You have two options for electricity supply. You can have your electricity supplied by Hydro Ottawa through the Regulated Price Plan (RPP) where prices are set by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). The other option is to sign a contract with a company that sells electricity under contract, also known as an electricity retailer.
Residential and small business customers are automatically part of the RPP unless they choose to purchase their electricity from an electricity retailer. Electricity retailers are private companies and are not associated with Hydro Ottawa, the OEB, the government or any government program.
Electricity retailers must follow laws and rules that protect consumers from unfair or misleading business practices. The OEB licenses these companies and plays a consumer protection role to ensure the rules are followed.
If you are approached to sign an electricity contract, remember:
- As a consumer, you have rights. Under the Strengthening the Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act of 2015, electricity retailers are no longer permitted to conduct door-to-door sales and earn a commission on sales. However, marketing and advertising activities are still allowed at the home of a consumer;
- Always look at the representative’s ID badge first and make sure you get a business card. An identification badge must be worn and prominently displayed by a representative. They must also provide a business card that includes their name and the name, address, phone number, website, and OEB license number of the company they represent;
- Don’t share personal information (i.e. your electricity bill) unless you want to sign a contract. In addition, electricity retailers can only enter into, verify, renew or extend contracts with the account holder (the person whose name appears on the utility bill), the account holder's spouse or the account holder's authorized agent for the relevant premises;
- Carefully read any contract, price comparison and disclosure statement provided by the representative. All costs must be included in the contract. The company must provide a price comparison sheet that shows the contract price being offered and the price currently charged by Hydro Ottawa. The form they use was developed by the OEB. They must also provide a plain language disclosure statement, written by the OEB, which explains important information about energy contracts;
- All electricity contracts, including those entered into online, must be verified by you 10 to 45 days after you've entered into the contract to confirm that you wish to continue with it; and
- You have the right to cancel a contract. In addition to the 20 day "cooling off" period, you have the right to cancel (penalty free) an electricity contract up to 30 days after receiving your second bill. Electricity retailers are also prohibited from automatically renewing an electricity contract.
These conditions are in accordance with the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 that came into effect in Ontario on January 1, 2011, and the Strengthening the Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act of 2015 that came into effect on December 1, 2015.
Hydro Ottawa's Role
An electricity contract covers only some parts of your bill. You will continue to pay other charges to Hydro Ottawa regardless of whether you sign a contract with an electricity retailer.
Hydro Ottawa will always deliver a customer’s electricity, no matter who they purchase it from. We do not benefit financially from a customer’s decision to sign, or not to sign, a contract with an electricity retailer.
If our employees need to visit your home for any other reason, they will always carry identification, and will gladly show it to you upon request. If someone selling electricity contracts claims to be from Hydro Ottawa, please ask for their identification and call us at 613-738-6400.
For more information, visit the OEB website at ontarioenergyboard.ca, or call toll-free at 1-877-632-2727.