TORONTO, July 22, 2021 /CNW/ - The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has accepted an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) from Enbridge Gas Inc. (Enbridge Gas), the largest natural gas distribution, transmission and storage company in Ontario, following an inspection into its disconnection practices which were found to be non-compliant with OEB rules.
Under the terms of the AVC, Enbridge Gas will pay an administrative monetary penalty of $40,000 and make an additional payment of $60,000 to the social agency that runs the Low-income Energy Assistance Program in the areas served by Enbridge Gas.
An AVC is a binding commitment by a regulated entity to take measures to rectify or prevent non-compliance. Failure to abide by the terms of an AVC can lead to enforcement action being taken by the OEB.
Through the OEB's inspection, Enbridge Gas confirmed that approximately 18,500 disconnection notices sent in August 2020 did not comply with all of the requirements of the OEB's Gas Distribution Access Rule (GDAR). Upon learning of the issue, Enbridge Gas immediately ceased any disconnection activity. As a result, none of the customers who received the non-compliant disconnection notices were disconnected on the basis of those disconnection notices.
The GDAR requires a gas distributor to provide a minimum of 14 days' notice to a customer prior to disconnection. The disconnection notices issued to the affected Enbridge Gas customers were based on an incorrect calculation of the earliest date on which disconnection may occur and, as a result, these customers were not given sufficient notice of their possible disconnection. In addition, the disconnection notices did not include information about OEB-prescribed arrears payment programs, reconnection fees and the amount of time customers have to make a payment to avoid disconnection. These information requirements are mandated by the GDAR for disconnection notices issued to residential customers.
Under the AVC, Enbridge Gas will also post on its website a notice to customers informing them of the OEB's inspection and its resolution.
Enbridge Gas assures the OEB that it has taken all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with its customer disconnection-related obligations and has put in place operational improvements to prevent recurrence of non-compliance.
"Gas customers must be given sufficient notice before disconnection so that they can use the information in the disconnection notice to avoid disconnection. With the actions we have taken and the assurance from Enbridge Gas that it is aware of its obligations related to disconnection and that it takes those obligations seriously, customers will be better protected." – Brian Hewson, Vice-President, Consumer Protection & Industry Performance
Additional Information and Resources
Read the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance – Enbridge Gas Inc. (EB-2021-0204)
Learn about the OEB's Customer Service Rules for natural gas utilities, including those governing disconnections
Learn about the OEB's Compliance and Enforcement Process
Understand the OEB's Consumer Complaint Process
More information about financial support programs can be found at oeb.ca/billhelp
About the Ontario Energy Board
The OEB is the independent regulator of Ontario's electricity and natural gas sectors. It protects the interests of individuals and supports the collective advancement of the people of Ontario. Its goal is to deliver public value through prudent regulation and independent adjudicative decision-making which contributes to Ontario's economic, social and environmental development.
For more information, please visit the OEB website at oeb.ca or contact us directly.
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SOURCE Ontario Energy Board
View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/July2021/22/c3172.html