Under the terms of the AVC, EPCOR will pay an administrative monetary penalty of $18,000 and make an additional payment of $3,000 to the social agency that runs the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) in EPCOR’s service territory. EPCOR serves customers in Collingwood, Stayner, Creemore and the Village of Thornbury.
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.
Through the OEB’s inspection, EPCOR identified that disconnection notices sent to 2,200 customers between August 1, 2020 and September 1, 2021 did not comply with all of the requirements of the OEB’s Distribution System Code (DSC). Of these customers, 103 had their electricity service disconnected and were charged reconnection fees. EPCOR has confirmed that it has provided a full refund to customers that paid reconnection fees and under the AVC has agreed to provide each of them with a $50 bill credit.
The DSC requires a distributor to provide a minimum of 14 days’ notice to a customer prior to disconnection, and to identify in the disconnection notice the earliest and latest dates on which disconnection may occur (which dates may not be greater than 14 days apart). Some of the disconnection notices issued to the affected EPCOR customers failed to provide the required minimum notice and others failed to provide accurate dates for the earliest or latest possible disconnection.
Under the terms of the AVC, EPCOR will send a letter to the 103 customers who were wrongfully disconnected to inform them of its non-compliance and of the additional funding being provided to the LEAP social agency. EPCOR also confirmed that the issue of the unintentional miscalculation of days that led to the non-compliant disconnection notices has now been rectified. As well, it has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that staff involved in the disconnection process are properly informed of the OEB’s regulatory requirements and will receive on-going training to support compliance.
EPCOR is aware of its obligations under the DSC related to the disconnection process and takes these obligations seriously.
“Customers trust utilities to provide timely and accurate information, in particular when it comes to matters of billing and payment. That’s why we expect utilities to follow the disconnection notice rules and provide proper notice before cutting power. To be fair, customers must know when they must make payment in order to avoid disconnection. With the actions we have taken, as well as the assurance from EPCOR, customers will be better protected.”
– Brian Hewson, Vice-President, Consumer Protection & Industry Performance
Additional Information and Resources
- Read the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance – EPCOR Electricity Distribution Ontario Inc. - EB-2022-0205
- Learn about the OEB’s Customer Service Rules for electricity utilities, including those governing disconnections
- Learn about the OEB’s Compliance and Enforcement Process
- Understand the OEB’s Consumer Complaint Process
- See oeb.ca/BillHelp for more information about LEAP and other bill payment assistance programs
About the Ontario Energy Board
The OEB is the independent regulator of Ontario’s electricity and natural gas sectors. It protects consumers and makes decisions that serve the public interest. Its goal is to promote a sustainable and efficient energy sector that provides consumers with reliable energy services at a reasonable cost.