On May 28, 2015, the Ontario Energy Board released a report on the
effectiveness of Part II of Ontario's Energy Consumer
Protection Act, 2010 (ECPA). Before the ECPA came into force
in January 2011, the OEB was receiving 100 to 150 complaints a week
about energy retailers in the Province and many complaints were
being received elsewhere, such as at the Ontario Ministry of
Consumer Services. The ECPA was intended to protect low-volume
energy consumers from unfair practices by energy retailers and to
enhance the ability of these customers to make informed decisions
about electricity and natural gas contracts with energy
The ECPA provided that the Minister of Energy could request the
OEB to review Part II of the ECPA after three years and the
Minister made this request in December of 2013. It is perhaps not
surprising that the Minister requested a review, because the
Auditor General of Ontario expressed concern in its 2011 Annual
Report about customers paying more under retail electricity
contracts than they would have paid to purchase electricity from
As a result of the Minister's request, the OEB carried out a
consultation and the May 28th report ("Consumers
Come First") is the outcome of the consultation. The report
indicates that there is general agreement with the effectiveness of
the ECPA "at least in theory," but that "in
practice" problems continue. These problems include: low
consumer understanding and awareness of the energy sector and
retail energy markets; many consumers under contracts with energy
retailers being unaware that they have a contract (roughly
one-third of contract holders surveyed); and a continuing concern
about door-to-door sales. Based on its findings about these
problems, the OEB made 14 recommendations for new measures to
enhance consumer protection, such as a requirement that sales
agents must be employees of the company that they represent; an
increase in the cooling off period for cancellation of contracts
from 10 to 20 days; and a verification requirement for all retail
contracts (previously verification was not required for contracts
made through the internet, direct mail or an initiation of contact
by the customer with the energy retailer). Prominent among the
OEB's recommendations is a ban on door-to-door sales for
residential consumers and, on June 2, 2015, the Ontario Ministry of
Energy announced proposed legislative amendments to ban door to
door sales for energy contracts.
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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