Nearing the End of an Energy Contract: How Renewals Work
This tip sheet applies to the renewal or extension of the following contracts:
- contracts that were entered into for the first time on or after January 1, 2011; and
- contracts that were entered into before January 1, 2011 and that will expire on or after that date, unless the contract was renewed or extended before January 1, 2011.
In order for an electricity or natural gas contract to be renewed or extended, the original contract must contain a provision that permits the renewal or extension. If your contract contains such a provision, it can be renewed or extended following the rules described below.
For the process that applied to contracts that were renewed on or before December 31, 2010, please view this tip sheet.
Some natural gas contracts can be automatically renewed or extended (check out section B below).
A. General Rules for the Renewal or Extension of Electricity and Natural Gas Contracts
This is the process for renewing or extending a contract for up to five years:
- A renewal or extension package must be sent to you between 120 and 60 days before the date that your contract ends (sometimes referred to as the “renewal or extension date”).
- This package must include:
- a copy of the renewed or extended contract. If the original contract was entered into before January 1, 2011, the renewed or extended contract must include certain new rights to cancel the renewed or extended contract without cost or penalty (these rights already apply by law for new contracts entered into for the first time on or after January 1, 2011);
- two copies of the OEB-approved Disclosure Statement(s) and two copies of the Price Comparison(s) in the form approved by the OEB (if the contract covers both electricity and gas, Disclosure Statements and Price Comparisons for each fuel must be included); and
- two copies of a renewal or extension form.
- The renewal or extension form must include:
- a clear description of any changes to the contract for each renewal or extension option you've been offered. The only changes that are allowed are changes to the contract's termination date, the price under the contract and any changes required by law or the OEB’s regulatory requirements;
- a clear statement about the automatic renewal or extension of the contract, if that option is being offered to you (refer to section B below);
- a description of the actions you should take if you want to renew or extend the contract (refer to item 4 below); and
- a place for you to sign if you do not wish to renew or extend the contract.
- If you want to renew or extend the contract, you must:
- clearly mark the option you have chosen on the renewal or extension form;
- sign one copy of the renewal or extension form;
- sign one copy of the applicable Disclosure Statement(s) and Price Comparison(s); and
- return the signed forms to the electricity retailer or gas marketer.
You may also take these actions through the electricity retailer’s or gas marketer’s website, or by e-mail or telephone. The electricity retailer or gas marketer may also telephone you to confirm whether you wish to renew or extend your contract. All contract renewal or extension phone calls must be recorded by the electricity retailer / gas marketer. They must also ensure that the call includes the statements required by an OEB-approved script. If you ask for a copy of the recording, it must be sent to you within 10 days.
- Even after you have agreed to the renewal or extension, you have up to 14 days to change your mind and retract the renewed or extended contract without cost or penalty. You may do this in writing or by telephone. If you retract the agreement by telephone, the electricity retailer or gas marketer must record the call, and send you a written confirmation. If you ask for a copy of the recording, it must be sent to you within 10 days.
B. Additional Rules for the Automatic Renewal or Extension of Natural Gas Contracts
A gas marketer may automatically renew or extend a contract for natural gas for up to one year if you do not respond to the renewal or extension package from the gas marketer. Electricity contracts cannot be automatically renewed or extended.
The following additional rules apply to the automatic renewal or extension of a natural gas contract:
- The original contract must permit the automatic renewal or extension.
- The contract cannot have been previously automatically renewed or extended.
- The new contract price cannot be more than the contract price immediately before the renewal or extension.
- Either you or the gas marketer may cancel a contract that has been automatically renewed or extended, without cost or penalty, by giving notice to the other party. That notice can be in writing or, if not prohibited under the contract, by telephone. If you or the gas marketer cancel the contract by telephone, the gas marketer must record the call. If you ask for a copy of the recording, it must be sent to you within 10 days.
Page last updated 2013-08-12