COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program - Small Business (CEAP-SB)

The Government of Ontario is providing $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 $850 in support towards their electricity bill if they primarily use electricity for heating, or up to $425 otherwise. Small business and registered charity customers could also be eligible for up to $425 in support towards their natural gas bill.

CEAP-SB is being delivered by electricity distributors, natural gas distributors and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs), in accordance with rules laid out by the OEB.

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--Updated

We have updated the eligibility criteria so that more customers may qualify for CEAP-SB. Small business customers who made partial payments in early 2020 for amounts owing on their bills prior to March 17, are now eligible to apply for CEAP-SB.

Customers who previously applied but were denied will have their original applications reviewed by utilities and will be contacted directly if they are determined to meet the new eligibility criteria.

For new applicants, please see updated eligibility requirements below.

Small business and registered charity electricity or natural gas customers are 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.
  • Customers may qualify if (before March 17) they:
    • did not have any overdue amounts on their electricity bill on March 17, 2020, the date of the Provincial Declaration of Emergency, or 
    • made at least partial payments on amounts overdue prior to March 17, 2020. 
  • The customer (after March 17) 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.
    • If the customer made partial payments on their bills, they may still qualify for CEAP.
  • The customer’s small business or registered charity premises was required to close* to the public for regular operations for at least 15 days as a result of a government order or inability to comply with public health recommendations.
* “Close” means that the small business or registered charity was unable to maintain regular operations as a result of government order or health recommendations that required them to either fully close operations, limit access to their premises or limit the services provided or available to the public.

 

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.

Electricity Customers
Eligible small business and registered charity customers may qualify for a one-time CEAP-SB credit equal to the electricity charges that are overdue on the date of their application for CEAP-SB, up to a maximum of $850 if their premises is mainly heated by electricity, or up to a maximum of $425 otherwise.

Natural Gas Customers
Eligible small business and registered charity customers may qualify for a one-time CEAP-SB credit equal to the natural gas charges that are overdue on the date of their application for CEAP-SB, up to a maximum of $425.

Applying for CEAP-SB

At a minimum, customers may apply for CEAP-SB 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.

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.

 

FAQs

  1. 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. This 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.
     
  2. What if my small business or registered charity has multiple locations?
    A small business or registered charitable organization that has multiple locations can receive only one CEAP-SB credit towards their electricity bill and one CEAP-SB credit towards their natural gas bill, even if they have multiple locations throughout the Province.
     
  3. Is there a deadline to apply for CEAP-SB?
    No, but funding for the program is limited, and 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 is making $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.
     
  4. When will I see the credit on my bill?
    Utilities and USMPs are expected to process complete CEAP-SB applications within 10 business days of receipt.

    Provided that you are eligible and your utility or USMP has CEAP-SB funds remaining when they assess your CEAP-SB application as complete, the credit will be applied to the next available bill issued to you after that.
     
  5. 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. For the same reason, CEAP-SB funding will be available only once per customer for each of electricity and natural gas, even if they have multiple locations throughout the Province.
     
  6. I had applied previously and my application was not approved?  Do I have to reapply again under the new requirements?
    Customers who previously applied but were denied will have their original applications reviewed by utilities and will be contacted directly if they are determined to meet the new eligibility criteria.
     
  7. How have the eligibility requirements for CEAP-SB changed?
    The eligibility criteria has been updated so that more customers may qualify for CEAP-SB.  Small business customers who made partial payments in early 2020 for amounts owing on their bills prior to March 17, are now eligible to apply for CEAP-SB