Consumers should know their rights now that winter ban on hydro disconnections has been lifted: OEB

Hydro One power outage in parts of Lakeshore

A moratorium on winter utility disconnections was lifted Monday, but that doesn't mean customers with outstanding bills will be immediately cut off.

"There are a number of rules in place to protect consumers and we want consumers to be aware of these rules, their rights and how to get help if they need it," said Brian Hewson of the Ontario Energy Board.

Under OEB rules, utilities must give customers who face disconnection a minimum advance notice and a payment option. 

"Customers cannot be disconnected if they agree to a repayment arrangement and follow that arrangement," said Hewson.

The OEB has sent a letter to all Ontario utility companies reminding them of the rules.

The OEB recently announced that assistance would be increased for low-income residents who are eligible for help under the Ontario Electricity Support Program. Those changes also took effect May 1st.