Posted March 14, 2017
The Government of Ontario announced a 50% payment increase to the Ontario Energy Support Program, as well as efforts towards making enrollment to the program automatic.
ACORN's Energy is Essential campaign started just a few months ago with an action in front of the Ontario Energy Board. The action led to a meeting with their CEO Rosemarie Le Clair to discuss ACORN's demands to improve the Ontario Energy Support Program as well as ending energy companies' predatory billing practices.
It seems they all took our campaign proposals seriously. Here the government has released:
Expanding the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP)
- The OESP is an income-tested, application based program that lowers electricity costs for the most vulnerable consumers, providing a rebate directly on bills. There are two scales: one with basic credits, and an enhanced credit for Indigenous people or those who use electric heat or certain electrically intensive medical devices.
- Ontario is increasing the OESP by 50 per cent, meaning that single, low-income consumers who receive the lowest credit amount would get an increase from $30 to $45 per month ($540 per year, an increase of $180), and the lowest credit for the enhanced scale would increase from $45 to $68 ($816 per year, an increase of $276).
- Ontario is exploring automatic qualification for customers who are enrolled in other provincial low-income social programs.
- The Province is also moving forward in having the OESP funded by provincial revenues, reducing regulatory charges for all Ontario ratepayers.
Does this mean our campaign is over? Of course not! But it does mean that the government is scared of an organized public backlash against their energy policies, and that is exactly what we are doing.
The next steps in the campaign will be to continue to push for expansion of the OESP, and for a complete overhaul of energy companies' billing practices.
We hope the days of your hydro company charging $50 NSF fees (on top of what your bank charges you) are coming to an end. But we will need your help!
Marva Burnett - ACORN President