With the new Energy Consumer Protection Act taking effect on January 1, 2011, FRPO has been getting two main questions.  This bulletin speaks to the two most common questions we are getting: 1) utilities not providing information; and 2) availability of LTB suite-meter forms.  It also informs members about new requirements related to fridges in all suite-metered units.  This information was covered in much more detail in FRPO’s recent seminar and webinar.

Information for Prospective Tenants – Utilities Not Providing Information As Required

Beginning January 1, all landlords who have units where the tenant pays electricity (suite-meterd units) must provide information to prospective tenants.  In particular, the landlord must provide “the most recent information available to the landlord”… “concerning electricity consumption in the rental unit”.  An excerpt with this full new legislative requirement is shown in a section below.
FRPO has been told that some utilities will not provide this information.  Most of these utilities cite privacy concerns.  FRPO has brought problem this to the attention of the Ministry of Energy, the Ontario Energy Board, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.  Since bringing it to their attention, FRPO has been informed by all three that it is the OEB’s responsibility to ensure that utilities comply with the new law.  The OEB told FRPO in November that it was educating utilities across the province on their new legislative obligation.
The utilities are obligated to provide you with this information within 10 days of a request.  Below is an excerpt from Ontario Regulation 389-10 outlining the legal obligation of utilities in this respect.
If the utility will not provide you with this information, then you are not obligated to provide any information to prospective tenants.  The legislation is quite clear: you are only obligated to provide “the most recent information available to the landlord”.  If it is not available, you cannot provide it.
FRPO urges caution in trying to manufacture something in an attempt to provide information: you may incur more liability by trying to do this than by providing no information.  It is the government’s job to make sure that utilities comply with the legislation.  It is not the job of the rental housing provider to try and suddenly pretend you are a utility.

Fridge Information for Prospective Tenants

Under Ontario regulation 394/10, “If the landlord provides a refrigerator for the rental unit, the prospective tenant must be given the best information that is available to the landlord about the date of manufacture of the refrigerator and any available information about the energy efficiency of the refrigerator”  [O. Reg. 394/10, s. 8 (3)].  This requirement applies on January 1, 2011 to all rental providers who have tenants who pay for their electricity.

Fridge Efficiency Requirements for all Suite-meterd Units

All suite-metered units in the province face new energy efficiently requirements.  O. Reg 384/10 requires that fridges built before 1994 in suite-metered units must be replaced by January 1, 2013.  Section 10 of the regulation is shown below.
O.Reg 394/10
10.  (1)  The rules set out in this section apply with respect to the landlord’s duties under subsection 137 (9) of the Act respecting electricity conservation and efficiency.  O. Reg. 394/10, s. 10 (1).
(2) If the landlord provides a refrigerator for a rental unit, the refrigerator must be one that is manufactured on or after January 1, 1994.  O. Reg. 394/10, s. 10 (2).
(3) If the landlord replaces a refrigerator in a rental unit, the replacement refrigerator must be one that is manufactured on or after December 31, 2002.  O. Reg. 394/10, s. 10 (3).
(4) If, on October 13, 2010, the tenant is being billed by the distributor or suite meter provider for electricity use in a rental unit, the rule set out in subsection (2) does not apply with respect to the rental unit until two years after the date on which subsection 137 (9) of the Act comes into force.  O. Reg. 394/10, s. 10 (4).

LTB Forms Available December 24, 2010

The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) has informed FRPO that forms related to the new suite metering rules will be available on their website on December 24th, 2010.

The expected forms include:

  1. Information for prospective tenants form
  2. Tenant consent form for suite-metering (for when you want to convert a sitting tenant from bulk metering to suite metering
  3. Rent reduction schedules (for each of the different rent reduction options)
  4. Notice to terminate the obligation to supply electricity
APPENDIXES TO THE BULLETIN

Residential Tenancies Act Section 137 (7): Information Requirements for Prospective Tenants

Information for prospective tenants
      (7)  Except under the prescribed circumstances, if a suite meter is installed in respect of a rental unit, the landlord shall, before entering into a tenancy agreement with a prospective tenant for the unit, provide the prospective tenant with the following information in the form approved by the Board:
  1. The most recent information available to the landlord for the prescribed period from the suite meter provider concerning electricity consumption in the rental unit.
  2. If the rental unit was vacant during any part of the period to which the information referred to in paragraph 1 applies, a statement of the period that the rental unit was vacant.
  3.  Such other information as is prescribed.

