Need financial assistance? Here are your options

Need financial

For customers who are having difficulties paying their utility bills, Oshawa PUC Networks Inc. has several ways to help.

We work closely with social agencies in the Durham Region area to offer assistance and ease the burden of paying utility bills for low income individuals and families in our local community, while helping to ensure we can continue to provide utility services to their homes. If you, or someone you know, are having difficulties paying utility bills, please consider the following assistance.

Contact us

First and foremost, before falling behind on utility bill payments, contact us for assistance. We want to work with our customers to help. Call our Customer Service department at 905-723-4623, Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Low Income Status

There are programs put in place to assist low income Ontarians with their hydro bill. The first step is to get the low income status applied to your account. In the Oshawa area you can call the Community Development Council of Durham (CDCD) at 1-866-746-3696 or 905-686-2661.

 

What does the low income status mean? Having the low income status on youraccount grants you longer payment terms, waiving of security deposits and access to assistance programs that are regulated through the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). There are special low income rules that must be followed by the LDCs. To learn about those rules please visit www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/help-low-income-consumers/low-income-energy-assistance-program#special.

Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)

 LEAP is a program that provides consumers a one-time payment on their account to pay arrears to avoid disconnection. Consumers can only use this program once every 12 months. It is important to note that if your arrears are so high that the payment made by the LEAP program will not avoid disconnection they will not pay anything as it is not considered a good use of the funds. Oshawa Power or the CDCD office can help you with the application process. The LEAP program works on a first-come first serve basis and the funds are limited. If you are approved the assistance cheque is sent directly to Oshawa Power to be paid on your account. The program is geared towards low-income households who do not own their residences.

Financial Assistance

Housing Stability Program

In addition to helping with rental arrears the Housing Stability Program also offers financial assistance to qualified low-income Durham singles, couples and families with energy related emergencies. The program helps those who are usually able to afford their energy costs but due to an unexpected financial burden or unanticipated cost increase are unable to pay their heat and or hydro for a short period of time and are in arrears of their gas or hydro.  Applicants can access up to two months’ worth of gas or hydro costs.

Oshawa residents can apply for these programs by contacting the CDCD office at 1-866-746-3696 or 905-686-2661.

Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP)

The OESP program is an on-bill monthly credit that depends on the size of yourfamily and income. It can range from $35.00 to $75.00 per month. For non-senior consumers the credit is active for two years and then you have to reapply. For seniors the credit is good for 5 years before you need to reapply. If you move residences during your term you must reapply. This program is geared towards low to mid income, property owners and renters, seniors and non-seniors.

Housing Assistance Program (HAP)

This program is a proactive program that is geared towards lowering your consumption. The program offers free energy assessments and upgrades to your home to help lower your hydro bill. Upgrades include:

ENERGY STAR®-certified LED light bulbs
Power bars with timers
High-efficiency showerheads (standard and handheld)
Aerators (kitchen and bathroom)
Drying racks
Energy-efficient refrigerator
Window air conditioner
Additional attic or basement insulation
Weatherstripping around doors and window

If you have already received a LEAP benefit, OESP benefit, a natural gas low income benefit or the low income status in the last 12 months you automatically qualify for this program. You also qualify if you are currently receiving any government assistance benefits such as:

      1. Allowance for the Survivor
      2. Guaranteed Income Supplement
      3. Allowance for Seniors
      4. Ontario Works
      5. Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
      6. Healthy Smiles Ontario Child Dental Program

If you have not received benefits from anything listed above you can still apply and be assessed for eligibility. To apply for the HAP program you can fill out this online application or call 1-855-591-0877.

AffordAbility Fund Trust (AFT)

The Government of Ontario established a $100 million dollar AffordAbilityassist Ontario customers who do not qualify for low income assistance programs. The AFT program is also a proactive program rather than a reactive program. This program is geared towards assisting consumers with energy saving upgrades for their homes that in turn save on consumption on their hydro bill. The upgrades range from Energy Star LED light bulbs to Energy Star appliances to insulation and weatherstripping. This program applies to all consumers who do not qualify for LEAP, OESP or HAP. To apply for AFT you can visit https://www.affordabilityfund.org/ or call 1-855-494-3863.

Payment Arrangements

Budget Billing Plan (BB)

BB takes your annual amount of billing and divides it by 12 to come up with a monthly payment amount. All upcoming known increases for the upcoming year are considered and applied to the monthly average. BB’s are administered with an automatic withdrawal from your financial institution. You have the choice of a payment due date of either the 5th, 15th or 25th of the month.

The monthly payment is applied every month on your bill regardless of your consumption. If you use more or less you still pay the same. Any overages in payments are refunded after 12 months and if you owe more than you paid for after 12 months you can either pay it in a lump sum, or request to increase your monthly payment for the next year to pay it back.

Customers are responsible for monitoring their balance throughout the year. If you feel a mid-year adjustment is required, you can call in and discuss your options with a representative.

Arrears Management Program

If you find yourself in arrears and/or at risk of disconnection you can request to be put on AMP. To be entered you must pay 15% of your arrears as a down payment (10% if your low income) before you are considered to be on the program. AMP requires the refund of any deposits held on the account and apply it to the outstanding balance.

Below is the payment arrangement schedule that is available.

Exception: You may not be able to enter into an arrears payment plan if you have already been on a plan in the last two years.

If these prescribed plans don’t fit your needs and you find yourself in need payment arrangements please contact Oshawa Power and we would be happy to discuss alternative options with you.

Know your rights

The Ontario Energy Board developed a list of rules, including for payment plans and disconnection, to ensure all consumers across the province are treated fairly. Review customer service rules for electricity from the Ontario Energy Board to understand repayment options and arrangements, special rules for low-income customers, and more.

Further information

If you have any questions or need assistance with any of these programs please call us 905-723-4623 and we are here to help you.

Further resources:

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