What is the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)?
CEAP is a one-time, on-bill credit provided to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.
The program is being delivered directly by electricity distributors like Hydro Ottawa, gas distributors and unit sub-meter providers (USMP), following the rules laid out by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).
What are the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) eligibility criteria?
Residential electricity and natural gas customers are eligible for CEAP if they meet the following criteria:
- The customer has an account with an electricity distributor, unit sub-meter providers (USMPs) or a natural gas distributor. Only the customer who is the account holder can submit an application for CEAP (the person whose name is on the bill).
- The customer’s account was in good standing on March 17, 2020 (no overdue amount), and the customer was not enrolled in an arrears payment agreement for amounts owing prior to March 17, 2020. However, customers that enrolled in an arrears payment agreement for amounts that became owing after March 17, 2020 are eligible for CEAP.
- The customer failed to make complete payment for the electricity/gas charges (as applicable) on at least two bills issued since March 17, 2020, and has an overdue balance on the date of their application for CEAP.
- The customer, or their spouse or common-law partner that resides in the same residence:
- Is unemployed on the date of their application for CEAP; and
- Has received Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) since March 17, 2020
- In the case of an electricity customer, the customer has not received emergency financial assistance for their electricity bills under the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) in 2020, and has not received funding under the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) in 2020.
Can customers apply for CEAP to help with both their electricity and gas bills
Yes. But, customers can only receive a CEAP credit once for electricity and once for gas.
How much are the CEAP benefit amounts?
Eligible electricity customers may qualify for a one-time CEAP credit for half of the electricity charges that are overdue on the date of their application for CEAP, up to a maximum of $115.
The CEAP credit can be higher for eligible electricity customers if:
- their home is mainly heated by electricity; or
- they use one of three specific at-home energy-intensive medical devices (kidney dialysis, mechanical ventilator or oxygen concentrator).
In that case, they may qualify for a one-time CEAP credit for half of the electricity charges that are overdue on the date of their application, up to a maximum of $230. The CEAP application form requires that customers confirm whether they meet either of these two conditions.
How do I submit my CEAP application to Hydro Ottawa?
Hydro Ottawa offers different ways to submit your application.
Visit hydroottawa.com/ceap to get all the information you need and choose the right method for you to submit your application.
We recommend that you submit your application through Hydro Ottawa’s customized CEAP online form.
Our customized online form (hydroottawa.com/ceap-form) is quick to submit, no need to save and send! A valid email address required.
Before you begin, make sure that you have a copy of your Hydro Ottawa bill for reference.
Hydro Ottawa will review your application and notify you whether you are eligible for CEAP.
Who should I contact if I need assistance to complete my application form?
If you need help to complete the application form, you can send us an email at [email protected].
You can also contact us by telephone at 613 738-6400. Our Customer Service representatives are available to assist you Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (excluding statutory holidays.)
Can customers who have multiple accounts within Hydro Ottawa’s service territory receive CEAP for all accounts if other CEAP eligibility criteria are met?
No. Eligible customers can receive the appropriate CEAP credits only for one account (Primary residence where the customer resides for more than six months of the year).
Is there a deadline to apply for CEAP?
No. But, funding for the program is limited, and utilities and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs) are expected to process applications in the order in which they are received. CEAP funding is not guaranteed even after a complete application has been submitted.
The government is making $9 million available for CEAP to support residential energy customers. Each utility and USMP has been allocated a share of that amount, based on how many residential customers they have. Your utility or USMP will stop accepting applications and providing CEAP credits once their allocated share of CEAP funding has run out.
When will I see the credit on my bill?
Utilities and USMPs are expected to process CEAP applications within 10 business days of receipt.
Provided that your Utility or USMP has CEAP funds remaining, the credit will be applied to the next available bill issued to you after your CEAP application been assessed as complete by your utility or USMP.
Why doesn’t the bill credit amount cover the full amount of my arrears?
The on-bill CEAP credit covers half of the charges that are past due, up to a pre-set maximum amount. Setting the level of support for individual customers in this way will assist in achieving the government’s objective of making CEAP available to help the most people affected financially by the COVID-19 emergency. For the same reason, CEAP funding will be available only once per eligible customer for each of electricity and natural gas.
If I am not eligible for CEAP, are there any other programs available?
If you are not eligible for CEAP, you may be eligible for other energy support programs. Please consult our financial assistance brochure and visit our conservation programs page for more information.
How do I apply for the CEAP Small Business program?
The Government of Ontario has announced that it is also providing $8 million to help small business customers that are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.
In a June 1, 2020 letter to the OEB, the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and the Associate Minister of Energy noted that suggestions for this CEAP for Small Business program (or CEAP-SB) will be provided to the OEB at a later date.
We expect that program details will be available later this summer. Small business customers are protected from disconnection for non-payment until July 31, 2020.
Hydro Ottawa will be providing CEAP for Small Business program (CEAP-SB) details as soon as they are made available.