Energy contracts

Before you enter into an energy contract for your electricity or natural gas, be sure to do your homework.
Consumer protection

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. This page has important information to help you understand energy contracts and your rights. If after reading this, you’re interested in finding out more about the options that may be available, the bottom of this page lists the websites of energy retailers that are currently offering energy contracts to residential and small business consumers in Ontario.

Know the facts

Know your rights.

  • The energy retailer’s salesperson must give you a business card and show their company ID badge.
  • Your utility bill is private. It contains personal information like your account number and energy usage. The energy retailer only needs this information if you decide to enter into an energy contract.

 

Energy retailers are not your utility, the government or the OEB.

  • We license energy retailers, but we do not regulate the prices they offer.

 

Energy retailers can’t sign you up for a contract while they are at your home.

  • Energy retailers can come to your home at certain times and give you information but may not leave a copy of a contract with you.
  • You have a choice: You may decide to enter into an energy contract with a licensed energy retailer or purchase your electricity or natural gas from your utility. Energy contract prices are not regulated by the Ontario Energy Board.
  • Your home 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 government or your utility.

 

Savings are not guaranteed.

  • An energy contract may not save you money. Do your homework. Take the time to review and compare the contract offer and the prices charged by your utility. Make sure you understand what you will pay under the contract.
Use the OEB’s Bill Calculator to compare prices

Before you enter into an energy contract, get a current price comparison. Use your own utility bill, the contract price offer and the OEB’s bill calculator.

 

Next steps: If you choose a contract. 

  • If at a later date you decide to move forward with an energy contract, the retailer must give you certain documents so that you can make an informed decision: the energy contract, a disclosure statement and a price comparison. Make sure you read all the information.

 

Learn more about energy contracts

We also have other information and tools to help you make an informed decision:

Before signing up
After you sign up
Nearing the end of an energy contract: How renewals and extensions work

 

Complaints against energy retailers

One of our jobs is to establish rules that protect residential and small business consumers in their dealing with energy retailers. We also ensure licensed energy retailers follow the laws and rules that protect consumers, which include:

Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 (ECPA) 
Ontario Energy Board Electricity Retailer Code of Conduct (pdf)
Ontario Energy Board Code of Conduct for Gas Marketers (pdf)

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.

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.

See the list of OEB Enforcement Proceedings and results
Read about our processes for compliance and enforcement

 

COMPLAINTS AGAINST ENERGY RETAILERS (BY COMPANY)

The following scorecard shows how each retailer’s rate of complaints compares with the average for the whole sector. These are complaints that consumers have filed with us about active* retailers. We measure this per 1,000 contracts so that large and small companies can be compared against each other.

COMPLAINTS AGAINST ENERGY RETAILERS (BY CATEGORY)

The following scorecard shows the number of complaints consumers have filed with us about active* retailers over the past 12 months ending March 31, 2018. Complaints are grouped into categories** that reflect the different stages of the contract process.

* Active means the company has signed at least one new contract, or renewed at least one, in the past nine months.
 
** Category definitions:
 
'Sign up process' includes issues concerning:
  • whether the salesperson followed the rules for door-to-door marketing and advertising – e.g. they are not allowed to sign up a consumer at the door or leave a contract behind
  • how the salesperson handled the sales call – whether they properly identified themselves; whether the consumer was given the required documents (OEB disclosure statement and price comparison) to help them make an informed decision 
  • whether the retailer followed the rules for internet marketing
  • whether the verification stage of the process was carried out properly
'Management of contract during life of the contract' includes issues concerning:
  • whether a consumer was aware they were signed up
  • whether the consumer is paying the rate agreed to in the contract
  • whether the retailer followed the rules for cancelling a contract – e.g. if a consumer was allowed to cancel; if cancellation charges were unfairly applied 
  • whether the retailer applied the correct cancellation rules and charges that were in effect when the contract was signed – e.g. the ECPA rules are different for contracts signed before 2011, between 2011-2016 and starting in 2017
  • how a consumer felt their complaint was handled or if the retailer didn’t respond to the consumer
'Renewal process' includes issues concerning:
  • whether the retailer followed the rules for renewing a contract – e.g. if the contract was renewed without the consumer’s consent or if the consumer was properly notified according to the timelines set out in the rules 

 

List of energy retailers currently selling contracts in Ontario

Now that you know the facts and your rights - that you don't have to sign a contract and that savings are not guaranteed – if you’re interested in offers that might be available, here's list of active retailers' websites currently selling contracts to residential and small business consumers in Ontario. These will open in a separate window so you can still refer back to our website and use our bill calculator to compare offers with your utility bill.

Electricity

Natural Gas