Ontario clamping down on predatory energy retailers
Ontario is protecting electricity and natural gas consumers with new rules that put an end to unfair practices by some energy retailers, according to the Government of Ontario.
The government says the new rules will help ensure that Ontarians receive accurate information from all energy retailers before they sign contracts. In the coming months, the Ontario Energy Board will help educate Ontarians about these new rules that will require energy retailers to:
• Disclose how the contract price they are offering compares to the price offered by the local utility;
• Provide training programs to their staff to ensure they know, understand and abide by the new rules;
• Cancel a consumer’s contract without penalty in a number of circumstances, and limit the cancellation fees that retailers can charge consumers.
These rules were created to protect Ontario families and seniors from energy retailers who prey on the vulnerable, says the government.
Ontario is also ensuring that tenants are part of the decision process and informed about the rules when suite meters are installed in rental units. If a landlord chooses to install a suite meter, tenants will have the choice of paying for their electricity consumption separately from rent. If electricity is currently included in a tenant’s rent, landlords must lower the rent if a tenant chooses to pay for their own electricity using a suite meter.
Before an existing tenant makes any decision regarding how they are charged for electricity, landlords will have to seek their informed consent, while also providing prospective tenants with information before rental agreements are signed.
October 15, 2010 By John Gilson
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