THUNDER BAY – The new Ontario Electricity Support Program is now accepting applications and will help make electricity more affordable for low-income families. The OESP was developed by the Ontario Energy Board and is designed to lower electricity bills through an on-bill credit. Starting January 1, 2016, eligible consumers will receive an on-bill credit of between $30 and $50 a month.
To qualify, applicants must receive an electricity bill and meet certain household income thresholds. Consumers are encouraged to apply online at OntarioElectricitySupport.ca and they can also call 1-855-831-8151 for more information and to be connected with a local intake agency for application assistance. Eligible consumers can expect the credit to appear directly on their bill about six to eight weeks from the date their application is approved.
More than 90 community groups are now ready to help consumers apply. For some consumers who heat their home with electricity or rely on certain medical devices that use a lot of electricity, the program offers a higher rate of assistance. First Nations and Métis consumers may also qualify for a higher rate of assistance. First Nations electricity consumers should contact the Ontario Native Welfare Administrators Association (ONWAA) to confirm eligibility and to complete their applications at 1-844-885-3157.
The Ontario Energy Board is an independent and impartial public regulatory agency. We make decisions that serve the public interest. Our goal is to promote a sustainable and efficient energy sector that provides consumers with reliable energy services at a reasonable cost.
“The Ontario Energy Board is responsible for protecting the interests of all consumers and is pleased to be able to offer the Ontario Electricity Support Program. Designed with input from consumer and community groups including First Nations and Métis, the OESP could assist as many as 500,000 low-income Ontario households,” says Rosemarie Leclair, the Ontario Energy Board’s Chair and CEO.
The OESP will help low-income consumers with their electricity bills and may help avoid disconnection of service,” said Mary Todorow, Research/Policy Analyst at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) and one of the Low-Income Energy Network’s (LIEN) founding members. “The OESP is an important element in a comprehensive approach to reducing energy poverty, alongside low-income targeted conservation programs, special customer service rules and emergency financial assistance.”