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Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)

If you qualify, you can get emergency financial help and also take advantage of special rules.

Take note, though: neither the OEB nor your local utility can offer you this help directly. You must go through one of the social agencies listed below.

1 Do I qualify? 2 What help is available to me? 3 Who do I contact for help?







1. Do I Qualify?

In order to qualify, you must have a family income that falls below a certain limit. Those limits are laid out in the table below.

The amount of income it takes to qualify as low-income depends on two factors:

  • how many people live in the house and
  • your combined household income

For example, a home with 4 people and an annual after-tax income of $37,000 would be eligible for a LEAP EFA grant.


LEAP EFA Income Eligibility Criteria

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 or more
Less than 28,000 Eligible Eligible Eligible Eligible Eligible Eligible Eligible
28,001 - 39,000     Eligible Eligible Eligible Eligible Eligible
39,001 - 48,000         Eligible Eligible Eligible
48,001 - 52,000             Eligible



2. What Help is Available to Me?

Emergency Financial Assistance
Low-income customers can get up to $500 in emergency assistance for your electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated electrically) and $500 for gas bills.

The assistance is only available if you are behind on your bill – or in arrears – and may face having your service shut off (disconnected). It is for emergency situations only and is not meant to provide you with ongoing help to pay your bills.

You cannot receive more money than you owe on your bill.


Special Rules
You can take advantage of (or qualify for) these special rules if:

a) Your local social agency determines you meet the requirements
b) You’ve received emergency financial assistance within the past two years (in which case you automatically qualify)


Rules for Low-Income Electricity Customers

Security Deposits

You can ask to have your security deposit waived.

If you previously paid a security deposit you can ask to have it back (as long as any outstanding arrears have been paid).

When your security deposit is returned, it will either be:

Credited to your account with the utility... If it’s less than your average monthly bill
Refunded by cheque... If it’s more than your average monthly bill

Billing Errors

If the electricity utility made a mistake and overcharged you, they will refund that money by cheque immediately.

If the electricity utility made a mistake and undercharged you, you will have to pay that money back. As a qualified low-income customer, you can pay the company back over a longer period of time than other customers.

You have 2 options:

  • You can pay it back over the same timeframe as you were under-charged, up to a maximum of 2 years. For example, if you were undercharged for 3 months, you have 3 months to pay back your utility.
  • Or you can pay it back over:
10 months… If you owe an amount less than twice your average monthly bill
20 months… If you owe an amount more than twice your average monthly bill

Equalized Billing

Equalized billing spreads your electricity payments evenly over 12 months. Equalized bills don’t rise or fall suddenly – even if your electricity usage does. Because of that, some consumers use it to help with their budget.

As a low-income customer, you have the right to request equalized billing without paying by automatic withdrawal. Other customers who want this service are generally required to pay by automatic withdrawal.

NOTE: If you have a contract with an electricity reseller, or retailer, or if you are a customer of a unit sub-metering provider, then the rules in relation to equal billing plans do not apply.

Disconnection Grace Period

If your social service or government agency notifies your electricity utility that you may be eligible for emergency assistance, the company must suspend that disconnection process for 21 days.

Arrears Payment Agreement

Eligible low-income customers are allowed more time to pay outstanding balances to their electricity utilities. Those time periods are:

8 months… If you owe an amount less than twice your average monthly bill
12 months… If you owe more than twice your average monthly bill but less than five times your avg. monthly bill
16 months… If you owe more than 5 times your average monthly bill

Your utility may also ask for a 10% down payment when you enter an arrears payment plan.

You are allowed to default on your payment plan twice before your low-income arrears agreement can be cancelled.

If your power has been disconnected, you will not have to pay the disconnection or reconnection fee. Non-payment fees and charges associated with any load control device installed by your utility will also be waived.

NOTE: Low-income customers are only allowed to receive these special rules after at least 12 months have passed since their last payment plan was completed. If you go on a 2nd payment plan within 12 months, it will be on same terms as all other customers.

Rules for Low-Income Natural Gas Customers

Natural gas utilities have also developed appropriate standards and policies specific to low-income natural gas customers.

For more information, consult your utility’s current Conditions of Service:

Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc.
Telephone: (416) 758-4701

Union Gas Limited
Telephone: 1-888-774-3111 (Account & Billing Inquiries)

Natural Resource Gas Limited
Telephone: (519) 773-5321 ext 211
Web link:

Kitchener Utilities (Billing Inquiries)
Telephone: (519) 741-2450

Utilities Kingston
Telephone: (613) 546-0000 (Call Centre)




3. Who Do I Contact for Help?

In order to access emergency financial assistance and special rules you must go through a social service or government agency.


Documenting Your Need
You will likely have to meet with a representative of the social agency for an interview. You will be asked to provide some paperwork, including:

  • Identification
  • Current electricity and gas bills
  • A disconnection notice, if you have received one
  • A copy of a rental contract, lease or mortgage documents
  • Proof of household income – cheque stub, employment letter, income tax return for adult members of household
  • A copy of your most recent bank statement


Approving Your Status
The agency looking at your case will decide whether or not you qualify as low-income.

If you are accepted, your electricity or gas provider will be quickly contacted and asked to stop any further disconnection or collection activity on your account. Your energy utility will also be notified if your application is denied.


Money Does Not Change Hands
Grants are issued on behalf of customers and paid directly to the utility. You will not receive a cheque.  





Page last updated 2016-01-18

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P.O. Box 2319
2300 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M4P 1E4

1-877-632-2727 (toll-free within Ontario)
416-314-2455 (within Greater Toronto Area or from outside Canada)
Fax: 416-440-7656

Business hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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