News & Events

There has Never Been a Better Time Not to Buy a Reactor

For immediate release                                        June 3, 2009

Conditions have changed and the McGuinty government should support its own Green Energy Act by deciding against buying new nuclear reactors this summer, say thirteen prominent environmental organizations in an open letter to the Premier.

The groups say there has never been a better time not to buy a nuclear reactor, and they urge the Premier to forgo spending billions on new nuclear and instead put his Green Energy Act to work by replacing the aging Pickering B nuclear station with green energy.

"Nuclear costs are increasing, electricity demand is falling and the province has put in place the conditions for green power to play an…

New OEB program to protect low-income consumers from rising energy costs: Board's comprehensive, province-wide approach commended by advocates

For immediate release                                        March 10, 2009

TORONTO - The Low-Income Energy Network today commended the Ontario Energy Board for establishing the new Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and recognizing the needs of low-income energy consumers in Ontario. LIEN was responding to an OEB report released today following consultations held last fall.

The OEB instituted its consultation on low-income energy issues after LIEN secured a ruling from Divisional Court which found that the OEB has the jurisdiction to take affordability into account as part of its statutory mandate to set just and reasonable rates. This sets an important…

Green Energy Act holds promise of affordable utility bills for poor - but conservation measures must be coupled with rate assistance

(Toronto) The Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) is encouraged by provisions in the proposed Green Energy Act (GEA) that could fund conservation programs targeted to low-income Ontarians to help reduce their household energy use and bills.  Such programs can ensure that our most financially disadvantaged citizens will not be left behind as Ontario develops a robust conservation culture.

The province's poorest households, struggling to pay for their housing, food, transportation, medicine and other basic necessities, simply do not have the money to invest in effective measures for deep energy savings, such as weatherization, insulation, and energy efficient heating equipment and appliances.  Low-income tenants face additional…

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…

Fight for lower energy bills for poor goes to Divisional Court

Today, the Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) is appearing before a Divisional Court panel at 10:00 a.m. at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Courtroom #3. LIEN is arguing that the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has the authority to set affordable gas rates for low-income energy consumers.

In April 2007, the OEB released a decision that it had no jurisdiction to implement rate affordability programs for low-income residential consumers. The Board decision was not unanimous. In a strongly worded dissent, OEB Vice Chair Gordon Kaiser argued, "I believe the Act gives the Ontario Energy Board broad powers and discretion to consider issues of public policy and the necessary jurisdiction to enact low-income rates."  Mr. Kaiser…

Legal appeal of Ontario Energy Board decision on low-income energy consumers

(Toronto) - Today, the Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) announced it will not be giving up the fight for fair energy prices for low-income consumers in Ontario, despite a recent decision by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) that thwarted the group's efforts. LIEN served notice of its appeal to Divisional Court of the Ontario Energy Board's (OEB) decision issued April 26, 2007 that it does not have the jurisdiction to implement rate affordability programs for low-income residential consumers. There was a very strong dissenting decision in this matter by Gordon Kaiser, Chair of the three-member Board panel, who found that the OEB does have the "jurisdiction to approve special rates for low-income consumers in appropriate cases."


Ontario Energy Board claims no jurisdiction to create a rate class for low-income consumers

(Toronto) - The Ontario Energy Board released a decision yesterday in which the majority of the Board decided they have no jurisdiction to establish a rate group for low-income consumers.

In its submissions, LIEN had argued "Unaffordable gas and electricity rates cause great hardship to poor consumers in Ontario. Sometimes they are forced to choose between heating or eating."

"We are extremely disappointed that the majority decision sidestepped the opportunity to establish protections for low-income people," says Mary Truemner, a member of the LIEN steering committee and Staff Lawyer for the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO). "We were heartened that Gordon Kaiser, a Vice-Chair of the Ontario Energy Board, provided a…

New energy conservation pilot program good news for 2,500 low-income homeowner and renter households, lays groundwork for a province-wide program

(Toronto) The Low Income Energy Network (LIEN) has been looking forward to the expansion of the OPA's low-income conservation programs beyond the social housing sector and welcomed today's launch by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA)/Conservation Bureau of its low-income Energy Efficiency Assistance for Housing pilot program. Under the pilot, a package of energy conservation and efficiency measures designed to reduce electricity consumption will be provided to up to 2,500 low-income households in the homes they own or rent. Community and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur and Peter Love, the province's Chief Energy Conservation Officer, made the announcement today at Vanier Community Services Centre in Ottawa.

"Low-income consumers…

Federal environmental plan must include 'green' for Canada's low-income households

Toronto - When the federal government announces plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions and smog this fall, it must include a national energy efficiency program for low-income households, according to leading affordable housing, construction, environmental and anti-poverty groups and Toronto Mayor David Miller.

"Every Torontonian, rich or poor, should be able to make their home more energy efficient to sustain long-term savings," said Mayor David Miller. "Unfortunately, without the support of the federal government, this is not a reality for low-income households. This is as much about improving the quality of life for our most vulnerable residents as it is about improving the quality of our natural environment."

"Funding a national…

Affordable energy rate plan for low-income people missing as May 1st electricity price hikes take effect

TORONTO - The Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) is calling for government action to ensure low-income people can maintain access to basic energy needs. The electricity price and distribution rate increases announced by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) on April 12th take effect today. Yet, there is no permanent rate assistance program in place for Ontario's low-income consumers who are vulnerable to increases in shelter and utility costs and may be forced to make difficult choices between heating, eating and paying the rent.

Low-income rate assistance is a crucial component of LIEN's recommended provincial strategy for reducing energy consumption and costs for low-income consumers. LIEN's proposal for an Ontario Home Energy Affordability…

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Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN)
c/o Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO)
425 Adelaide Street W
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3C1
Phone: 416-597-5855 ext. 5167
Toll-free: 1-866-245-4182 ext. 5167
Fax: 416-597-5821