After Signing an Energy Contract: The Right to Change Your Mind
New Consumer Protection Rules – January 1, 2017
On January 1, 2017, new rules come into effect regarding energy (electricity and/or natural gas) contracts and how energy retailers deal with residential and small business consumers. The rules include banning contracting with consumers at home.
This information applies to contracts that are entered into on and after January 1, 2017. For the rules that apply to contracts that are entered into or renewed before then, please visit this page.
This information can be made available in other languages upon request.
1. You must receive a copy of the energy contract and confirm receiving it. The energy retailer must provide you with a written) copy of the energy contract, including all terms and conditions, and you must acknowledge its receipt. Otherwise, the energy contract will become invalid. If you enter into an energy contract in person, you are considered to have acknowledged receipt it when you sign it. If you enter into an energy contract over the internet, you are considered to have acknowledged receipt of the contract when it is sent to you by e-mail by the energy retailer. If you enter into an energy contract by mail, you are considered to have acknowledged receipt of it when you mail a signed copy of the contract back to the energy retailer.
2. You have a 10-day “cooling-off” period to review your decision. After you acknowledge receipt of the energy contract, you have 10 days to cancel it. Take the time to read the energy contract in detail again. Research any questions you may have, including whether entering into the energy contract will have an effect on any equal payment plan you might have with your electricity utility. Be comfortable with your choice. You may cancel the energy contract at any time during this 10-day period by contacting the energy retailer. You will not have to pay a cancellation fee and your electricity service will continue without interruption.
3. Confirming the contract. You will need to “verify” or confirm the energy contract for it to remain valid.
You will be contacted by phone 10-45 days after you’ve received a written copy of the energy contract to confirm that you wish to continue with it. That phone call must comply with a script approved by the OEB, and it must be recorded. If you ask for a copy of the recording, it must be sent to you within 10 days.
You do not have to confirm the energy contract. If you say no, the energy contract will become invalid. You will not have to pay a cancellation fee and your electricity or gas service will continue without interruption.
4. You can also cancel the energy contract up to 30 days after you receive your second bill under the contract. You will have to pay those bills, but you will not have to pay a cancellation fee. You will be switched back to your utility for your electricity or gas supply without any interruption in service.
5. You may have to pay a cancellation fee if you cancel the energy contract after that. If you have confirmed an energy contract and you cancel it more than 30 days after you receive your second bill under the contract, you may have to pay a cancellation fee.
The energy contract must contain a description of the circumstances in which the contract can be cancelled by you and the amount of any cancellation fees you may have to pay in each circumstance.
6. There are caps on cancellation fees. The Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 allows you to cancel a contract for different reasons, some of which are identified above. In some cases, you will not have to pay any cancellation fees. However, if you cancel an energy contract more than 30 days after you receive your second bill under the contract simply because you no longer wish to purchase gas or electricity from the energy retailer, you may be charged a cancellation fee.
The maximum cancellation fee that can be charged to most residential consumers is $50, whether the energy contract is for natural gas, electricity or both. For small businesses, or homes whose electricity or gas use is high (more than 15,000 kWh or 3,500 cubic meters in the 12 months before the contract is cancelled), the maximum cancellation fees are calculated differently. A typical residential consumer uses about 9,000 kWh of electricity and about 2,300 or less cubic meters of natural gas per year.
Page last updated 2016-12-30