They might have even asked you to sign up for an energy contract on the spot. For some people, that can be an unnerving experience.
But thanks to tough new rules under the revised Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 (ECPA), energy retailers – companies who sell energy by contract – can no longer ask you to sign up for an energy contract while they are at your home.
While energy retailers can still come to your door at certain times and offer you information and materials, they cannot ask you to sign a contract while they’re there, giving you the ability to make choices about your energy supply at your own pace and with better information.
The new protections, based on recommendations the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) made to the government to better protect consumers, came into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. They:
- Ban door-to-door energy retailers from signing you up for an energy contract while they are at your home
- Place limits on when energy retailers can come to your home to market or advertise their business
- Extend the time that consumers can cancel an energy contract without penalty to 30 days after they receive their second bill under the energy contract
- Require all energy contracts – now even those entered into online – to be verified by the consumer 10-45 days after they’ve entered into the contract to confirm that they wish to continue with it
- Eliminate auto-renewal of all energy contracts
- Reduce cancellation fees for most residential consumers
- Require energy retailers to include OEB-approved plain language terms and conditions in their energy contracts
The ECPA has been in effect since 2011, helping to protect consumers from hidden costs, excessive cancellation fees and other unfair practices, while ensuring they have information they need to make the right decisions about energy contracts.
The OEB encourages all consumers to visit oeb.ca/knockknock and learn more about their rights and the rules that energy retailers have to follow, and to contact the OEB if they have any concerns. We also have an online bill calculator if you want to compare your utility price with a contract offer.