OESP available for those who struggle with hydro bills

Due to the pandemic, the Ontario government is providing electricity-rate by lowering energy rates to the off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour — less than half the on-peak rate — 24 hours per day.

This will continue until the second week of February. Electricity customers won’t have to do anything to benefit from the rate cut, it will be applied automatically to both Time-of-Use and Tiered rate plans on the bills of residential customers, small businesses and farms who pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). Another program that helps with electricity rates, the Ontario Energy Support Program (OESP), was launched in late 2015 to provide help for people who struggle to pay their hydro bills.  Some people are now receiving renewal letters.  Community Care staff can provide support to seniors 60+ who meet the eligibility criteria.  The income eligibility thresholds are as follows: 1- person with $28,000 or less in income,  2 -person household with an income between $28.001 – $39,000; 3-4 person household with an income between $39,001 – $48,000; and 5-6 person household with an  income between $48,001 – $52,000. An eligible household ($28,000 or less) can receive between $35- $75.00 monthly credit on their hydro bill.

If you are already receiving an OESP credit on your monthly utility bill you do not need to reapply until you receive a letter asking you to do so, if you are not currently receiving an OESP credit and are eligible for OESP you must apply.  Seniors should simply call Community Care and we will assist you. Eligible customers receive on-bill credits for two years or more regardless of when a customer applies and their credit begins

. If you’ve been receiving the OESP you’ll receive a renewal letter if you move and change your address with the utility provider or if your eligibility period is about to expire.  If you receive a renewal letter seniors 60+ are invited to call Community Care to schedule an appointment with a Co-ordinator.  You’ll need to provide: the renewal letter; your most current electricity bill (if you do online billing simply print a copy of your last bill); and your last completed income tax papers or notice of assessment for all members of your household.  The Co-ordinator will complete the renewal process online to avoid delays.

Call 613-476-7493 and leave a detailed message to arrange a telephone appointment. More information can be found at www.OntarioElectricitySupport.ca Low income singles and families can contact the Prince Edward Learning Centre at 613-476-1811 for assistance with the OESP.

-Debbie MacDonald Moynes