On August 17, 2016, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) posted data reported by all licensed electricity
distributors in Ontario pertaining to residential customer
accounts in arrears (the Report). The data show that while the
number of residential customers in arrears has not significantly
increased between 2014 and 2015, the number of eligible low-income
customer accounts in arrears did increase for that same period.
The OEB established province-wide Customer Service Standards
with rules to protect consumers facing disconnection by electricity
utilities in 2011. The purpose of the new rules and establishing
standardized arrears management programs was to protect
customers from unnecessary disconnections, give low-income
customers a longer period in which to pay their bills, lower
disconnection rates overall and reduce utility bad debt write-offs.
To test the effectiveness of these standards, the OEB requires all
Ontario electricity utilities to provide it with annual data on
disconnections, reconnections, and arrears beginning in 2013. Going
forward, the data will be used to assist the OEB in reviewing
trends and determining the effectiveness of existing programs,
policies and rules.
The Report indicates that in 2015, there were
566,902 residential customer accounts in arrears at year end.
Arrears are defined by the OEB as accounts that are 30 or more days
past the 16-day minimum payment period. This is approximately 11.5%
of some 4.89 million electricity consumers in Ontario. The 2014
figure for residential customer accounts in arrears at year end was
similar, with 567,165 accounts outstanding. However, both figures
are an increase from 2013, when only 472,620 residential customer
accounts were in arrears at year end. The total dollar amount for
residential customers in arrears at year end in 2015 was
$172,558,137, a decrease from the 2014 figure of $210,086,745. The
same figure in 2013 was $108,053,838.
For some outstanding accounts, electricity distributors had
entered into arrears payments agreements with their customers. The Report shows that the total amount of
monies owing under arrears payment agreements entered into in 2015
with residential customers was $109,056,557. The same figure in
2014 was $74,828,562, and in 2013 it was $67,905,748. This
indicates that the total amount owing under arrears payment
agreements is increasing year over year. The total dollar amount of
write-offs for residential customer accounts in 2015 also increased
to $35,172,817, up from $32,744,390 in 2014 and $31,025,642 in
The Report also shows that in 2015, the number
of eligible low-income customer accounts in arrears at year end was
19,914. The OEB defines "eligible low-income customer" as
a residential consumer approved for the OEB's Ontario
Electricity Support Program (OESP) or Emergency Financial
Assistance. This is up from 15,860 accounts in 2014 and 13,999 in
2013. The total dollar amount of arrears for eligible low-income
customer accounts in arrears at year end in 2015 was $13,005,538.
The same figure in 2014 was $9,203,837, and in 2013 was $5,397,185.
The total dollar amount of write-offs for eligible low-income
customer accounts was $3,620,570 in 2015, up from $2,060,046 in
2014 and $1,075,897 in 2013.
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.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
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.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).