Has an energy retailer ever approached you at your home? Before you enter into an energy contract for your electricity or natural gas, be sure to do your homework. Compare prices, and read and understand what you are agreeing to.
You have a choice. You may decide to enter into an energy contract with a licensed energy retailer or you can purchase your electricity or natural gas from your utility. Your home or small business will continue to have natural gas or electricity whether or not you enter into an energy contract. With, or without, an energy contract, you will be eligible for conservation and other programs from the government or your utility.
There are new rules that apply to energy contracts and how energy retailers deal with residential and small business consumers.
We recommended new rules to the Minister of Energy after we reviewed the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 – which protects the interests of residential and small business consumers in their dealings with energy retailers.
On January 1, 2017, new rules came into effect regarding energy contracts (electricity and/or natural gas) and how energy retailers deal with residential and small business consumers. Among other things, the new rules ban contracting with consumers while an energy retailer is at their home, disallow automatic renewals/extensions of energy contracts, extend cancellation periods and reduce cancellation fees.
See the rules that are now in effect to better protect consumers.
Current rules for energy retailers
As Ontario’s energy regulator, one of our jobs is to establish rules that protect residential and small business consumers in their dealing with energy retailers. One of our other jobs is to ensure licensed energy retailers follow the laws and rules that protect consumers, which include:
We’re working to protect you when we:
- License energy retailers
- Help you work through issues you’re having with energy retailers
- Investigate cases where an energy retailer is suspected of breaking the rules
- Take enforcement action in appropriate cases if we find that an energy retailer has broken the rules
- Provide you with information about your rights and responsibilities when entering into energy contracts.
We do not regulate the prices offered by energy retailers.
Enforcing the rules
If we find that an energy retailer has broken the rules, we can take enforcement action. For example, we can impose a penalty or fine of up to $1 million per day or suspend or take away an energy retailer’s licence.
The steps for taking enforcement action are set out in legislation, and the energy retailer is given a chance to present its side of the story before we make our final decision.