Low-Income Energy Assistance Program
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Low-Income Energy Assistance Program Training Webcast f or Distributors November 30 and December 1, 2011 PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Low-Income Energy Assistance Program Training Webcast f or Distributors November 30 and December 1, 2011. Board Staff. Presenters Lenore Dougan , Policy Advisor, Regulatory Policy John Vrantsidis , Policy Advisor, Regulatory Policy In Attendance

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Low-Income Energy Assistance Program Training Webcast f or Distributors November 30 and December 1, 2011

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Low income energy assistance program training webcast for distributors november 30 and december 1 2011

Low-Income Energy Assistance Program

Training Webcast for Distributors

November 30 and December 1, 2011


Board staff

Board Staff

Presenters

  • Lenore Dougan, Policy Advisor, Regulatory Policy

  • John Vrantsidis, Policy Advisor, Regulatory Policy

    In Attendance

  • Takis Plagiannakos, Manager of Rates, Conservation & Policy Evaluation, Regulatory Policy

  • Donna Kinapen, Manager of Complaints, Consumer Protection


Agenda

Agenda

  • Low-income Customer Service Rules (John Vrantsidis)

  • LEAP Emergency Financial Assistance Reporting & Monitoring Requirements (Lenore Dougan)

  • Questions & Answers

  • Web Posting

    • Presentation Slides

    • Webcast Q&As


Low income energy assistance program training webcast for distributors november 30 and december 1 2011

Summary of Customer Service Rules for Low-Income Electricity Customers

John Vrantsidis

Policy Advisor


Presentation outline

Presentation Outline

  • Background

  • Eligible Low-Income Customers

  • Security Deposits

  • Under-Billing Adjustments

  • Equal Billing and Payment Plans

  • Disconnection Notice

  • Arrears Payment Agreements

  • Load Control Devices

  • Contact Information


Background

Background

  • Customer service rules for eligible low-income electricity customers came into effect October 1, 2011

    - to apply for a low-income customer service rule, customers must make a request to their local distributor

    - new rules are set out in the updated Distribution System Code, Retail Settlement Code and Standard Service Supply Code

  • Updated residential customer service rules approved in 2010/2011 also applicable to low-income customers


Eligible low income customers

Eligible Low-Income Customers

Definition of Eligible Low-Income Customers

  • A customer with a pre-tax household income at or below most recent Stats Canada low-income cut off plus 15%, taking into account family size and community size

    - if a customer has received Emergency Financial Assistance, then is automatically qualify for low-income code rules

    Application of Definition

  • A social or government agency that has partnered with a distributor has to qualify the customer

  • Low-income status remains for 2 years

  • Distributors may track eligible low-income customers who have applied for special code provision(s)


Security deposits

Security Deposits

All Residential Customers

  • May pay security deposits in equal instalments due over 6 months

  • Deposit must be applied towards arrears before disconnection notice issued

    Eligible Low-Income Customers

  • May request waiver of a new security deposit

  • May request the refund of the amount of an existing security deposit remaining after paying any arrears


Under billing adjustments

Under-Billing Adjustments

All Residential Customers

  • May pay under-billing correction over same period as billing error duration, up to 2 year maximum

    Eligible Low-Income Customers

  • May pay over 10 months, when amount owing is less than twice average monthly bill

  • May pay over 20 months, when amount owning is equal to or greater than twice average monthly bill


Equal billing and equal monthly payment plans

Equal Billing and Equal Monthly Payment Plans

Equal Billing Plan

  • A bill is issued to a customer and the amount due in each bill is equalized over the billing periods in a year

  • The billing may occur for example on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. In this case, there is no requirement for automatic payment withdrawals

    Equal Monthly Payment Plan

  • An equalized payment amount is automatically withdrawn from a customer’s account with a financial institution on a monthly basis

  • A physical bill could follow on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis


Equal billing and equal monthly payment plans cont d

Equal Billing and Equal Monthly Payment Plans (Cont’d)

