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Energy Assistance Program offers up to $850 for eligible small businesses

Photo by Tori Stafford.

Across Ontario, natural gas and utilities are now delivering the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business or CEAP-SB, funded by the Government of Ontario, Utilities Kingston stated in a release dated Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.

CEAP-SB provides a one-time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and charitable organization energy customers, who have experienced hardships as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Customers eligible for CEAP-SB for their electricity may receive a maximum credit of $850 if they primarily use electricity for heating, and $425 otherwise, according to the release. The maximum credit a CEAP-SB eligible natural gas customer may receive is $425. Customers may be eligible for both.

“We understand that this has been a very difficult time for our community. For small businesses and charitable organizations who are struggling to pay their bills due to the pandemic, we encourage you to apply to the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Businesses,” says Jim Keech, president and CEO of Utilities Kingston. “The program is intended to help you catch up on energy bills and resume regular payments. We really want to get these funds into the hands of our customers who need them most.”

Know your utility provider and apply with the right one

Customers with Utilities Kingston can learn more and apply at UtilitiesKingston.com.

Hydro One electricity customers can learn more and apply at HydroOne.com.

Enbridge gas customers can learn more and apply at EnbridgeGas.com.

Application information

While there is no deadline for applying to this program, funding is limited. Completed applications for eligible customers will be processed in the order received and any available credit will be applied to the next bill, stated Utilities Kingston in the release.

Utilities Kingston natural gas and electricity customers can apply online at https://utilitieskingston.com/Accounts/CEAPSB

CEAP-SB Eligibility

The purpose of CEAP-SB is to support those small business and registered charity customers who have fallen behind in their bill payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses are eligible for this program if they meet certain criteria, including the following:

  1. The small business or registered charity did not have any overdue amounts on its electricity bill on March 17, 2020, the date of the Provincial Declaration of Emergency.
  2. As of the date of application, the small business or registered charity has any overdue amounts owing from at least two electricity bills since March 17, 2020.
  3. The small business or registered charity was required to close its premises to members of the public for regular operations for at least fifteen days as a result of a government order or an inability to adapt your business or charity to comply with public health recommendations.  “Closed” means that the small business or registered charity was unable to maintain regular operations as a result of government order or health recommendations that required them to either fully close operations, limit access to their premises or limit the services provided or available to the public.

CEAP-SB funding is not available for multiple storefronts or locations that are registered to the same business or charitable number, and CEAP-SB funding is only available from your electricity provider once, the release read. If the business has natural gas service, apply separately for natural gas CEAP-SB support through your natural gas utility.

Examples of eligible small business and charitable organizations, according to the release:

  • Personal services (e.g., hair salon, chiropractor) that had to fully close.
  • A restaurant or coffee shop that had to close regular dining operations and provided only takeaway or delivery service.
  • A small fashion retailer or pet store whose premises was closed to the public but was able to provide contactless curbside pick for customers.
  • A non-publicly funded registered charity whose premises was closed to the public but was able to adapt to provide limited services remotely.

Learn about benefit amounts and the complete eligibility criteria, and get answers to frequently asked questions, from the Ontario Energy Board website at https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/covid-19-energy-assistance-programs/covid-19-energy-assistance-program-small

Help for residential customers

Utilities Kingston stated they are also accepting applications for CEAP for residential customers.

CEAP residential provides a one-time, on-bill credit to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers who have experienced hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The program is intended to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.  

Even if you don’t qualify for the assistance program for small business, you may still qualify for the residential program. Apply on the Utilities Kingston website today: https://utilitieskingston.com/

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