The Government of Ontario has provided $8 million to support small business and registered charity customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.
The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) provides a one- time*, 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.
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 from one or more electricity or gas bills since March 17, 2020.
Customers who previously applied but were denied will have their original applications reviewed by utilities and will be contacted directly if they meet the new eligibility criteria.
Customers who previously applied and received an on-bill credit will be notified by their utilities that the funding limits have been increased, and that they can file a new application for additional credits under the new funding limits, to be applied against any current overdue amounts. No customer can receive total CEAP-SB funding that exceeds the new funding limit of $1,500.
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 a one-time CEAP-SB credit 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.
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, but customers can only receive a CEAP-SB credit once for electricity and once for natural gas. Customers who applied and received CEAP support in 2020 may apply again to be considered for the increased funding amount.
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.
The government made $8 million available for CEAP-SB to support small business and registered charity energy customers. Each utility and USMP has been allocated a share of that amount, based on their reporting on customer numbers. 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 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 is there a cap on the maximum amount of the CEAP-SB credit available per eligible customer?
The pre-set 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 my application was not approved. Do I have to reapply again under the new requirements?
No. Customers who previously applied but were denied will have their original applications reviewed by utilities and will be contacted directly by February 15, 2021, if they meet the new eligibility criteria.