(TORONTO, ON) – The Ontario Energy Board has introduced a Consumer Charter to ensure consumers know their rights and responsibilities when it comes to electricity. The OEB regulates and sets prices for electricity across the province.
“Knowledge is power and the key to consumer protection,” said Rosemarie Leclair, the OEB’s chair and CEO. “The Charter is one of the ways that we are providing consumers with the knowledge they need to protect their rights.”
Leclair adds that consumers who feel they are not being treated fairly can and should call the board.
The five main elements of the charter state that hydro customers can expect safe and reliable service, accurate and timely bills, fair security deposit policies, fair disconnection and reconnection practices, and fair, reasonable, and timely complaint resolution processes.
Customers should also expect personal privacy.
The Charter was developed with the advice and input of Ontario energy consumers, obtained through a Consumer Panel established by the OEB in 2015. Sessions were held in four key regions of the province and included a relative demographic mix of everyday Ontarians, both residential and small business.
“I am so grateful to have been able to supply input for the OEB Charter of Rights,” said one panel member. “And that my input has been incorporated into the Charter of Rights.”
Following the development of the Charter, the OEB is now moving forward with a review of existing customer service rules for electricity and natural gas utilities, which include rules on disconnections, security deposits, and other rights.
“We’re not stopping with the Consumer Charter. We’re going to continue to improve and review the rules and help protect and empower consumers,” said Brian Hewson, the vice-president of consumer protection and industry performance.
The review will consider how customer service rules have been implemented by distributors and whether they maintain an appropriate balance between customer protection and the on-going operational needs of utilities. Part of the fact-finding process will include consultation with consumers, including representatives of those with low-incomes, as well as the industry itself.
Key items on the agenda will be the needs of low-income consumers and matters such as rate increases proposed by their utilities, the development of the Consumer Charter, and the review of customer service rules.