Bill 132, Energy Consumer Protection Amendment Act (Elimination of Fixed Rate Electricity Contracts), 2013

Campbell, Sarah

Current Status: Ordered referred to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills

Viewing: Original (current version) pdf

Bill 132                                                       2013

An Act to amend the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 to eliminate fixed rate electricity contracts between retailers and consumers

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

   1.  Subsection 1 (6) of the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 is repealed and the following substituted:

Definition, energy consumer

   (6)  For the purposes of subsections (2) and (5),

“energy consumer” means a consumer as defined in section 2, a consumer as defined in subsection 30.1 (1) and a consumer as defined in section 31.

   2.  Section 9 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

   (2)  The prescribed requirements for the purposes of subsection (1) shall not permit a retailer to charge consumers a fixed rate for electricity under a contract that is deemed to be void under subsection 30.1 (2) or (3).

   3.  The Act is amended by adding the following Part:

Part ii.1
Fixed Rate Electricity Contracts

Fixed rate electricity contracts

Definitions

   30.1  (1)  In this Part,

“consumer” means a person who uses, for the person’s own consumption, electricity that the person did not generate and who annually uses less than the amount of electricity prescribed for the purposes of clause (a) of the definition of “consumer” in section 2; (“consommateur”)

“contract” means an agreement between a consumer and a retailer; (“contrat”)

“retail” means,

  (a)  to sell or offer to sell electricity to a consumer,

  (b)  to act as agent or broker for a retailer with respect to the sale or offering for sale of electricity, or

   (c)  to act or offer to act as an agent or broker for a consumer with respect to the sale or offering for sale of electricity; (“vendre au détail”)

“retailer” means a person who retails electricity, but does not include a distributor, a suite meter provider or such other persons as may be prescribed. (“détaillant”)

Fixed rate electricity contracts void

   (2)  A contract for the provision of electricity at a fixed rate entered into on or after the day on which this subsection comes into force is deemed to be void.

Extensions or renewals

   (3)  An existing contract for the provision of electricity at a fixed rate that is renewed, extended or amended on or after the day this subsection comes into force is deemed to be void on the day the existing contract expires, except if amended to provide for cancellation of the contract without penalty.

No liability

   (4)  If a contract is deemed to be void under this section, the consumer is not liable for any obligations under the void contract, including obligations purporting to be incurred as cancellation charges, administration charges or any other charges, fees or penalties.

No cause of action

   (5)  No cause of action against the consumer arises as a result of a contract being deemed to be void under this section or as a result of the operation of subsection (4).

Refund within prescribed time  

   (6)  The retailer shall refund to the consumer any money paid by the consumer under the void contract within the number of days prescribed for the purposes of subsection 16 (3).

Same, right of action

   (7)  If a contract is deemed to be void under this section, a consumer may commence an action against the retailer to recover the amount described in subsection (6).

Judgment

   (8)  If a consumer is successful in an action commenced under subsection (7), the court shall order that the consumer recover twice the amount of the money paid by the consumer under the void contract unless in the circumstances it would be inequitable to do so.

Same

   (9)  In addition to any order that may be made under subsection (8), the court may order exemplary or punitive damages or such other relief as the court considers proper.

Commencement

   4.  This Act comes into force six months after the day it receives Royal Assent.

Short title

   5.  The short title of this Act is the Energy Consumer Protection Amendment Act (Elimination of Fixed Rate Electricity Contracts), 2013.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

Currently, under the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010, contracts between retailers and consumers for the provision of electricity at a fixed rate are permitted. The Bill adds Part II.1 to the Act. It provides that contracts between retailers and consumers for the provision of electricity at a fixed rate that are entered into after a specified day are deemed to be void.  It also provides that existing contracts between retailers and consumers for the provision of electricity at a fixed rate that are renewed, extended or amended after a specified day are deemed to be void on the day the existing contract expires, except if amended to provide for cancellation of the contract without penalty.  Part II.1 further provides various protections to consumers who enter into contracts that are deemed to be void under the new Part. Such protections include the right to a refund of money paid under a void contract and freedom from liability for obligations under such a contract.

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