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E.L.K. Energy penalized for improper disconnections


by Adam Gault

E.L.K. Energy has been fined a total of $23,000, after the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) determined the local energy distributor had been disconnecting customers in violation of the OEB’s rules and practices.

  The company, which as the name suggests, serves communities in the towns of Essex, Lakeshore, and Kingsville, was served the fines following a series of customer complaints between May and November of 2019.

  The OEB determined that around 2,000 disconnection notices to E.L.K. customers were sent incorrectly, and that 111 customers had their electricity disconnected and were incorrectly charged reconnection fees, which E.L.K. refunded following the investigation.

  Much of the issue stems from the alleged overdue charge notices, including water and sewer arrears, of which the OEB does not allow a distributor to disconnect a customer’s electricity service for non-payment of charges that do not relate to electricity.

  Customers facing disconnection must be provided accurate information in their disconnection notices, so that they know what they need to do to avoid being disconnected,” OEB Vice-President of Consumer Protection and Industry Performance, Brian Hewson, said. If a utility does not provide that information, customers are at risk of being harmed. With the actions we have taken, and E.L.K. Energy’s assurance, consumers will be better protected.”

  With these findings, the OEB has accepted an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) from E.L.K., which will have the distributor pay an administrative monetary penalty of $18,000, plus an additional $5,000 to the social agency that runs the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) in E.L.K. Energy’s service territory.

  E.L.K. administration and board members did not return requests for a public statement at time of print, but there is a chance the issue will be brought to Essex Council at the December 7 regular meeting, as several Essex Council members, including Mayor Larry Snively, also sit on the E.L.K. Board.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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