October 25, 2021 - The Government of Ontario introduced the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) last year as temporary measures to support energy customers through pandemic lockdowns. In June 2021, as the province moved forward with its reopening plan, the Government asked the OEB to take the necessary steps to ensure any remaining CEAP and CEAP-SB funds are distributed to customers in need while working with utilities to wind down the program. In October 2021, overall program funding was effectively depleted.
There are a number of programs available in Ontario to help low-income energy consumers. You can learn more at oeb.ca/billhelp.
In the summer of 2020, the Government of Ontario made $9 million available for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) to support residential customers who have overdue amounts on their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. In March 2021, the government made an additional $23 million available for CEAP to support both residential and small business customers.
CEAP provides an on-bill credit to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. Residential customers may be eligible for up to $750 in support towards their electricity and natural gas bills, and can apply for on-bill credits for both electricity and natural gas separately. Customers who previously received CEAP support that was less than the maximum amount of $750 and have additional arrears may apply again, but their total on-bill credits cannot exceed that amount.
CEAP is being delivered by electricity distributors, gas distributors and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs).
You must 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.
CEAP Eligibility Criteria
We updated the eligibility criteria on January 14, 2021, so that more customers may qualify for CEAP.
Residential electricity and gas customers are now eligible for CEAP if they meet 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 has overdue amounts owing on the day they apply from one or more electricity or gas bills since March 17, 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.
Eligible customers may qualify for CEAP credits for the electricity or natural gas charges that are overdue on the date of their application for CEAP, up to a maximum of $750.
Applying for CEAP
You must apply through your utility or USMP. Contact them directly about ways to apply – in addition to email and mail, other options like an online form may be available.
Utilities and USMPs are expected to process complete applications within 10 business days of receipt.
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.
- Can customers apply for CEAP to help with both their electricity and natural gas bills?
Yes. Also, residential customers who received CEAP support that was less than the maximum amount of $750 may apply again, but their total on-bill credits for each bill (electricity and gas) cannot exceed that amount. That means a residential customer may receive up to $750 for their electricity bill, and up to $750 for their gas bill.
- Is there a deadline to apply for CEAP?
Not at the moment. Funding for the program is limited, however. 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.
Each utility and USMP has been allocated a share of CEAP funding. Your utility or USMP will stop accepting applications and providing CEAP credits once their allocated share of CEAP funding has run out.
- When will I see the credit on my bill?
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.
- Why doesn’t the bill credit amount cover the full amount of my arrears?
The on-bill CEAP credit covers the charges that are past due, up to a maximum amount of $750. 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.
- How do I apply for the CEAP Small Business (CEAP-SB) program?
You must apply through your utility or USMP. Contact them directly about ways to apply – in addition to email and mail, other options like an online form may be available. Further details on CEAP-SB, including the application process, can be found here.
- I had applied previously and was told my application was not approved due to a lack of funding. Do I have to reapply?
No. Customers who previously applied but were denied due to a lack of funding will have their original applications reviewed by utilities and will be contacted if they meet the eligibility criteria and funding is available.