TORONTO, December 30, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Starting January 1, 2011, new rules take effect to help protect Ontarians by ensuring that electricity retailers and gas marketers follow fair business practices and provide information that consumers need before signing or renewing an energy contract.
Some of the important new requirements that apply to contracts that are entered into or renewed by residential and small business consumers on or after January 1, 2011 include:
...Retailers and marketers must provide enhanced training and testing for their sales agents that meets the requirements set by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB);
...Consumers must be provided with a plain language disclosure statement (available in multiple languages at: http://www.oeb.gov.on.ca/OEB/Consumers/Information+in+Other+Languages) as well as a price comparison sheet that allows them to compare a contract price offer with the price of energy supplied by their utility;
...A requirement for the retailer or marketer to verify contracts that are entered into in person using a script approved by the OEB; and Limits on cancellation fees or, in some instances, the right to cancel without paying cancellation fees.
The new consumer protection framework is set out in the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010. In anticipation of the new legislation coming into force, the OEB updated its own rules for electricity retailers and gas marketers.
The OEB has also updated its website, www.oeb.gov.on.ca/OEB/Consumers, to incorporate the new consumer protection rules as part of the useful information available to consumers considering an energy contract. The website also has interactive online bill calculators that are geared to help residential and, starting January 1st; small business consumers estimate their electricity or natural gas bills. Those consumers can also compare those bill estimates with the contract price offered by an electricity retailer or gas marketer.
The Ontario Energy Board regulates the province's electricity and natural gas sectors in the public interest. It envisions a viable and efficient energy sector with informed consumers served by responsive regulatory processes that are effective, fair and transparent.
For more information, please refer to the attached backgrounder, visit the OEB website at www.oeb.gov.on.ca or contact our Consumer Relations Centre at 416-314-2455 or toll-free at 1-877-632-2727.