Zapping Tenants: a critical analysis of sub-metering in the residential rental sector, will be released today, Thursday, May 5 at 1:00 p.m. in the Queen's Park Media Studio.

"We should be looking at the best way to conserve energy in rental housing, not the best way to put money in the pockets of the private meter companies," says Keith Stewart of the Toronto Environmental Alliance. "That's why we are putting forward a proposal for a balanced system which protects both the environment and low-income tenants."

"The government's proposal to snatch a few kilowatt hours off the grid by shifting rapidly rising energy costs to tenants penalizes Ontario's lowest income residents. It also ignores the more effective conservation gains that could be made by landlords," says Julia McNally, Staff Lawyer at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO).

American energy expert, Roger Colton, of Fisher Sheehan and Colton (Boston) will share U.S. sub-metering experience and research. "Imposing increased energy costs on tenants through individual meters threatens the affordability of basic shelter for low-income tenants. This despite the fact that sub-meters are almost never justifiable on an economic or energy conservation basis," says Roger Colton.

Click here for the full report and here for a background document on sub-metering.

Regulated Price Plan and low-income consumers

The Low-Income Energy Network's (LIEN) response to the Ontario Energy Board's Regulated Price Plan proposal.

Low-income energy conservation and assistance

In response to a request from the Minister of Energy, LIEN developed recommendations on actions the Ontario government could take to help low-income households immediately cope with the rise in electricity prices that took place April 1, 2004.

DSM for low-income consumers in Ontario

A report submitted by the Canadian Environmental Law Association, on behalf of LIEN, to the Ontario Energy Board consultation process on demand side management and demand response.

Electricity price hikes will hit poor hardest

In response to the announcement of higher prices for electricity, the Low Income Energy Network (LIEN) called on the provincial government to introduce province-wide energy conservation and bill assistance programs for low-income households. Click here for the press release.

LIEN, the low-income energy burden in Ontario and the impact of non-action

The attached presentation gives an introduction to the Low Income Energy Network (LIEN), and the environmental context in which it operates, including a background on electricity restructuring, the low-income energy burden, energy and the environment, and the barriers to conservation for low-income consumers.

The mission statement, origins and accomplishments of LIEN are presented, along with the impacts of non-action.

Finally, some sources for additional information are provided.

LIEN Annual Conference 2005 - Toronto

The Low Income Energy Network was pleased to host the Fighting Poverty and Pollution Conference in Toronto on April 7, 2005. This was a gathering for anti-poverty, affordable housing and environmental advocates in Ontario to share experiences and develop an action agenda on low-income energy issues such as:

  • Rising energy prices and housing affordability;
  • What the new electricity legislation means for the environment and affordability;
  • Reducing bills and pollution through energy conservation programs for low-income housing;
  • Smart meters, sub-metering, and how the new Tenant Protection Act deals with energy issues;
  • How to work with your local utility; and
  • Where should our energy come from in the future?; and
  • What should be the priorities for LIEN's activities in 2005 - 2006?

For background information and copies of presentations made at the conference, please refer to the documents posted below.

Conference materials


Discussion paper on a low-income energy efficiency strategy

Background presentation on LIEN


TEA -- who does what on energy policy in Ontario

ACTO -- The Tenant Protection Act, energy and sub-metering

Affordable and Efficient: a low-income energy efficiency strategy

Pembina -- Ontario sustainable electricity

CELA -- What's been done so far: LIEN origins, principles and proposals

ACTO -- The low-income energy burden in Ontario

Ontario Energy Board -- Electricity distributors conservation and demand management

Toronto Hydro -- Conservation and demand management: July 2004 to September 2007

Enbridge -- Mass markets low-income program

Share the Warmth - The Provincial Energy Fund

LIEN and the low-income energy burden in Ontario

A presentation given by LIEN at the Building Partnerships for Energy Conservation Workshop in January 2005. The workshop was hosted by Climate Air Connections and the Clean Air Foundation.

Growing number of households caught in Ontario energy crisis

A press release to announce the release of LIEN's low-income energy efficiency program. LIEN developed this energy efficiency program for local distribution companies to address the particular needs of low-income consumers for the 2005 heating season. The work was supported by the Ministry of Energy and the Toronto Atmospheric Fund.

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Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN)
c/o Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO)
1500 - 55 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, M5J 2H7
Phone: 416-597-5855 ext. 5167
Toll-free: 1-866-245-4182 ext. 5167
Fax: 416-597-5821