Customers Credit Policy

1. Application

1.1. This policy applies to all customers of Alectra Utilities Corporation (Alectra).

2. Purpose

2.1. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all customers are treated in a non-discriminatory manner in the management of credit risk within a credit policy framework that is compliant with all applicable statutes and regulations, including the Ontario Energy Board’s (“OEB”) Retail Settlement Code, Standard Supply Service Code, and the Distribution System Code.

3. Policy Statement

3.1. This policy describes the method of calculating, and terms related to, security deposit requirements for commercial customers. Alectra may be required to collect, use, or disclose personal information in order to establish or maintain electric service accounts. All customer information is collected and retained in accordance with Alectra’s Privacy Policy. A copy of this policy will be available on the website.

4. Related Work Procedures and Work Instructions

4.1. Definitions

Local Distribution Company (LDC)

A Local Distribution Company (LDC) is a company regulated by the OEB that is responsible for the distribution of electricity for a defined service area.

Ontario Energy Board (OEB) 

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is the provincial government agency responsible for LDC regulation.

Commercial Customer

A Commercial Customer is defined as any customer other than a residential customer as defined by the OEB.

Condominium Corporation

A customer which:

  1. is a condominium corporation within the meaning of the Condominium Act, 1998;
  2. has an account with Alectra that relates (i) to a condominium building that is comprised predominantly of units used for residential purposes and (ii) to more than one unit in the property; and
  3. has filed with Alectra the approved OEB form self-declaring itself as a corporation within the meaning of the Condominium Act, 1998.

New Customer

A new customer is defined as a customer who has not had an account with Alectra.

Good Payment History (GPH)

A Good Payment History is maintained by not having any of the events outlined in Section4.10 occur within the time period established for each customer class in Appendix A, B or C

Security Deposit

A security deposit is a calculated amount as outlined in Section 4.3 which is retained and is provided in the form of cash, money order, cheque, or an automatically renewing Irrevocable Letter of Credit from a bank as defined in the Bank Act, 1991 c.46 at the discretion of the customer.

Interruption of Service Notice

An Interruption of Service Notice is a formal letter delivered by mail or in person to the customer by Alectra advising the customer of an overdue amount owing. If this amount is not paid within a specific time period as allowed by the OEB, the electric service may be disconnected for nonpayment of account.

Disconnection/Collection Trip

A Disconnection/Collection Trip is a visit to a customer’s premises by an employee or agent of Alectra to obtain payment of an outstanding and overdue amount or to disconnect electricity to a customer that has failed to make payment of an overdue amount.

Returned Item

A returned item is defined as any method of payment offered by a bank to a customer for payment of its account, including a cheque, pre-authorized payment, credit card payment, or any other form of electronic payment that has not been honoured by the bank and has been returned to Alectra. A returned item includes: a stop payment that has been placed on the item; insufficient funds to permit Alectra from obtaining payment; or the bank indicates that the funds have not otherwise been cleared for payment to Alectra.

4.2 Security Deposit Requirement

A security deposit must be provided to Alectra by all customers that do not qualify for a security deposit exemption, as described below.

Exemptions:

  • 4.2.1 Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments, their agencies and their guarantees.
  • 4.2.2 School Boards.
  • 4.2.3 All new customers that have a GPH for the time period specified in Appendix A, B or C with Alectra, another LDC, or a Gas Utility in Canada are exempt from a security deposit requirement. If a customer is claiming an exemption due to a GPH with a utility other than Alectra, the customer must provide a letter from that utility documenting and attesting to a satisfactory payment history for the same legal entity, where some of the time period which makes up the GPH has occurred in the previous 24 months. This exemption continues to apply as long as the condition continues to be met.
  • 4.2.4 All existing customers that maintain a GPH for the time period specified in Appendix A, B or C with Alectra.
  • 4.2.5 A customer, other than a customer in a > 5,000kW demand rate class, provides a satisfactory credit check from a nationally recognized credit bureau, made at the customer’s expense. The credit bureau report must be for a period within the past six months. Alternatively, Alectra can arrange for a credit bureau report at the customer’s expense.
  • 4.2.6 Residential electricity customers.
  • 4.2.7 Condominium Corporations.
4.3 Amount of Security Deposit

The amount of the security deposit will be determined by the following:

