Many Ontario residents find themselves in the position where they are simply unable to cover the total cost of day-to-day necessities, such as rent, food, and so on. In order to provide some measure of relief to these families, the Ontario Energy Board created the Ontario Electricity Support Program. The OESP allows qualifying households to apply a monthly credit to their bills, lowering the price they have to pay. This credit is calculated based two factors: the size of the household and the total household income.
How Much will the OESP Credit Worth?
The amount of the OESP credit is determined by the number of people in your household, and the household’s total combined income after taxes.
Homes which have electricity-based heating systems, or that have residents who require the use of an approved medical device that consumes a large amount of electricity (an oxygen concentrator or a mechanical ventilator) qualify for an “Energy Intensive” credit 50% larger than the figures listed above, as shown below.
When Can I Apply for OESP?
Anyone who qualifies for an OESP credit can apply at any time. There is no deadline or application window. However, it takes 1 ½ to 2 months for applications to be processed, so the sooner you apply, the sooner you can reduce your electricity bills.
How Long Does OESP Eligibility Last?
To continue receiving OESP credits, you must reapply every two years, or when factors which affect your eligibility change, such as your income or number of household occupants.
Persons who are 65 years of age or older, or who receive CPP disabilities pensions, are eligible for an extended 5 year period of eligibility before they must reapply.
How Do You Apply for OESP?
To apply for OESP, you can apply online through the OESP website, print a paper version of the application from the website and mail it in, or visit an intake agency office, which can be located on the website or by calling 1-855-831-8151. You will need to provide the following information:
- The Social Insurance Numbers or Temporary Tax Numbers of all household occupants.
- The names and birthdays of all residents.
- The electricity account number listed on your electricity bill.
- Your service address, as listed on your bill.
- Details about the electricity account holder.
If you have not recently paid income tax, you may still be eligible to apply for OESP. However, you will need to locate and visit an intake agency office.
Are There Any Additional Energy Bill Assistance Programs Available?
Ontario residents who need emergency financial assistance with their energy bills may qualify for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP). LEAP is designed to help those who are behind on their electricity bills and in danger of having their service terminated. LEAP provides a one-time grant of up to $500 ($600 for electrically heated homes) to pay off electricity bills. To learn more about this program, visit the LEAP page on the Ontario Energy Board website.