It may be that you’re moving, or you simply want to cancel your contract. What do you do? Let’s break it down.
Leaving Your Energy Retailer and Ending Your Contract
There are a number of reasons that you may wish to end your contract. Perhaps you just signed, but you’ve reconsidered. Or you’re moving, or simply no longer wish to do business with them. What will happen depends on your specific situation.
Canceling Within 10 Days of Signing
When you sign an energy contract in Ontario, there is a 10 day cooling off period during which you can change your mind and cancel. During this period, you cannot be charged any cancellation fees, and your utility service will not be stopped. But if you do decide to cancel, it’s important to contact your energy provider without delay.
Canceling Before Contract Verification
After the cooling off period, but within 45 days of signing, electricity retailers are required to get in touch with you to confirm your contract. They may do this by sending a letter, or by calling you over the phone. If this process is completed over the phone, they must follow a script approved by the Ontario Energy Board, and record the conversation (essentially serving as a verbal contract).
If you have not yet verified the contract, or refuse to verify it, the contract is invalidated and you may cancel without penalty. Your service will be reverted to your local utility.
However, there are cases in which a retailer does not have to verify a contract, in which case the above is inapplicable:
- The consumer initiated business with the retailer.
- The consumer signed up in response to a mailed solicitation.
- The contract was completed online.
Canceling Within 30 Days of Receiving Your First Bill
You may cancel a contract without having to pay cancellation fees within 30 days of receiving your first energy bill. Of course, you will still have to pay the bill, but your service will automatically be reverted to your original utility, and service will be uninterrupted.
Canceling more than 30 Days After Your First Bill
At this point, your retail energy provider may require you to pay a cancellation fee for breaking the contract early. For the majority of customers, this fee can be calculated as following:
- For natural gas customers, the fee amounts to $100 per year and an additional $100 for any remainder.
- Example: If you cancel a 5 year contract with 3 years and 1 month remaining, the fee will be $400.
- For electricity customers, the fee is $50 per year, and an additional $50 for any remainder.
- Example: If you cancel a 5 year contract with 2 years and 11 months remaining, the fee will be $150.
However, large volume consumers may be required to pay cancellation fees calculated according to a different scale. For instance, consumers who use 15,000 and 150,000 kWh per year will have to pay a cancellation fee of 1.5 cents per kWh, times their monthly usage, times the number of months remaining on the contract.
For more information, refer to the terms of your contract.
Also, keep an eye out for special offers from other retailers, which sometimes offer to pay your cancellation fees owed to another provider if you sign up.
Canceling Due to a Change of Address
If you are moving, you may submit a request to cancel to your provider within 30 days of when you move. In this case, you service can be canceled without penalty. Please refer to your contract for more information.