Choosing a residential electricity retailer

Know that you have a choice when it comes to purchasing electricity.

You can choose to purchase electricity from Toronto Hydro or an Electricity Retailer. It’s important to understand the options available and how you’ll be charged.

Electricity retailers overview

  • Electricity retailers purchase large "blocks" of wholesale electricity from power generating companies, and then sell it to consumers
  • You’ll pay the retailer a "fixed-price per kilowatt-hour", as mutually agreed upon in a contract offered by the retailer
  • The price offered is typically guaranteed for a specified number of years, although in some cases the price could change during the contract period
  • All retailers must be licensed and are listed on the Ontario Energy Board's (OEB) website

Be informed

If you’re approached to sign or renew a gas or electricity contract for your business, it’s important to:

  • Always make sure you get a business card and look at the salesperson's ID badge first. Energy company salespeople must wear an ID badge and give you a business card
  • Don't share personal information (e.g. your gas or electricity bill) unless you’re sure you want to sign a contract
  • Carefully read the contract, disclosure statement and price comparison provided by the salesperson
  • Remember that the OEB doesn’t go door-to-door

Make sure you know what you’re agreeing to

We recommend taking the following steps before signing a contract to purchase electricity from companies other than Toronto Hydro:

  1. Ensure the retailer is licensed.
  2. Read the contract offer carefully.
  3. Find out what price the retailer is charging for electricity and if there are administration costs – look for them and other additional costs on top of the commodity charge to get the full picture of what you're signing up for.
  4. Discuss the contract termination process and any charges you might be responsible for as well as the contract renewal terms.
  5. Ask questions if anything is unclear.

Electricity retailer 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. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about electricity suppliers:

Customers are free to choose an electricity retailer, but 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.

Toronto Hydro will continue to read your meter.

Toronto Hydro will maintain the electrical system, just as it has for over a century.

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.

Electricity contracts FAQ

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. 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. For more information or to lodge a complaint, visit the OEB's website.

No, a retailer cannot supply electricity to a customer without first obtaining written permission through a signed contract.

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 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. The OEB offers additional information about Energy Contracts on their website.

Rates and billing FAQ

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

Don't show your bill until you have all the information that you need, and have decided to sign up with the retailer. 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. The OEB offers additional consumer protection information on its website.

Depending on the arrangements you’ve made, bills and services may be provided by your electricity supplier or your local distribution utility. The OEB 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.