Residential Customers

  • Depending on billing frequency, must be offered an equal monthly payment plan or an equal billing plan to customers not enrolled with a retailer

  • Some distributors may voluntarily offer an equal monthly payment plan or an equal billing plan to customers enrolled with a retailer

    Eligible Low-Income Customers

  • May request an equal billing plan if distributor bills monthly or bi-monthly

  • They are not required to have a bank account with a financial institution for an equal billing plan

  • As noted above, they may instead request an equal monthly payment plan if they have an account with a financial institution


Equal billing and equal monthly payment plans cont d1

Equal Billing and Equal Monthly Payment Plans (Cont’d)

Operational Details

  • Rules apply to customers on standard supply only (i.e. customers not enrolled with a retailer)

  • Some distributors voluntarily extend to retailer-enrolled customers

  • Customers may join any time of year

  • Customers in arrears may join, provided also enter into arrears agreement

  • Customers must be given choice of at least two alternative payment/withdrawal dates

  • Distributors must review balance during the year

  • Annual reconciliation details depend amount due/owing


Disconnection for non payment

Disconnection for Non-Payment

All Residential Customers

  • Distributors must provide 10 day minimum disconnection notice period

  • Extended to 60 days where significant health risk exists to a person who regularly resides with the customer

    Low-Income Customers

  • Disconnection suspended for 21 days if distributor notified customer being assessed for Emergency Financial Assistance by a social service or government agency


Disconnection for non payment cont d

Disconnection for Non-Payment (Cont’d)

Disconnection Notice

  • Minimum contents specified in rules; for example

    • earliest and latest date disconnection may occur; forms of payment acceptable; applicable service charges

  • Must also state special arrears agreements, expanded customer service provisions, and Emergency Financial Assistance available for eligible low-income customers

    Final Telephone Call Before Disconnect

  • Distributors must attempt a final telephone call 48 hours before disconnection

    • must repeat key information from the Disconnection Notice above


Arrears repayment agreements

Arrears Repayment Agreements

Down Payment

  • 15% maximum for all residential customers

  • 10% maximum for low-income customers

    Repayment Period

  • For all residential customers

    • 5 months if amount owning is less than 2 times average monthly bill

    • 10 months if amount owning is equal to or more than 2 times average monthly bill

  • For eligible low-income customers

    • 8 months if amount owning is less than 2 times average monthly bill

    • 12 months if amount owning is between 2 to 5 times average monthly bill

    • 16 months if amount owning is more than 5 times average monthly bill


Arrears repayment agreements cont d

Arrears Repayment Agreements (Cont’d)

Late Payment Charges

  • All residential customers must pay initial late payment charges and may face additional late payment charges during course of the agreement

  • Eligible low-income customers must pay initial late payment charges and additional late payment charges are waived during course of the agreement

    Non-Payment Service Charges (e.g. Disconnection, Collection, Load Control Devices)

  • Residential customers are responsible for paying all outstanding service charges

  • For eligible low-income customers, the above service charges are waived


Arrears repayment agreements cont d1

Arrears Repayment Agreements (Cont’d)

Payment Defaults before Distributor Terminates Arrears Payment Agreement

  • All residential customers are allowed a max. of 1 default in arrears or regular bill payment before arrears payment agreement may be terminated (over 2 months)

  • Eligible low-income customers are allowed a max. of 2 defaults in arrears or regular bill payment before arrears payment agreement may be terminated (over 2 months)

    Second Agreement

  • All residential customers may request second arrears agreement 2 years after start of first one

  • Eligible low-income customers may request

    • second similar arrears agreement 1 year after completing first one

    • second standard arrears agreement if less than 1 year has passed after completing first one


Load control devices

Load Control Devices

Load Limiter Device

  • It allows the customer to run a small number of electrical items at any given time, but if the customer exceeds the limit of the load limiter then the device will interrupt the power until it is reset by the customer

    Timed Load Interrupter Device

  • It completely interrupts the customer’s electricity intermittently for periods of time


