If you haven’t been able to keep up with your energy bills, you may receive a disconnection notice. However, distributors must follow a step-by-step process before disconnecting your electricity or natural gas for non-payment, including minimum notice periods.
If you do receive a disconnection notice, contact your natural gas or electricity distributor as soon as possible. The best way to avoid disconnection is to stay in contact with your distributor and make payment arrangements. If you can’t pay the entire amount owed, ask about setting up a payment plan to pay your debt over a longer period.
If your service is disconnected, your distributor is allowed to charge a reconnection fee to turn your service back on. Again, your distributor must offer reasonable payment arrangements if you are unable to pay this fee. Eligible low-income customers do not have to pay the reconnection fee.
Once your bill has been paid in full or you’ve entered into a payment agreement, your distributor should reconnect your service within two business days.
In Ontario, programs are available to help low-income energy consumers. Certain eligibility criteria apply. The programs include:
- The Ontario Electricity Support Program – Reduces electricity bills by providing eligible low-income customers with a monthly on-bill credit generally ranging from $35 to $75, depending on household income and size to reduce bills going forward.
- The Low-income Energy Assistance Program – This year, eligible low-income customers who are in arrears may receive a one-time grant towards their electricity and gas bills, up to an annual maximum of $1,000 (up to $1,200 for homes that are electrically heated.
- Special Rules for Low Income Earners - Distributors must follow special rules when dealing with low-income customers; for example, waiving security deposits and allowing longer payment times under arrears payment.
Customers can find out more about the specifics of each program, including eligibility, by visiting oeb.ca/billhelp.
Throughout the year, beware of anyone claiming to represent your distributor and threatening immediate disconnection. This could be a scam. Your distributor is not allowed to disconnect you without giving notice, and they do not accept payment through gift cards or bitcoin. Always know who you’re dealing with. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your distributor directly, using the contact information on your utility bill.
- Electricity customers who want to learn more about the OEB’s customer service rules, including details of the disconnection process, go here.
- Natural gas customers who want to learn more about the OEB’s customer service rules, including details of the disconnection process, go here.
- Customers who want to learn more about how to protect themselves against energy scams, visit oeb.ca/scams.