Advocacy group applauds Energy Minister’s proactive move to help vulnerable consumers pay their bills

Media Release from the Low-Income Energy Network

Apr 23 2014

(Toronto) The Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) commends the government’s commitment to ensuring ongoing affordability of electricity bills for Ontario’s low-income households. The Ontario Electricity Support Program, which was announced by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli today, is an important component of a comprehensive approach to reducing energy poverty in Ontario – for which LIEN has been advocating since 2004.

“We are pleased that Minister Chiarelli has directed the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to develop an electricity rate affordability program which will help low-income consumers pay for their essential electricity service and other basic needs such as rent, food, transportation and medications,” said Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), one of LIEN’s founding members.

“We look forward to participating in the OEB’s consultation hearings to provide input into the program’s design.” The Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) will build on the OEB’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and is scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2016.

LEAP has been in place since 2011 and has three components: more flexible customer service rules on matters such as arrears payment plans and disconnection notice periods; emergency energy assistance, and energy conservation programs targeted specifically to low-income consumers.

LIEN is a network of anti-poverty, affordable housing, environmental and social justice organizations that works to address the needs of Ontario’s low-income households by ensuring the implementation of effective energy assistance and conservation programs and policies. Note that LIEN will be participating in the OEB’s stakeholder consultation on the OESP. For more information about the rate affordability model that LIEN has been proposing, please see the webinar posted on CLEO’s Your Legal Rights web site.

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For further information:
Zee Bhanji, LIEN Coordinator 416-597-5855 ext. 5167 www.lowincomeenergy.ca