Under the terms of this AVC, Essex acknowledges that a billing system error resulted in customers across all rate classes being charged more than certain OEB-approved charges for a period of about three and a half years. Essex will pay an administrative monetary penalty of $5,000 and will provide a credit to its current customers.
More specifically, under the terms of this AVC, Essex will provide a credit to current customers in an amount equivalent to three years of overcharges, totaling approximately $450,000. This will be paid through a one-time credit that will appear on customer bills within 90 days of the acceptance of this AVC by the OEB. At that time, Essex will also provide an explanation to its customers in a form approved by the OEB. The billing system error that gave rise to the overcharging was fixed by Essex for bills covering usage starting May 1, 2022.
Earlier this year, after a billing issue relating to the proration of certain charges came to the OEB’s attention, the OEB asked all electricity distributors to review their billing systems and advise the OEB if customers were being overcharged as a result of the same issue. Essex reviewed its billing system and reported that it had been incorrectly prorating its fixed monthly charges and as a result overcharged its customers.
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.
“All licensed electricity distributors must be rigorous in applying OEB-approved rates and calculating accurate billing amounts for their customers. Billing accuracy is foundational to customer trust and the OEB is assured that Essex has fixed this billing issue.”
– Brian Hewson, Vice-President, Consumer Protection & Industry Performance
Additional Information and Resources
- Read the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance - EB-2022-0271
- Learn about the OEB’s Compliance and Enforcement Process
About the Ontario Energy Board
The OEB is the independent regulator of Ontario’s electricity and natural gas sectors. It protects the interests of consumers and supports the collective advancement of the people of Ontario. Its goal is to deliver public value through prudent regulation and independent adjudicative decision-making which contributes to Ontario’s economic, social and environmental development.