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Electricity Retailers FAQ

Electricity retail companies may be knocking on your door, asking you to sign-up for a fixed electricity rate as well as other products and services. These companies are not affiliated with Toronto Hydro. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about electricity suppliers.

What do electricity retailers do?

Electricity retailers contract for wholesale electricity as well as other products and services and retail them to customers. They can provide customers with a wide range of products, services, payment plans and other incentives, in addition to electricity. When you're dealing with an electricity retailer, cost is often only one element of the total package. That's why it's important to shop around and compare the various options and terms available before signing a contract.

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What do I need to know before I sign a contract with an electricity retailer?

Before you sign a contract, read it carefully so you're aware of all of the terms and conditions. Ask questions if there is anything that is unclear, and ensure that the retailer is licenced by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to sell electricity. The Ontario Energy Board has posted on their web site the Electricity Retailer Code of Conduct. This regulatory code document provides retailers with clear definitions and directions on the rules to follow when selling new electricity contracts to consumers Call 1.877.632.2727 or visit the
OEB web site.

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What happens if I decide not to choose an electricity retailer?

Customers are free to choose an electricity retailer, but whether they decide to do so is entirely up to them. Customers who don't choose a retailer will continue to be served by Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited and pay the current regulated price for electricity.

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Who will read and maintain the meters at my home or business?

Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited will continue to read your meter.

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Who fixes power lines if they fail due to weather or accident?

Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited will maintain the electrical system, just as it has for close to a century.

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Who will handle any complaints I may have?

For power outages, or issues related to power supply and delivery, you should contact Toronto Hydro at 416.542.8000. For complaints related to your electricity contract, please call the retailer you signed a contract with.

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Who should I speak to if I have a question or concern about an energy contract or company?

The OEB regulates Ontario's energy sector, and part of its role is to ensure that companies follow all applicable laws, regulations and regulatory requirements that we have authority to enforce. For more information or to lodge a complaited, visit the OEB's website.

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Can I be switched over to a new supplier without my knowledge or approval?

No, a retailer cannot supply electricity to a customer without first obtaining written permission through a contract that you signed. You do not need to show your Toronto Hydro bill or provide your account number unless you are willing to sign with the retailer.

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Can I cancel a contract with a supplier once I've signed it?

Before you sign any contract, make sure that you understand the terms and conditions, as this will be a legally binding agreement. You should also ask for a copy of the contract.

If you're a residential customer and you sign a contract, you have a 10-day "cooling off" period in which you can change your mind and cancel, in writing, without penalty. To do this, you must send a letter 'to the retailer' by registered mail, fax or by personally delivering it to the retailer to give notice you want to cancel. For more information visit www.oeb.gov.on.ca

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What is the current electricity fixed rate?

See the current electricity rates.  

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What happens if I switch from Toronto Hydro to a Retailer contract now?

If you switch to an electricity retailer, you will need to settle the outstanding Regulated Price Plan account you have with your utility.

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Why do I need to settle with Toronto Hydro if I have been paying my electricity bills in full all along?

With Toronto Hydro, you buy and pay for electricity under either the Regulated Price Plan or Time-of-Use rates set by the OEB for the electricity you consume. That price may not reflect what is paid to generators. Eventually the difference needs to be settled:

  • For consumers who remain on Tiered Pricing or Time-of-Use rates, the difference is tracked in a variance account and incorporated into future Tiered or Time-of-Use prices set by the OEB.
  • Consumers that switch to an electricity retailer may either receive a credit or need to pay outstanding charges related to their electricity use while they were on the Regulated Price Plan.
    • You will be reimbursed if consumers on the Regulated Price Plan have been paying more for electricity than was paid to generators; or
    • You will need to pay your local utility if these consumers have been paying less than was paid to generators.

This is a one-time charge or credit, called the "RPP Settlement", that will appear on your final bill as a Regulated Price Plan consumer. How can you find out how much you would pay or receive if you were required to 'settle' with your utility? The OEB posts a ¢/kWh value on its Web site. You can estimate the amount you would receive or pay by multiplying this value by your consumption over the most recent 12 months. This ¢/kWh value is called the "Final RPP Variance Settlement Factor" and is updated around the 15th of each month.

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How do smart meters affect my electricity options?

Smart Meters are currently being installed in Toronto, and will be installed in every home in Ontario by 2010 as part of the provincial government's mandated program. A smart meter monitors your electricity use hourly, allowing you to view your electricity use patterns. Time Of Use Rates (TOU) will allow you to take advantage of lower prices by using electricity in mid and off-peak times. Customers will be advised in advance of being moved over to TOU rates.

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Do I pay TOU rates if I have a smart meter installed at my home?

If you currently purchase your electricity commodity through a retailer, you will continue to follow the terms and price stated in your contract.

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What happens if I move?

You must give your retailer at least 60 days notice of your move date and new address information. You must also notify Toronto Hydro. If you move to an area where your retailer can supply you with electricity, then your retailer will inform you about their current offers available to you at your new address.

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Why am I asked to show my utility bill to retailers?

Retailers may ask for a copy of your natural gas or electricity bill to verify your address information and utility account number. By reviewing your bill, retailers can also verify that you have not signed up with another provider. Don't show your bill until you have all the information that you need, and have decided to sign up with the retailer. For more information visit www.oeb.gov.on.ca.

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How can I find out if a retailer is licensed?

Call the Ontario Energy Board's retailer contact line at 1.886.288.7824 or visit their website.

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Who will bill me for electricity?

Depending on the arrangements you have made, bills and services may be provided by your electricity supplier or your local distribution utility. The Ontario Energy Board sets out three billing options. If Toronto Hydro is supplying your electricity under Standard Supply Service, it will bill you. If you choose to sign with a retailer, the contract you sign will set out the type of billing service. A retailer may offer to bill you for all your electricity charges directly or it may contract Toronto Hydro to continue to bill you on the retailer's behalf for the contract price and term you signed with a retailer.

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What questions should I ask in order to compare retailers?

  • What price is the retailer charging for electricity?
  • When does the contract start? What is the term of the contract? How long does it run?
  • Can the contract be cancelled? Are there penalties for cancelling?
  • What are the renewal terms?
  • How long has the retailer been in business?
  • Does the retailer have a license from the OEB?

In every case, read the contract carefully. The Electricity Retailers Code of Conduct requires that a retailer fully inform a potential customer of all conditions and allow a customer the time to fully understand the contract. The Electricity Retailer Code of Conduct is posted on the Internet at the OEB's Electricity Retailer Page.

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