OEB's consumer protection role

One of our jobs as an independent regulator is to ensure licensed electricity and natural gas companies follow rules that protect consumers and that ensure the energy sector operates in a way that is fair, transparent and accountable. 

We carry out this consumer protection role in a number of ways. We:

  • issue licences that some energy companies need in order to do business
  • monitor the energy companies that we regulate (for example, electricity and natural gas utilities, and energy retailers that sell energy under contract)
  • help consumers work through issues they’re having with energy companies
  • investigate when we think an energy company might have broken the rules
  • enforce the rules and take enforcement action where we find that an energy company has broken the rules – like imposing penalties/fines
  • provide information that residential consumers and small businesses need to better understand the rules that protect them and their responsibilities

Regulation and enforcement

We issue rules and codes that energy companies must follow. The rules and codes define their responsibilities and obligations to consumers, other energy companies and energy-related agencies. We also provide guidelines to help energy companies understand the information we require before they make an application for a change to their rates or corporate structure or for approval to sell their assets or build new projects.

See the rules, codes and guidelines that licensed energy companies have to follow

We closely monitor energy companies and investigate when we think they may have broken the rules. If we find that an energy company has broken the rules, there are a range of actions we can take like imposing a penalty/fine or forcing the company to comply. For companies we license, we can suspend that licence or take it away altogether. The steps for enforcing the rules are set out in legislation. We give the company a chance to present its side of the story before we make our final decision.

In addition to enforcing compliance, we also publish information about energy companies that have not followed the rules. See Enforcement proceedings.

For more details about the process, see a full description of our Compliance and Enforcement Process.

Reports

Holding Utilities to Account – OEB Compliance and Enforcement Activity Report details how the Ontario Energy Board is fulfilling its mandate to hold utilities to account, protect consumers and deliver value to the people of Ontario. The report summarizes key compliance and enforcement highlights and demonstrates our work to foster a culture of compliance among all regulated entities. 

Consumer Charter

Understanding your rights and responsibilities about energy services will help residential and small business consumers make informed choices and know where to go for help. A big part of our ongoing consumer protection role is to make sure consumers understand those rights and responsibilities. We developed a Consumer Charter to do just that.

We worked with consumers, stakeholders and industry members from across Ontario, including our 100-member Consumer Panel, who provided excellent guidance about what a charter should do and say. While it's based on rules and codes that are in place today, it is a living document that will evolve over time.