  • 4.3.1 For a monthly billed customer: The amount of security deposit is calculated as the average monthly bill over the most recent 12-month period pro-rated over 75 days (2.5 times the average monthly bill). Where 12 months of actual consumption for the customer is not available, Alectra will use a reasonable estimate for the average monthly bill.
  • 4.3.2 Where an existing customer is facing a security deposit requirement resulting from losing a GPH as defined under Section 4.10, the amount of security deposit requirement will be calculated on the highest monthly bill occurring in the last 12 months pro-rated over 75 days.
  • 4.3.3 Alectra may review the amount of security deposit no less than on an annual basis and may alter this amount if necessary, based upon the following criteria:
    1. Lack of maintenance of a GPH;
    2. Anniversary of service installation;
    3. A deterioration of the customer’s credit rating under Appendix B and C, Section 2.2;
    4. A significant change in consumption by a customer that would result in a different amount computed under 4.3.1 or 4.3.2. The amount of the security deposit will be adjusted based on the new calculation.
4.4 Reduction/Waiver of Security Deposit Requirement

A new customer may qualify for a security deposit reduction or waiver due as a result of meeting conditions specified in Appendix A, B or C.

Note: All customers who qualify for a security deposit exemption must maintain a GPH as defined by this policy or be subject to a credit review.

4.5 Interest on Security Deposit

Interest shall accrue monthly on security deposits provided in the form of cash, credit card, money order, or cheque commencing on receipt of the total security deposit required by Alectra. The interest rate shall be at the Prime Business Rate as published on the Bank of Canada website less two percent (zero if negative), updated quarterly. The interest accrued to December 31st of each year shall be applied to the first bill of the following calendar year or upon return of the security deposit or closure of the account, whichever comes first, and will be paid by crediting the account. A refund cheque for any credit amount of interest will be issued only to those customers that do not have a current account with Alectra and following the rendering and full payment of a final bill.

4.6 Payment of Security Deposit

Should a security deposit be required, a commercial customer may pay the security deposit on the next/first bill in full. Customers may elect to provide security deposits in equal installments over four months or less.

4.7 Return of Security Deposit

All commercial customers with a security deposit, upon establishing a GPH as defined in this policy, are eligible to request a security deposit refund. All security deposit requirements will be reviewed no less than annually. All other security deposit adjustments including refunds due to a GPH will appear on the customer’s next bill. In extenuating circumstances and at the sole discretion of Alectra, a customer may request that all or a portion of the security deposit be applied to the customer’s account to offset current balances without impacting the customer’s GPH. Where Alectra approves the security deposit to be applied to the customer’s account, the deposit will be recalculated based on current charges as described in section 4.3 and the deposit will be re-assessed to future bills over a period not to exceed four months. When the customer is closing an account, the security deposit will be applied to the account and any credit balance will result in a cheque or EFT refund to the customer, provided such balance is not less than $10.00.

4.8 Other Charges

The customer is responsible to pay other related charges, including: late payment interest charges; returned item charges; disconnection and reconnection charges; and other charges as approved by the OEB.

4.9 Collection Procedures

Customers with overdue accounts, in addition to having to pay a security deposit, will be subject to the standard collection procedures of Alectra including: notices of late payment; interest charges on overdue payments; collection agency activity; notification of credit bureaus; and termination of service as appropriate. Service may be terminated for nonpayment of any overdue balance after written notice has been given.

4.10 Losing a Good Payment History (GPH)

The customer will no longer qualify as a customer with a GPH and may be subject to an immediate security deposit review if any of the following events occur:

  1. When a customer receives more than one Interruption of Service Notice within the time period specified in Appendix A, B or C;
  2. When Alectra receives more than one returned cheque or returned pre-authorized payment for insufficient funds within the time period specified in Appendix A, B or C, providing the returned item was not the result of a bank error;
  3. When a Disconnection/Collection Trip at the service location is required;
  4. When there is a change in control or other change in the customer’s ownership structure, including mergers or acquisitions; or
  5. When Alectra is directed, pursuant to an order under bankruptcy or court protection afforded under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), to render a final bill on the account of a customer and establish a new customer account for billing purposes. The new customer account will be deemed a new customer under this Policy.

