The Government of Ontario is providing $9 million for its new COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), to support residential customers struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.
CEAP provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. The program is being delivered directly by electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers (USMP), further to rules laid out by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).
Utilities will begin accepting applications for CEAP on July 13, 2020.
1. Which customers are eligible for CEAP?
Residential electricity and natural gas customers may be eligible for CEAP funding if they meet the following criteria:
The customer is required to confirm that this is the case on their CEAP application form.
In the case of an electricity customer, the customer has not received emergency financial assistance for their electricity bills under the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) in 2020, and has not received funding under the Ontario Electricity Support Program in 2020.
2. Can customers apply for CEAP to help with both their electricity and gas bills?
Yes, but customers can only receive a CEAP credit once for electricity and once for gas.
3. How can a customer apply for CEAP?
Apply for CEAP through your electricity or natural gas beginning July 13, 2020. Customers can apply for CEAP by email or by mail.
Utilities are expected to process applications in the order in which they are received, and to process complete applications within 10 business days of receipt.
CEAP funding is limited. Submitting an application for CEAP to your utility does not guarantee funding.
4. Is there a deadline to apply for CEAP?
Funding for the program is limited, and utilities and USMPs are expected to process applications in the order in which they are received. CEAP funding is not guaranteed even after a complete application has been submitted.
The government is making $9 million available for CEAP to support residential energy customers. Each utility has been allocated a share of that amount, based on how many residential customers they have. Your utility or USMP will stop delivering CEAP once their allocated share of CEAP funding runs out.
5. What is the maximum CEAP credit that a customer can receive?
CEAP funding is limited. Each utility has been allocated a share of the total pool of CEAP funds, and they are expected to process applications in the order in which they are received. Submitting an application for CEAP to your utility does not guarantee funding.
Eligible electricity customers may qualify for a one-time CEAP credit for half of the electricity charges that are overdue on the date of their application for CEAP, up to a maximum of $115.
The CEAP credit can be higher for eligible electricity customers if:
(i) their home is mainly heated by electricity; or
(ii) they use one of three at-home energy-intensive medical devices (kidney dialysis, mechanical ventilator or oxygen concentrator).
In that case, they may qualify for a one-time CEAP credit for half of the electricity charges that are overdue on the date of their application, up to a maximum of $230. The CEAP application form requires that customers confirm whether they meet either of these two conditions.
6. Why doesn’t the CEAP credit amount cover the full amount of a customer’s arrears?
The on-bill CEAP credit covers half of the charges that are overdue on the date of the customer’s application for CEAP, up to a pre-set maximum amount. Setting the level of support for individual customers in this way assists in achieving the government’s objective of making CEAP available to help the most people affected financially by the COVID-19 emergency. For the same reason, CEAP funding is available only once per customer for each of their electricity and natural gas bills.
7. When will a customer see the credit on their bill?
Utilities are expected to process complete CEAP applications within 10 business days of receipt.
Provided that your utility or USMP has CEAP funds remaining, the credit will be applied to the next available bill issued to you after your CEAP application been assessed as complete by your utility or USMP.
8. Can a customer receive a CEAP credit if they are on the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) or have received emergency financial assistance under the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) this year?
No. Low-income customers that have received assistance under either of these programs in 2020 are not eligible for CEAP.
The Ontario Government’s aim for CEAP is to support residential energy customers that are temporarily behind on their bills as a result of COVID-19.
Eligible low-income customers continue to have access to help under OESP and LEAP.