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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Hydro Cut Off Ban Ends For Warmer Months

Grey Bruce | by Claire McCormack  

United Way says May 1st was the end of the winter ban on electricity cutoffs.

May 1st was the end of the winter ban on electricity cutoffs.

United Way of Bruce Grey Executive Director Francesca Dobbyn says there are  'absolutely' people in Grey Bruce who are facing disconnection, "They've fallen behind due to income issues and all the things that hit people living in poverty."

Two years ago, a change was made where all electricity companies were expected to ban cutoffs during the winter. Dobbyn says natural gas companies will have to follow the same rules later in the year.

"November 15th, through to May 1st, you can't be disconnected from natural gas or electricity, but certainly, if you're behind on your bill and you don't pay your bill, you can be disconnected the rest of  the year," says Dobbyn.

Dobbyn hopes the United Way's message has gotten to everyone who is struggling with paying utility bills, "Call 211. There are programs, you can work with your hydro company and make payment arrangements. The most important thing is to talk to the electricity company."

She notes, while it is indeed May, most people are still using heat this time of year.

In recent years, Dobbyn has met with local and provincial working groups, politicians, companies and boards to push for some revisions of the rules, "We've been advocating for a pile of changes, and we've gotten a pile of changes across the province to enable people to better manage and afford their utility bills. At this time, we're kind of satisfied with where everything is and with what these companies are doing ."

Dobbyn says the United Way continues to work with the Ontario Energy Board to improve the rules and improve transparency around people's utility bills.

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