Positive Progress for Buildings Losing 31.8% Electricity Rebate
As a brief recap, the Ontario Energy Board issued a bulletin in late 2019 that stated some condominiuims were not eligible for the 31.8% Ontario Electricity Rebate, or OER. The bulletin stated that condominium buildings were not eligible for the OER if the utility1 directly meters the residential units and the “common area” has its own utility meter. The suites would still get the rebate, but these “common area” accounts would see their electricity bills increase by 31.8% as of November 1st, 2020.
The industry was in agreement that the regulations allow for all condominiums to receive the 31.8% rebate. So, we strategically designed a letter-writing campaign in February 2020 to gain support to change the OEB’s interpretation of the regulations reflected in their bulletin. We reasoned that this support would be relatively easy to achieve as it did not require a change in the regulations.
We are pleased to report the letter-writing campaign is gaining traction:
- We have been congratulated for organizing a strong advocacy for all Ontario condominiums;
- We have agreement from several MPPs that this is not equitable, and they each have contacted the Ministry to discuss the situation;
- We have the support of the opposition energy critic, whom will be bringing up this issue when parliament resumes;
- Recent Ministry responses cause us to be optimistic – the Ministry reports they are assessing the design of the OER to ensure the program treats people fairly as implementation of the OER continues. This is a definite change in tone. Previously, Ministry responses did not demonstrate an understanding of how important the issue is for our clients.
As always, we will continue to leverage our strength in numbers that has been granted to us by our clients’ trust, and we will keep you posted of future progress.
1 Toronto Hydro, Alectra, Veridian, Oakville Hydro, etc.