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Customer Protection

Public Participation at the Ontario Energy Board

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB or Board) operates as a regulatory adjudicative tribunal and carries out its regulatory functions through oral or written public hearings and other more informal processes such as workshops and consultation. These provide a forum for individuals, or groups of individuals who may be affected by the Board's ruling, to express their concerns to the Board and to participate meaningfully in the Board's decision-making process. The public's participation helps ensure that the Board makes an informed decision.

There are a number of ways in which you may participate in the Board's processes and assist the Board in its regulatory functions.

Intervener
Interested groups or individuals who may be affected by the Board's ruling may wish to participate actively in the hearing. Hearings may be written or oral depending on the nature of the application. Active participants are called Interveners. Interveners may be eligible to file a cost award with the Board to receive all or part of their reasonably incurred costs in the proceeding.

Anyone intending to intervene in the proceeding, through the submitting of evidence, argument, interrogatories (written questions), or by cross-examining a witness or witnesses at an oral hearing, must file a letter of intervention with the Board and serve a copy on the applicant at the address specified in the application. Letters of Intervention

Each letter of intervention must state:
• the interest of the intervener in the proceedings and the grounds for the intervention;
• the membership of the intervener, if any, and the full name, address, telephone number, fax or electronic access number of the intervener for the purposes of service and delivery of documents in the proceeding;
• the intervener's nature and scope of intended participation;
• whether the intervener intends to seek an award of costs; and
• whether the intervener intends to participate in the French language at the hearing.

Interveners may include customers, representatives of regulated electrical and gas utilities, consumer and trade associations, various industries, governments, environmental groups, interest groups, and affected individuals.

Observer
Interested groups or individuals who do not want to participate actively in the proceeding, but who wish to monitor the progress of the proceeding by obtaining documents issued by the Board, may file a request with the Board Secretary to receive Observer status in the proceeding. There is no fee involved to receive documents issued by the Board to Observers. If you wish to receive documents with respect to the proceeding filed and issued by the other parties to the proceeding, you may request these documents directly from the individual parties. However, you may be required to pay the provider of the information for expenses actually incurred in the preparation and delivery of these documents to you.

All documents filed in a proceeding may be examined free of charge in the Public File Room at the Board's offices.

Written Comment If you wish to comment on the proceeding without becoming an intervener, you may write a letter of comment to the Board Secretary clearly stating your views. All such letters will become part of the public record in the proceeding and a copy will be provided to the Hearing Panel, as well as to the applicant. It should be noted, however, that a letter of comment is not sworn evidence and is not subject to cross-examination. Oral Comment

If you wish to comment at the oral proceeding, you may advise the Board Secretary, who will then contact you to arrange a date and time for your appearance at the hearing. The Board may determine whether a person who makes an oral presentation shall do so under oath or affirmation and be subject to cross-examination by the parties to the proceeding or be unsworn.

Questions About Consumer Protection?

Why is it necessary to license electricity market participants?
The use of licenses will give the Ontario Energy Board a tool for ensuring market rule and regulatory compliance. Licenses also provide market participants with clear requirements and regulatory certainty. Retailers need to be licensed to ensure they are financially solvent and technically competent and do not leave customers facing potential supply interruptions.

How are consumers' rights protected in a competitive market?
All electricity retailers are subject to the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, administered by the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services. In addition, all electricity retailers must be licensed by the Ontario Energy Board and obey a strict code of conduct. The OEB is able to investigate suppliers, revoke or suspend licenses and shut down retailers who operate illegally.

Who Can Answer Your Questions?
Additional information on Consumer Protection is available on the Ontario Energy Board's Web Site at www.oeb.gov.on.ca or by contacting the Board's Customer Service Centre - toll free at 1-877-632-272.

Either Algoma Power Inc.  or Your Retailer Can Answer Questions About the Following...

STANDARD SUPPLY SERVICE

• Algoma Power Inc. can answer questions about Standard Supply Service (SSS).

HOW YOU ARE BILLED:

DISTRIBUTOR CONSOLIDATED BILLING (RSC 7.2.4)

• Algoma Power Inc. can answer inquiries regarding distribution rates and service, meter accuracy, bill calculation errors, safety and reliability.

• Your Retailer will answer inquiries regarding retailer pricing or contract terms. Either API or your Retailer can answer inquiries about usage - including how to lower it.

RETAILER CONSOLIDATED BILLING (RSC 7.1.3)

• Algoma Power Inc.can answer inquiries regarding meter accuracy, distribution rates, safety and reliability.

• Contact Your Retailer for inquiries regarding billing- including inquiries about distribution charges on their bill - or contract terms.

• Either API or their Retailer can answer inquiries about usage - including how to lower it.

SPLIT BILLING (RSC 7.3.3)

• Algoma Power Inc. can answer inquiries regarding distribution rates and service, meter accuracy, usage amounts, calculation errors, safety and reliability.

• Contact Your Retailer for inquiries regarding retailer pricing or contract terms.

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