Reviewing the Low-income Energy Assistance Program

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is reviewing the Low-income Energy Assistance Program Emergency Financial Assistance, or LEAP EFA, and is encouraging consumers to have their say.

man with bill

The OEB is reviewing the Low-income Energy Assistance Program Emergency Financial Assistance, or LEAP EFA, and is encouraging consumers to have their say. Take our survey at www.oeb.ca/leapsurvey.

LEAP EFA provides a one-time financial grant to eligible lower-income customers who face disconnection or have been disconnected because they’ve fallen behind on their electricity or natural gas bills. Recipients can apply for the emergency financial assistance once a year.

To fund the LEAP EFA, utilities contribute 0.12 per cent of their total OEB-approved distribution revenue or $2,000, whichever is greater.

Customers apply for LEAP EFA through a social agency that has partnered with their utility. The social agency assesses the application and determines who qualifies for LEAP EFA. Eligibility is based on certain criteria, such as household income and size, and whether an applicant received a disconnection notice or has already been disconnected.

LEAP EFA income eligibility criteria

Household after tax income ($) Number of people living in home
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Less than 28,000
28,001 - 39,000    
39,001 - 48,000        
48,001 - 52,000            

 

Eligible lower-income customers can get up to $500 in emergency assistance for their electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated electrically) and/or $500 for their natural gas bills. 

LEAP EFA is credited to eligible customers’ electricity or natural gas bills.

The review will examine:

  • How well the program is meeting the needs of lower-income energy customers facing disconnection
  • How to improve the way LEAP EFA is delivered
  • Whether current funding and/or grant amounts should be changed.

As part of our review, the OEB plans to consult with residential consumers, including LEAP applicants, as well as utilities, unit sub-meter providers, social agencies, and consumer and industry stakeholder groups. We will also review similar programs in North America and the United Kingdom.

We expect to issue a report next year.

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