Ontario Regulation 389-10 Excerpt: Information provision requirements for utilities (suite meter providers)

Information to be provided
   41.  (1)  Within 10 days after receiving a request from a residential landlord for any of the following, or within such other period of time as may be required by a code or order issued by the Board, a suite meter provider who provides suite metering in respect of a rental unit in the landlord’s residential complex shall provide the residential landlord with such of the following information as it relates to the rental unit as the landlord requests:
    1.  Contact information for the suite meter provider.
    2.  For the most recently completed 12-month period for which the following information is available to the suite meter provider:
            i.  the sum of all amounts charged, including applicable taxes but net of any late payment and one-time set-up charges, on all suite metering invoices for the rental unit for that 12-month period,
           ii.  the total amount of electricity consumed in the rental unit in kilowatt hours during that 12-month period,
          iii.          the sum of all amounts charged in respect of just the commodity price of the electricity on all suite metering invoices for the rental unit for that 12-month period.
    3.  Information about all fees and charges imposed on the consumer in the rental unit by the suite meter provider.
    4.  In the case of a unit sub-meter provider, information about the circumstances in which the amount of fees and charges imposed on the consumer in the rental unit by the unit sub-meter provider may increase.
    5.  In the case of a unit sub-meter provider, information about any planned increases in the amount of fees or charges imposed on the consumer in the rental unit by the unit sub-meter provider.
    6.  In the case of a unit smart meter provider, a statement that the rates and other charges imposed on the consumer in the rental unit by the unit smart meter provider and any changes to these rates and charges are approved or fixed by the Board.
    7.  The suite meter provider’s security deposit policies applicable to the consumer in the rental unit.
    8.  The suite meter provider’s disconnection policies applicable to the consumer in the rental unit.  O. Reg. 389/10, s. 41 (1).
   (2)  A unit sub-meter provider shall include with its first invoice to a consumer, in a clearly legible typeface having a font size of at least 12,
   (a)  detailed information about all applicable fees and charges imposed by the unit sub-meter provider; or
   (b)  information that there are regular recurring fees and charges imposed by the unit sub-meter provider and the address of the website on which detailed information about the fees and charges may be obtained.  O. Reg. 389/10, s. 41 (2).
   (3)  A unit sub-meter provider who provides suite metering in respect of a unit in a multi-unit complex shall, in accordance with subsection (4), notify a consumer,
   (a)  about all changes in the fees or charges to be imposed on the consumer in the unit by the unit sub-meter provider and provide information on the amount of the fees and charges before the change and after the change;
   (b)  about all changes in the commodity price and provide information on the commodity price charged before and after the change;
   (c)  about any change in the person who sells electricity to the owner or other person in charge of the multi-unit complex and information on the current person who sells electricity and the new person; and
   (d)  about the date when a change referred to in clause (a), (b) or (c) is scheduled to take effect.  O. Reg. 389/10, s. 41 (3).
   (4)  Information required by subsection (3) to be provided to a consumer must be printed in a clearly legible typeface having a font size of at least 12 and included on the front page of, or as a separate insert with, the first invoice issued to the consumer following the earlier of,
   (a)  the announcement of the change; and
   (b)  the day that the change takes effect.  O. Reg. 389/10, s. 41 (4).
   (5)  A suite meter provider who provides suite metering in respect of a multi-unit complex shall provide such other information in such form and manner to consumers or such other persons as may be required in an order or code issued by the Board.  O. Reg. 389/10, s. 41 (5).
   (6)  In this section,
“commodity price” means the commodity price for electricity referred to in section 2 of Ontario Regulation 275/04 (Information on Invoices to Low-Volume Consumers of Electricity) made under the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998.  O. Reg. 389/10, s. 41 (6).