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Help for utility customers at risk of being disconnected from utility service
There are a number of support programs available to Albertans who are experiencing financial hardship and are having a difficult time paying their utility bills. Customers who are at risk of being disconnected from utility service should consider reaching out the Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA), a government resource that has the responsibility to mediate, educate and advocate for residential and commercial customers.
The UCA mediation officers can assist with coordinating payment arrangements with utility retail service providers and work with customers to prevent disconnection from utilities services. Please contact the UCA if your electricity or natural gas services are disconnected or if you are looking for support in setting up payment arrangements with your retail service provider:
For anyone requiring greater assistance with utility bill payments, a single point of contact has been set up to refer at-risk Albertans to the right social service program, such as Alberta Works.
If you or someone you know is struggling to pay their utility bills:
The UCA also has a list of agencies that may be able to help if you are unable to pay your bill and need financial assistance.
At any time of the year, not just the winter season, a family member or a friend can also make payments to settle an account and facilitate reconnection.
Each year the AUC initiates the Winter Utility Reconnection Program to protect vulnerable utility customers during Alberta’s cold weather months (generally November to March). The program involves connecting people who may be going through challenging financial circumstances with the appropriate support agencies for assistance in keeping their lights on and homes warm. The program has been in place to improve the disconnection and reconnection practices for utility services in Alberta since 2011.
Anyone who is disconnected from utility services going into the winter season is contacted by their utility service provider to facilitate reconnection arrangements if needed. The AUC continues to work with utility companies and social agencies at biannual meetings regarding disconnection/reconnection practices to ensure the program continues to meet its goals.
As part of this program the AUC regularly reviews rules regarding load-limiting and other issues related to disconnection and reconnection during Rule 021: Settlement System Code Rules consultations.
Rules and more details about the program are available on the UCA website.