Steps for Making a Complaint
If you have a question or complaint about an electricity or natural gas utility, an electricity retailer or a natural gas marketer, please let us know. We regulate Ontario’s energy sector and part of our role is ensuring that companies follow all applicable laws, regulations and regulatory requirements that we have authority to enforce.
- What we do
- What we do not do
- Consumer contacts
- Steps for Making a Complaint About a Utility, Natural Gas Marketer or Electricity Retailer
As part of our role, we:
- provide information to consumers on the energy sector and consumer issues
- work with utilities, retailers and marketers to ensure they understand and comply with their legal and regulatory obligations
- facilitate interaction between utilities, retailers and marketers and consumers who have complaints, by bringing the complaint to the attention of the company and helping to resolve complex or difficult matters
- track trends in the marketplace to identify consumer issues and determine how to best address them
- investigate allegations that a utility, retailer or marketer is not meeting its legal or regulatory obligations
While the OEB has been given authority to deal with specific consumer issues, it is sometimes asked by consumers to deal with other issues where it is unable to provide assistance. The OEB does not, for example:
- regulate prices offered by electricity retailers / natural gas marketers
- force a company to resolve a consumer complaint where there has been no violation of any legal or regulatory requirement
- regulate water heater rentals or heating protection plans
Even if we are unable to provide assistance, we still want to hear about a concern you may have because it helps us to analyze trends and potential issues in the sector.
Consumers contact the OEB by phone, letter, fax, e-mail or through our web form. Some consumers have a simple enquiry while others look to raise a concern or file a complaint about a company regulated by the OEB.
Enquiries are general requests for information or clarification about the energy sector.
On occasion, consumers may wish to express their dissatisfaction with an aspect of the energy sector. In some cases the OEB does not have jurisdiction over the area of their concern. In other cases the consumer may not have enough information to register a complaint. For these consumers the OEB registers a Concern in our tracking system.
The OEB also logs Complaints from consumers who claim their supplier, utility, or unit sub-metering company did not follow its legal or regulatory obligations.
Consumers may raise several issues related to their primary reason for contacting the Board. The OEB notes each issue raised in the consumer’s enquiry, concern or complaint. The following chart shows how many consumer contacts the Board has received by quarter.
If you're having a problem with your utility, natural gas marketer or electricity retailer, such as a concern about your contract or the company's sales representative, here's what to do:
STEP 1: CONTACT YOUR UTILITY, NATURAL GAS MARKETER OR ELECTRICITY RETAILER
Give your supplier an opportunity to deal with the problem first and give them a reasonable amount of time to investigate and resolve the matter.
Keep a detailed account of the problem you're having, including copies of all correspondence for your records, and think about how you want the problem resolved.
- Names of people you've spoken to
- Details about the situation or a particular event (such as salesperson's name and ID number, what they said, what documents you were given, etc.)
- Keep track of meter readings and the dates they were taken
Gather together any relevant documents, such as contracts and letters from the company and your utility bills (you may be asked to provide a copy of your contract or to provide account numbers listed on these documents).
If your supplier fails to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction, contact the OEB Consumer Relations Centre who will be able to advise you further. The Board will provide information on whether the OEB can proceed in the matter.
What the OEB needs from you:
- Your name, service address and telephone number
- Your consent to your information being shared with the utility, marketer or retailer (privacy consent)
- The name of company that your complaint is about
— Note: if your complaint involves a sales representative, you will be asked to indicate, if possible, the name and identification number of the sales representative, or provide a description of the sales representative.
- Your specific complaint
— Try to be “to the point” when describing your complaint. Include any specific dates, times or places that are important to your concern.
— Specify whether the complaint relates to natural gas or electricity, or both. If your complaint relates to a salesperson or utility worker, try to document their identification badge number, their behavior, the information provided to you, and any documents you were presented.
WHAT IS DONE WITH YOUR COMPLAINT:
- First, we will confirm that your complaint is within our authority. If it is, we will send a summary of your complaint to the company, ask them to review the complaint and to respond to both the Board and to you about their position. Generally, companies have 21 days to respond to the complaint.
- We review the company’s response to ensure they met their legal and regulatory obligations and that the resolution to the complaint is appropriate.
- If we find that the company may not have met its obligations or if we do not agree with the resolution, we will escalate the file for further review. We may need to contact you again for further information in this case.
- If we find that the company appears to have met its obligations and agree the response is reasonable, we will close the file in the absence of any further information.
Note: The OEB does not licence natural gas marketers who market or sell only to large volume consumers (over 50,000 m3 per year usage). Large volume users are encouraged to resolve any complaints directly with their supplier, or seek a legal remedy.
Page last updated 2013-08-26