News & Events

LIEN regional workshop - Windsor

SAVING ENERGY: A TENANT ACTION WORKSHOP

This free workshop offers great networking opportunities, activities, and an inside peek at how tenants can take the lead to save energy, money, and make their neighbourhoods a better place to live! The workshop is led by Toronto Environmental Alliance, supported by LIEN, and hosted by hosted by Homeless Coalition Windsor-Essex.

What to expect

  • Get inspired by real-life examples of how tenants have successfully run their own energy conservation programs.
  • Learn step-by-step how you could kick-start your own energy conservation program.
  • Collect ideas, advice, tools, and resources to help you along the way.
  • Participate in breakout sessions and activities.
  • Relate what you've been learning to your own   neighbourhood.
  • Network with fellow tenant advocates and activists.

Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: College Avenue Community Centre, 3325 College Avenue, Windsor

Register Now!
Option 1: Fill in the online registration form: www.torontoenvironment.org/workshops
Option 2: Email or fax the registration form to the LIEN Coordinator.

Contact information for LIEN Coordinator
Call toll free: 1-866-245-4182 ext. 5167
Email: bhanjiz@lao.on.ca
Fax: 1-416-597-5821

Ontario Energy Board stakeholder consultation on low-income energy issues

Due in part to the May 16th decision in LIEN's Divisional Court appeal that found the OEB does have jurisdiction to implement rate affordability programs for low-income residential consumers, the Board announced on July 2nd that it was starting a consultation process to examine energy issues associated with low-income consumers, such as rate assistance, arrears management, disconnection procedures, emergency assistance, service charges (i.e. late payment fees, reconnection charges), and low-income conservation and demand management programs. Despite the Divisional Court appeal decision, however, the Board still has not decided about whether or how they should exercise their jurisdiction to consider the ability to pay when setting utility rates.

From September 22nd - 25th, LIEN attended the OEB Consultation on Energy Issues Relating to Low-Income Consumers. The consultation provided an opportunity for interested stakeholder to make presentations on low-income energy issues relating to rate assistance, arrears management, disconnection procedures, emergency assistance, service charges (i.e. late payment fees, reconnection charges), and low-income conservation and demand management programs.

Click on the link to view the LIEN presentation at the OEB.

LIEN regional workshop - Ottawa

SAVING ENERGY: A TENANT ACTION WORKSHOP

This free workshop offers great networking opportunities, activities, and an inside peek at how tenants can take the lead to save energy, money, and make their neighbourhoods a better place to live! The workshop is led by Toronto Environmental Alliance, supported by LIEN, and hosted by Nepean, Rideau and Osgoode Community Resource Centre

What to expect

  • Get inspired by real-life examples of how tenants have successfully run their own energy conservation programs.
  • Learn step-by-step how you could kick-start your own energy conservation program.
  • Collect ideas, advice, tools, and resources to help you along the way.
  • Participate in breakout sessions and activities.
  • Relate what you've been learning to your own   neighbourhood.
  • Network with fellow tenant advocates and activists.

Date: Thursday, October 9, 2008

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Location: Jim Durrell Complex, 1265 Walkley Road, Ottawa

Register Now!
Option 1: Fill in the online registration form: www.torontoenvironment.org/workshops
Option 2: Email or fax the registration form to the LIEN Coordinator.

Contact information for LIEN Coordinator
Call toll free: 1-866-245-4182 ext. 5167
Email: bhanjiz@lao.on.ca
Fax: 1-416-597-5821

LIEN Currents, Summer 2008 issue

Summer 2008 issue

The impact of smart sub-metering on low-income tenants

LIEN is very concerned about the impact of smart submetering on housing affordability for low-income tenants who right now pay for electricity in their rent and already struggle to pay for other basic necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medicine.

Having utilities included in rent is a fundamental and valuable term in residential rental contracts, providing tenants with some degree of certainty with respect to expected costs in order to make crucial household budget decisions.

People on social assistance, single-parent families, the elderly, visible minorities, immigrants and persons with disabilities are all over-represented in the population of low-income tenants. They are particularly vulnerable to increases in shelter and utility costs - increases which are difficult to absorb and which could put their housing in jeopardy.

For information on smart submetering, please refer to the resources below: 

1) Tenant information flyer on smart submetering
2) Smart submetering FAQs for tenants

Affordable energy and the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy

The Ontario government has committed to developing a Poverty Reduction Strategy by the end of 2008. A series of government consultations were held across the province in May and June, and Ontarians were invited to submit ideas and comments either through the government's website at www.growingstronger.ca, or by fax or regular mail.

LIEN believes that the province's poverty reduction plan and its long-term affordable housing strategy must both address energy poverty. The LIEN submission to the Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction recommended that the following changes be made to help low-income people who are finding it increasingly difficult to afford their energy bills: (1) establish permanent, adequately-funded energy conservation programs for low-income consumers, with targets for the number of homes to be retrofitted annually. Such programs should be available at no cost to eligible participants and be equitably accessible province-wide; and (2) establish a permanent Ontario Home Energy Affordability Program for low-income consumers.

Saving Energy: The 6-Step Guide to Tenant Action

LIEN is pleased to announce a great new resource called "Saving Energy: The 6-Step Guide to Tenant Action"!  This Guide was written for people like you who want to help tenants save energy and money. Offering a simple 6-step approach to get neighbourhoods organized and working towards common goals, the Guide can help kick start tenant-led energy conservation activities and more.  In this Guide you will find key advice every 'Step' of the way, examples and tips based on lessons learned from real-world experiences, and a helpful 'Info & Ideas' resource section at the end.

This Guide, written by the Toronto Environmental Alliance, is part of a 3-part project in partnership with LIEN to provide resources, workshops, and program opportunities for low-income tenant neighbourhoods to work together, take action and save energy!

We hope you will benefit from this Guide and share it with others!

Click here for your own free copy.

Energy Poverty Fact Sheet

Compelling statistics, compiled by LIEN, that illustrate the disproportionate energy burden facing low-income energy consumers.

Energy Poverty Fact Sheet (updated June 2008)

LIEN Currents, Spring 2008 issue

Spring 2008 issue

Victory at Divisional Court - But low-income energy consumers still face fight for affordable rates

Today, the Divisional Court sided with low-income Ontarians to rule that "the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has the jurisdiction to establish a rate affordability assistance program for low-income consumers."

The Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN)'s representatives Mary Truemner, Acting Director of Legal Services with the legal aid clinic the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, and co-counsel Paul Manning of Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP were pleased that the Court declared that "to further the objective of protecting 'the interests of consumers' this could mean taking into account income levels and pricing to achieve the delivery of affordable energy to low income consumers ½".  They were cautious, however, in responding to the Court's determinations.

"While the Court ruled the OEB has jurisdiction, they did not also determine that the Board must exercise their discretion to set affordable rates for low-income consumers," said Mary Truemner. "It is for this reason that we urge the Minister of Energy to issue a directive that the Ontario Energy Board must design a rate affordability program to minimize the effects of rising energy costs on low-income Ontarians facing choices between heating, eating and paying the rent.  The Court noted that "the Minister has not issued any policy statement directing the board to base rates on considerations of the ability to pay."

The Income Security Advocacy Centre, a LIEN member and legal aid clinic, is asking that the government address energy poverty in its Poverty Reduction Strategy.

For more information:

Mary Truemner, ACTO, 416-597-5855 ext. 5163, cell: 416-996-1021
(Toll free in Ontario: 1-866-245-4182 ext. 5163)

News Categories

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
Email: info@lowincomeenergy.ca