Load control devices cont d

Load Control Devices (Cont’d)

  • Rules are applied to all residential customers

  • Distributors must follow the following procedures when installing load control devices due to non-payment

    • must provide explanation of how devices work and can be reset

    • must provide emergency contact information and fire prevention safety literature

    • load control devices cannot be installed during the course of an arrears agreement

    • must be removed, within 2 business days, after customer pays amount due or enters into an arrears agreement


Contact information

Contact Information

  • For specific application questions, please email:

    [email protected]

  • For summaries of the residential customer service rules and rules for eligible low-income customers, please go to the OEB website under Industry Site and search for Customer Service or EB-2007-0722

    or follow the link below:

    www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/Industry/Regulatory+Proceedings/Policy+Initiatives+and+Consultations/Electricity+Distributors+-+Customer+Service

    Thank you for your participation!

    John Vrantsidis

    Project Lead, Electricity Customer Service Rules

    (416) 440-8122

    [email protected]


Low income energy assistance program training webcast for distributors november 30 and december 1 2011

LEAP Emergency Financial Assistance Reporting Requirements

Lenore Dougan

Policy Advisor


Reporting requirements

Reporting Requirements

Set out in Appendix C of LEAP Manual

Developed by the Financial Assistance Working Group (FAWG)

3 Forms of Reporting:

Monthly reporting by agencies to Distributors

Tracks each utility’s LEAP funds spent over the course of the month

To be submitted by agency by the 15th day of the following month

Monthly tracking by agencies:

Tracks applicant demographic information

Lead agency to keep and store data for use in program evaluation

Annual reporting by Distributors to OEB

Distributors will provide an annual report to the OEB for program evaluation

Lead agencies to send complete data to distributors by January 31st


Annual reporting requirements

Annual Reporting Requirements

Appendix C.2 lists the annual reporting requirements

  • Total LEAP Budget

  • Funds Dispersed

    • Grants to Customers; Administration & Program Delivery Fee

  • # of Applicants

  • # of Applicants Assisted

  • # of Applicants Denied

  • Average Grant per Applicant

  • Amount of Non-utility Funds (i.e. donations)


  • Annual reporting requirements cont d

    Annual Reporting Requirements Cont’d

    • As a condition of its licence, each distributor is required to file its LEAP information with the Board each year

    • Data collected by agencies should be:

      • Submitted on a timely basis

      • Accurate

      • Protected as required to comply with applicable law

    • Data will be used to:

      • Measure and evaluate program performance

      • Understand how effective LEAP has been in managing low-income consumer energy issues

    • A template will be provided for ease of reporting


    Monthly monitoring requirements

    Monthly Monitoring Requirements

    Appendix C.3 lists the demographic information that is to be tracked by agencies on a monthly basis, including

    • Total Number of Adults Assisted

    • Total Number of Children Assisted

    • Average Monthly Income per Applicant

    • Primary Source of Income (i.e. OW, WSIB,EI, CPP)

    • Average Arrears owed per Applicant

    • Applicant Type (i.e. Single with Children, Married/Common Law)

    • Housing Type (i.e. rent, own, social housing)

    • Reason for Needing Assistance


    Monthly monitoring requirements cont d

    Monthly Monitoring Requirements Cont’d

    • Reasons Applicant was not Accepted

    • # Applicants where Grant Money was Insufficient

    • How Applicants Heard about the Program

    • # Applicants Where Funding Was Not Required Due to Successful Advocacy with Utility

    • # of Applicants Referred to Conservation Programs

  • Agencies should send complete monthly monitoring information to distributors by January 31st

  • A template will be provided for ease of reporting

  • Information will be used to review and assess program performance


  • Additional questions

    Additional Questions?

    Market Operations

    [email protected]

    OR contact me directly

    Lenore Dougan

    Project Lead, LEAP Emergency Financial Assistance

    (416) 440-8141

    Toll Free: 1-888-632-6273 x 141

    [email protected]


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