5. Forms and Related Documents

Alectra Conditions of Service:

https://www.alectrautilities.com/conditions-service

THIS CREDIT POLICY MAY BE CHANGED BY ALECTRA IN ITS SOLE DISCRETION FROM TIME TO TIME. OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS MAY APPLY. PLEASE CONSULT AN ALECTRA CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE FOR FURTHER DETAILS.

Appendix A

1.0 Scope

1.1 This Appendix to the Alectra commercial customers credit policy applies to customers in the General Service <50kW demand rate class.

2.0 Reduction Of Security Deposit Requirement

2.1 A new customer that does not qualify for an exemption under Section 4.2.1, 4.2.2, 4.2.3 or 4.2.5, but enrolls in a pre-authorized payment plan will be eligible for a 35% reduction in the security deposit amount calculation. This option is only available to those new customers that do not have a payment history with a utility and have yet to establish a credit score with a credit bureau.

3.0 Time Period To Maintain A Good Payment History

3.1 For the purposes of sections 4.2.3, 4.2.4, 4.10(a) and 4.10(b) of this policy, the time period applicable to customers in the General Service < 50kW demand rate class is three (3) years.

Appendix B

1.0 Scope

1.1 This Appendix to the Alectra commercial customers credit policy applies to customers in the General Service >50 kW to 4,999kW demand rate class

2.0 Reduction Of Security Deposit Requirement

2.1 A new customer that does not qualify for an exemption under Section 4.2.1, 4.2.2, 4.2.3 or 4.2.5, but enrolls in a pre-authorized payment plan will be eligible for a 35% reduction in the security deposit amount calculation. This option is only available to those new customers that do not have a payment history with a utility and have yet to establish a credit score with a credit bureau.

2.2 Where a customer has a credit rating from a recognized credit rating agency, the maximum amount of a security deposit which the distributor may require the customer to pay shall be reduced in accordance with the following table:

Credit Rating Reduction in (Using Standard & Poor’s Rating Terminology) Security Deposit

AAA- and above or equivalent

100%

AA-, AA, AA+ or equivalent

95%

A-, from A, A+ to below AA or equivalent

85%

BBB-, from BBB, BBB+ to below A or equivalent

75%

Below BBB- or equivalent

0%

Equivalent Ratings from other bond rating agencies would apply for the same reductions.

3.0 Time Period To Maintain A Payment History

3.1 For the purposes of sections 4.2.3, 4.2.4, 4.10(a) and 4.10(b) of this policy, the time period applicable to customers in any of the service classifications identified in section 1.1 of this Appendix is seven (7) years.

Appendix C

1.0 Scope

1.1 This Appendix to the Alectra commercial customers credit policy applies to customers in any of the following service classifications:

  • Large User commercial customer >5,000kw demand rate class
  • Large User commercial customer with dedicated assets
2.0 Reduction Of Security Deposit Requirement

2.1 A new customer that does not qualify for an exemption under Section 4.2.1, 4.2.2, 4.2.3 or 4.2.5, but enrolls in a pre-authorized payment plan will be eligible for a 35% reduction in the security deposit amount calculation. This option is only available to those new customers that do not have a payment history with a utility.

2.2 Where a customer has a credit rating from a recognized credit rating agency, the maximum amount of a security deposit which the distributor may require the customer to pay shall be reduced in accordance with the following table:

Credit Rating Reduction in (Using Standard & Poor’s Rating Terminology) Security Deposit

AAA- and above or equivalent

100%

AA-, AA, AA+ or equivalent

95%

A-, from A, A+ to below AA or equivalent

85%

BBB-, from BBB, BBB+ to below A or equivalent

75%

Below BBB- or equivalent

0%

Equivalent Ratings from other bond rating agencies would apply for the same reductions

2.3 Where a customer is now in a position that it would be exempt from paying a security deposit, based on a GPH, Alectra will return 50% of the security deposit held provided the deposit on file is in accordance with the deposit requirements of this Policy. In a situation where a customer’s current deposit is less than 50% of the maximum amount calculated under section 4.3 of this Policy then the deposit will not be refunded.

3.0 Time Period To Maintain A Good Payment History

3.1 For the purpose of sections 4.2.3, 4.2.4, 4.10(a) and 4.10(B) of this policy, the time period applicable to customers in any of the service classification identified in section 1.1 of the Appendix is seven (7) years.