Ontario Energy Board accepts Assurance of Voluntary Compliance from Oshawa PUC Networks Inc.

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has accepted an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) from Oshawa PUC Networks Inc. (Oshawa PUC), an OEB-licensed electricity distributor, following an inspection into the company’s disconnection practices.

Under the terms of the AVC, Oshawa PUC will pay an administrative monetary penalty of $20,000.

An AVC is a binding commitment by a regulated entity to take measures to rectify or prevent non-compliance. Failure to abide by the terms of an AVC can lead to enforcement action being taken by the OEB.

The inspection focused on non-compliant disconnection notices sent to 780 customers in May 2019, 118 of whom had their electricity disconnected. Following a full review of its collection and disconnection practices, Oshawa notified all customers of the non-compliance, refunded any reconnection fees that had been paid and issued a good-will credit of $30 to each of the 780 customers.

The OEB’s inspection found, and Oshawa PUC admitted, that between May 1 to May 31, 2019, 780 customers were inadvertently sent disconnection notices that did not comply with all of the requirements of the OEB’s Distribution System Code (DSC). The DSC requires a distributor to provide a minimum of 10 days notice to a customer prior to disconnection, and to identify in the disconnection notice the earliest date on which disconnection may occur. The disconnection notices issued to the 780 customers were based on an incorrect calculation of the earliest date on which disconnection may occur, and as a result these customers were not given proper notice of their possible disconnection by Oshawa PUC.

Oshawa PUC has assured the OEB that it has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that staff involved in the collection and disconnection process are properly informed of the regulatory requirements and that on-going training and management oversight remains in place to support compliance.

“It is the OEB’s responsibility to protect consumers by ensuring that the companies that we regulate follow the rules. Customers may be harmed when the rules are not followed, particularly those governing disconnections. Consumers will be protected with the actions we have taken, and with Oshawa PUC committing to make sure its internal practices are compliant.”
– Brian Hewson, Vice-President, Consumer Protection & Industry Performance


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