COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)

On June 1, 2020, the Government of Ontario confirmed that it is making $9 million available for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), to support residential customers struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. 

CEAP provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. The program is being delivered by electricity distributors, gas distributors and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs), in accordance with rules laid out by the OEB.

Utilities and USMPs began accepting applications for CEAP on July 13, 2020.

The government also announced $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to help small businesses that are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. We expect that program details will be available later this summer.

 

CEAP Eligibility Criteria

Residential electricity and natural gas customers are eligible for CEAP if they meet all the following criteria:

  • The customer has an account with an electricity distributor, a USMP or a natural gas distributor. Only the customer who is the account holder can submit an application for CEAP.
  • The customer’s account was in good standing on March 17, 2020, and the customer was not enrolled in an arrears payment agreement for amounts owing prior to March 17, 2020. However, customers that enrolled in an arrears payment agreement for amounts that became owing after March 17, 2020, are eligible for CEAP.
  • The customer failed to make complete payment for the electricity and/or gas charges (as applicable) on at least two bills issued since March 17, 2020, and has an overdue balance on the date of their application for CEAP.
  • The customer or the customer's spouse or common-law partner that resides in the same residence:
    • Is unemployed on the date of their application for CEAP; and
    • Has received Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) since March 17, 2020
    The customer is required to confirm that this is the case on their CEAP application form.
  • In the case of an electricity customer, the customer has not received emergency financial assistance for their electricity bills under the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) in 2020, and has not received funding under the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) in 2020.
  • In the case of a natural gas customer, the customer has not received emergency financial assistance for their natural gas bills under LEAP in 2020. 

CEAP Benefit Amounts

CEAP funding is limited, and utilities and USMPs are expected to process applications in the order in which they are received. Submitting an application for CEAP to your utility or USMP does not guarantee funding.

Electricity Customers 
Eligible electricity customers may qualify for a one-time CEAP credit for half of the electricity charges that are overdue on the date of their application for CEAP, up to a maximum of $115.

The CEAP credit can be higher for eligible electricity customers if 

  • their home is mainly heated by electricity; or 
  • they use one of three specific at-home energy-intensive medical devices: kidney dialysis, mechanical ventilator or oxygen concentrator.

In that case, they may qualify for a one-time CEAP credit for half of the electricity charges that are overdue on the date of their application, up to a maximum of $230. The CEAP application form requires that customers confirm whether they meet either of these two conditions.

Natural Gas Customers
The maximum CEAP credit for eligible natural gas customers depends on where they live:

  • Eligible natural gas customers in Northern Ontario may qualify for a one-time CEAP credit for half of the natural gas charges that are overdue on the date of their application for CEAP, up to a maximum of $160 (Northern Ontario is defined as Enbridge’s Union Gas North West or North East rate zones).
  • Eligible natural gas customers elsewhere in the province may qualify for a one-time CEAP credit for half of the natural gas charges that are overdue on the date of their application for CEAP, up to a maximum of $80.

Applying for CEAP

Apply for CEAP through your utility or USMP. Contact your utility or USMP directly as each may have a unique approach for application in-take.

Utilities and USMPs will be accepting applications for CEAP as of July 13, 2020, and will be making the CEAP application form available on their websites and directly to any residential customer that requests it.

 

At a minimum, customers may apply for CEAP by email or by mail.  Some utilities and USMPs may also have the capability to allow their customers to apply online or by phone.  Contact your utility or USMP to find out what options are available.

Utilities and USMPs are expected to process complete applications within 10 business days of receipt.

CEAP funding is limited, and utilities and USMPs are expected to process applications in the order in which they are received. Submitting an application for CEAP to your utility or USMP does not guarantee funding.

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) Application Forms:
Right-click the application form link below, and select "Save link as" to save to your computer. The application form must be submitted to your utility or USMP, and not to the OEB. Contact your utility or USMP to find out what options are available for submitting the application form.

 

FAQs

  1. Can customers apply for CEAP to help with both their electricity and natural gas bills
    Yes, but customers can only receive a CEAP credit once for electricity and once for natural gas.
     
  2. Is there a deadline to apply for CEAP?
    No, but funding for the program is limited. Utilities and USMPs are expected to process applications in the order in which they are received. CEAP funding is not guaranteed even after a complete application has been submitted.

    The government is making $9 million available for CEAP to support residential energy customers. Each utility and USMP has been allocated a share of that amount, based on how many residential customers they have. Your utility or USMP will stop accepting applications and providing CEAP credits once their allocated share of CEAP funding has run out.
     
  3. When will I see the credit on my bill?
    Utilities and USMPs are expected to process complete CEAP applications within 10 business days of receipt.

    If your utility or USMP has CEAP funds remaining, the credit will be applied to the next available bill issued to you after your CEAP application has been assessed as complete by your utility or USMP.
     
  4. Why doesn’t the bill credit amount cover the full amount of my arrears?
    The on-bill CEAP credit covers half of the charges that are past due, up to a pre-set maximum amount. Setting the level of support for individual customers in this way will assist in achieving the government’s objective of making CEAP available to help the most people affected financially by the COVID-19 emergency. For the same reason, CEAP funding will be available only once per customer for each of their electricity and natural gas bills.
     
  5. How do I apply for the CEAP Small Business program?
    The Government of Ontario has announced that it is also providing $8 million to help small business customers that are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. In a June 1, 2020, letter to the OEB, the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and the Associate Minister of Energy noted that suggestions for this CEAP for Small Business program (CEAP-SB) will be provided to the OEB at a later date. We expect that program details will be available later this summer.