Need financial assistance? Here are your options

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

Emergency assistance for customers with past due amounts on bill

The Low Income Emergency Assistance Program (LEAP) offers assistance to customers who are struggling to pay their electricity bills. A one-time grant of up to $500 in emergency assistance for low-income customers ($600 if the home is heated electrically) is available to those who qualify. Call the Community Development Council of Durham at 905-686-2661 to see if you are eligible. We will suspend disconnection for 21 days if, at the time, we are notified you are being assessed for eligibility to receive emergency funding under the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP).

Monthly credit on the bill

The Ontario Electricity Support Program, or OESP, provides ongoing assistance directly on the bills of eligible low-income electricity consumers. Eligible customers can receive a $35 to $75 credit on their monthly electricity bill. If your home is electrically heated, or you rely on medical devices requiring a lot of power, OESP offers a higher level of assistance

Customers can apply online at OntarioElectricitySupport.ca, call OESP at 1-855-831-8151 or contact John Howard Society for application information and assistance at 905-579-8482.

Equal Payment Plans

Oshawa PUC Networks offer their customers the option of an equal billing plan. You will be billed an amount each month equal to the average of your bills from the last 12 months. We will review your equal monthly payment plan at least once a year to make sure you have not paid too much or too little. You have the choice of payment due dates of either the 5th, 15th or 25th of the month. You will have to sign to have your payments automatically withdrawn from you bank account.

Benefits:

This option helps you plan your monthly payments based on a consistent amount.

If you end up owing your utility more than the amount billed, the utility will collect those funds over a period of 12 months.

If your utility owes you, a credit will be applied to your account or you can get a refund cheque depending on the amount.

Arrears Management Program

Oshawa PUC Networks offers you the opportunity to go on an Arrears Payment Plan. The payment amount is calculated after:

  • Applying your security deposit (if you have one) to the total amount owed.
  • Charging you a down payment of up to 15 per cent of the total amount owed as well as additional service charges, such as a reconnection charge.

If you owe less than twice your average monthly bill, you will have at least five months to pay. If you owe more than twice your average monthly bill, then you will be given at least 10 months. Don’t fall behind on your payments. You are still responsible for paying your regular electricity bill and the payment plan. If you miss more than one payment, the local utility may cancel the payment plan.

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.

There are separate rules for low-income customers who want to enter into an arrears payment plan. Oshawa PUC Networks will waive security deposits, and allow longer payment times. If you owe less than twice your average monthly bill, you will have at least 8 months to pay. If you owe more than twice your average monthly bill, then you will be given at least 12 months.

saveONenergy Home Assistance Program

Offered by local utilities, this program provides free, energy efficient devices and products to qualified homeowners, tenants with no cost to lower future consumption. Some products include LED light bulbs, ENERGYSTAR certified ceiling fans, advanced power bars and more. Customers may also be eligible for a new, energy-efficient refrigerator or other appliance as well as a programmable thermostat, weather-stripping and extra insulation if they live in a home that is electrically heated. Call 1-877-688-5640 or email homeassistance@summerhill.com to see if you qualify. Learn more

Online help to save energy and money

Oshawa PUC Networks Inc. expects to rollout My EnergyXpert to customers by Winter 2018, and will present customers with free online energy audits and energy savings plans that will drive action towards achieving energy savings. Using information specific to your home, we can help you pin-point energy saving opportunities and take advantage of financial incentive programs. Visit our website for more energy saving ideas and coupons.

Affordability Fund Trust

The Government of Ontario established the Affordability Fund as part of the Ontario Fair Hydro Plan to assist electricity customers who do not qualify for low-income conservation programs and are unable to make energy efficiency improvements without financial assistance. Eligible customers will benefit from upgrades to their home that will help make it more energy-efficient and in turn, will reduce their electricity bills over the long-term. Individuals who qualify for the Home Assistance Program, Low-Income Energy Assistance Program and the Ontario Electricity Support Program are not eligible for the Affordability Fund. For more information call 1-855-494-FUND (1-855-494-3863) or visit www.affordabilityfund.org.

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

To speak one-on-one with a member of our team, call Customer Service at 905-723-4623, Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Further resources:

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