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 $8 million available to support small business and registered charity 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 to support both residential and small business customers.
The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) provides an on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. Small business and registered charity customers may be eligible for up to $1,500 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-SB support that was less than the maximum amount of $1,500 and have additional arrears may apply again, but their total on-bill credits cannot exceed that amount.
CEAP-SB is being delivered by electricity distributors, natural gas distributors and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs).
You must apply for CEAP-SB through your utility or USMP. Contact your utility or USMP directly as each may have a unique approach for application in-take.
CEAP-SB Eligibility Criteria
We updated the eligibility criteria on January 14, 2021, so that more customers may qualify for CEAP-SB.
Small business and registered charity electricity or natural gas customers are now eligible for CEAP-SB if they meet all of the following criteria:
- The customer has an active account with an electricity distributor, a USMP or a natural gas distributor.
- The customer’s account falls within the following class:
- For customers of an electricity distributor, the General Service less than 50 kW rate class
- For customers of a USMP, the relevant commercial class that uses less than 150,000 kWh of electricity annually
- For customers of a natural gas distributor, is a non-residential customer that uses less than 50,000 cubic meters of gas annually
- Customers can find information about their class on their bill, or they can contact their utility or USMP.
- The customer has a registered business number or charitable registration number for the small business or registered charity operating out of the premises.
- The customer has overdue amounts owing on the day they apply from one or more electricity or gas bills since March 17, 2020.
CEAP-SB Benefit Amounts
CEAP-SB 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-SB to your utility or USMP does not guarantee funding.
Eligible small business and registered charity customers may qualify for CEAP-SB credits for the electricity or natural gas charges that are overdue on the date of their application for CEAP-SB, up to a maximum of $1,500.
Applying for CEAP-SB
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 for Small Business (CEAP-SB) 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-SB to help with both their electricity and gas bills?
Yes. Also, small business and registered charity customers who received CEAP support that was less than the maximum amount of $1,500 may apply again, but their total on-bill credits for each bill (electricity and gas) cannot exceed that amount. That means a small business or registered charity customer may receive up to $1,500 for their electricity bill, and up to $1,500 for their gas bill.
- What if my small business or registered charity has multiple locations?
A small business or registered charitable organization that has multiple locations can receive a CEAP-SB credit for each eligible location towards their electricity or natural gas bills but will need to apply for each location separately.
- Is there a deadline to apply for CEAP-SB?
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-SB funding is not guaranteed even after a complete application has been submitted.
Each utility and USMP has been allocated a share of CEAP-SB funding. Your utility or USMP will stop accepting applications and providing CEAP-SB credits once their allocated share of CEAP-SB funding has run out.
- When will I see the credit on my bill?
If your utility or USMP has CEAP-SB funds remaining, the credit will be applied to the next available bill issued to you after your CEAP-SB application has been assessed as complete by your utility or USMP.
- Why is there a cap on the maximum amount of the CEAP-SB credit available per eligible customer?
The maximum amount of support for eligible customers will assist in achieving the government’s objective of making CEAP-SB available to help the most people affected financially by the COVID-19 emergency.
- 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 directly if they meet the eligibility criteria and funding is available.