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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 dissenting opinion to the contrary."

In his dissenting decision, Mr. 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 continued, "Put simply, just and reasonable rates do not result from the application of a purely mechanical process of rate review and design. A Board can, and should, take into account a variety of considerations beyond costs in determining rates."

The Low-Income Energy Network is considering its legal options.

For more information:

Mary Truemner, Staff Lawyer, ACTO 416-597-5855 x 5163

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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