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Where can I get help paying for my energy bill?
There are programs that can help you pay for your energy bill if you are a low-income energy consumer. You need to meet certain criteria to qualify for these types of programs.
What programs are available?
Depending on your situation, there are a few different programs you may qualify for. These programs include:
- The Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) - provides low-income energy consumers with a monthly on-bill credit to reduce their electricity bill. This program provides ongoing help.
- The Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) - This program provides a one-time grant towards your electricity or natural gas bill if you are behind on your bill and may face having your service shut off. It is for emergency situations.
- Special rules for low-income customers - Electricity utilities and unit sub-metering providers have to follow special rules when dealing with low-income customers; for example, waiving security deposits, allowing longer payment times and allowing payment times under arrears (late) payment plans.
There are rules in place to ensure that all residential electricity customers across the province are treated fairly when it comes to customer service, including disconnections and reconnections.
What if I don’t qualify for low-income programs?
If you don’t qualify for other programs like LEAP or OESP, the AffordAbility Fund may be another option if you’re still having difficulty paying your energy bill. It does not matter if you rent or own your home, you may still qualify for help with the cost of energy-saving upgrades.
This fund was established as part of the Ontario Fair Hydro Plan, it’s designed to help lower your monthly electricity costs by improving the energy efficiency of your home. You may qualify for different kinds of upgrades, including LED bulbs, appliances, insulation and weatherstripping.
How can I keep my energy bill down?
Reducing the amount of energy you use can help you lower your costs and your impact on the environment at the same time. Here are some examples of how you can lower your energy consumption:
- An appliance calculator can help you estimate how much power each of your appliances may be using
- You can hire an EnerGuide Home Evaluation service from a licensed service organization. The evaluation can help you understand how your home uses energy. An advisor will assess your home from basement to attic and help you to identify upgrades that would improve energy efficiency.
- Some municipalities offer the peaksaver program. If you are part of this program, during hot summer days when energy demands are highest, a signal will be sent to reduce the electricity needed by your central air conditioning system, it will adjust your unit by about 2°C, which in turn helps to reduce the amount of electricity needed by the Province.
You can read more about lowering your overall utility costs in our How can I reduce the amount of utilities I use? article.
What is a Smart Meter?
A smart meter records how much electricity (hydro) you use and at what time of day you use it.
Electricity that you use during peak (busy) times costs more than electricity that you use during other times. This is also called time-of-use (TOU) pricing. Smart meters can help you manage your electricity bill, reduce strain on the electricity system, and help the environment. You can learn more about smart metres in our What is a Smart Meter? article.
For More Information
- Energy Efficiency Tips and Tools - Tips for lowering your energy use. From HydroOne.
- Save On Energy - Find information about programs that help you save electricity and money. You can get a rebate or payment if you join some programs. The website also has tips about how to use electricity efficiently. From the Ontario Power Authority.
- Smart Meters - This website has information about smart meters and how you can use them to lower your electricity costs. From the Government of Ontario.
- Utility Companies in Ontario - A list of utility companies across the province. From the Independent Electricity System Operator.
November 26, 2018