As discussed in previous posts (
here and here), the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has been
mandated to introduce an Ontario Electricity Support Program
(OESP), to provide financial assistance to low-income electricity
consumers. The OESP will be funded by electricity ratepayers,
though a per-kilowatt hour charge on electricity bills. As noted
earlier, it is expected that the monthly OESP credit will be
between $30 and $50. The OESP is to be implemented as of January 1,
The OEB has now launched the website (www.OntarioElectricitySupport.ca
) where low-income electricity consumers can sign up for the OESP.
When visiting that site, visitors can get more information about
the OESP, and can make application to start receiving OESP credits
beginning on January 1, 2016. This does not leave a lot of lead
time for eligible consumers, as the OEB has said that it will take
6 to 8 weeks to process OESP applications. Once a consumer is
deemed eligible, they will receive the OESP for two years before
having to re-qualify.
The OEB has also issued a
Program Manual to assist distributors, unit sub-meterers and
intake agencies who will be delivering the OESP.
As part of an ongoing OEB
Consultation related to the implementation of the OESP,
distributors requested that they should be able to recover not only
the program costs, but also the implementation costs, which are
said to be "considerable". In response, the OEB indicated
that it does not believe that the costs will be material but
reminded distributors that there are options available if the costs
are significant. The OEB
indicated that a distributor may apply under the Incremental
Capital Module, or may request a deferral account for significant
operating expenditures. The OEB's response signals that any
recovery of implementation costs will be on a case-by-case basis,
and will likely be difficult to establish.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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