Help tenants beat rising hydro costs
With rising electrical costs, low income tenants who pay their own hydro can really feel the burden and this can potentially lead to financial challenges in other areas. There are two provincial programs currently in place that can potentially relieve some of the financial stress of rising hydro bills for your tenants. The Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) provides a direct credit on a tenant’s electricity bill and the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is an emergency fund for tenants who are in utility arrears.
What are the benefits?
With OESP, once a tenant is registered, the credit is applied directly to their individual electricity bills.
Tenants can apply directly through an online application at OntarioElectricitySupport.ca with the following information:
- A copy of their electricity bill.
- The name and birthdates of all residents in the home, as registered with the CRA.
- The SINs and individual tax numbers or temporary taxation numbers of residents over 16.
The website also provides contact information for supporting agencies to assist tenants with the application process if they have barriers to apply.
What are the benefits?
LEAP existed before the OESP and provides several potential benefits for low income tenants:
- Emergency assistance is available for tenants who are in arrears, or behind in payment, there is a grant of up to $600 meant to prevent electricity from being shut off.
- A waived security deposit can be requested, or a security deposit can be refunded if already paid.
- Tenants can request equalized billing over 12 months to avoid seasonal variations.
- With notification from an agency, tenants can request 21 days grace period from having power cut off while they wait for emergency assistance.
- Tenants can apply for a longer period to pay back arrears.
In the event of payments or benefits, they are transferred directly to the utility company, and do not go to the tenant first.
How do tenants apply?
LEAP requires the following eligibility criteria in order for tenants to apply:
(Ontario Energy Board)
Tenants can apply through social service and government agencies throughout Ontario. Click here to see a central list.