Regulatory amendments to O. Reg. 389/10 (General) made under the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010, O. Reg. 331/03 (Administrative Penalties) and O. Reg. 442/01 (Rural or Remote Electricity Rate Protection)made under the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998, that would support the proposed Strengthening Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act, 2015 (Bill 112), if passed.
Regulation - Minister
Bill or Act:
Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010; Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998; Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act, 2015
Summary of Decision:
On December 3, 2015, Bill 112 - the Strengthening Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act, 2015 received Royal Assent. Bill 112 amends the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 (ECPA) and the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (OEBA). Amendments to the OEBA were proclaimed into force on March 4, 2016 and amendments to the ECPA will be proclaimed on January 1, 2017.
The amendments to O. Reg. 331/03 (Administrative Penalties) and O. Reg. 442/01 (Rural or Remote Electricity Rate Protection) made under the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 were filed with the Registrar of Regulations on March 4, 2016.
Amendments to O. Reg. 442/01 proceeded as per the posting proposal as no feedback was received. The amendments to O. Reg. 331/03 address comments received as a result of the posting by setting out specific criteria that the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) must consider when determining an administrative penalty, and providing that the OEB must not impose a penalty that is punitive in the circumstances.
The amendments to O. Reg. 389/10 (General) made under the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 were filed with the Registrar of Regulations on June 24, 2016. The majority of the amendments proceeded as per the posting proposal in order to further enhance protection for consumers in their dealings with energy retailers by decreasing the potential for energy retailers to engage in aggressive sales tactics, and providing additional opportunity for consumers to make more informed decisions about signing retail contracts. Responding to feedback received as a result of the posting, changes were made to allow the verification process to occur over the internet.
Effective Date: March 4, 2016 for O. Reg. 442/01 and O. Reg 331/03; January 1, 2017 for O. Reg. 389/10
August 28, 2015
Summary of Proposal:
The Ministry of Energy (ENERGY) has introduced Bill 112 that would amend the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (OEBA) and the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 (ECPA) to enhance the Ontario Energy Board's (OEB) mandate and organization to ensure that it continues to have a robust set of tools to regulate and protect consumers.
If passed, Bill 112 would amend the ECPA by banning the door-to-door sale of retail energy contracts, doubling the cooling-off period from 10 days to 20 days, and requiring all contracts to be subject to a standardized verification process.
To support these proposed amendments and to provide additional measures that would enhance consumer awareness of retail energy contracts and strengthen consumer protection, ENERGY proposes to amend O. Reg. 389/10 (General) made under the ECPA. Proposed amendments include:
• Prohibiting the auto-renewal of gas contracts (section 17);
• Reducing the amount that electricity retailers and gas marketers can charge to consumers for the cancellation of a contract (section 23(1)).
• Allowing consumers to cancel a retail energy contract without penalty after two billing cycles (section 21(d)).
• Prescribing rules governing door-to-door marketing and advertising activity, including (new section):
- Allowing retailers to market/advertise at the door only during prescribed times of the day;
- Prohibiting retailers from leaving a contract with a consumer at the door;
- Limiting a retailer's ability to make repeated unsolicited visits to a consumer's home;
- Prohibiting retailers, as part of a door-to-door interaction, from providing consumers with a gift card or incentive for future redemption following entering into a contract; and
- Prohibiting unsolicited door-to-door marketing/advertising if there is a posted sign prohibiting the activity.
• Prohibiting all sales agents from earning a commission based on volume of sales (new section).
• Prescribing, as an unfair practice, the repayment of a gift card or value of a bundled product if a retail energy contract is cancelled (section 5).
ENERGY also proposes providing the OEB with stronger and more flexible penalty provisions. If passed, Bill 112 would amend the OEBA by increasing the cap on administrative penalties to $1,000,000 per day. In order to provide the OEB with more flexible enforcement abilities, ENERGY proposes to amend O. Reg. 331/03 made under the OEBA by repealing the Schedule that sets out ranges of administrative penalties that the OEB can impose.
Additionally, ENERGY proposes amending O. Reg. 442/01 (section 5) to make the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) the settlement agent for the Rural or Remote Rate Protection (RRRP) allowing the IESO to directly settle with non-Hydro One distributors and Hydro One would continue for its Remote Communities and R2 customers.
77 Grenville Street
July 18, 2016