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  • Deregulation – Does it Benefit Ontario Homeowners?

Ontario_Energy_businessIn 1985, Ontario’s natural gas industry was deregulated, allowing private businesses to market and sell natural gas. In 2002, the Ontario government began a partial deregulation of electricity pending new legislation.  Everyone has their own opinion on what this means for Ontario homeowners, with critics on both sides. Is deregulation better for homeowners, or for businesses?

What Is Deregulation?

Deregulation is a policy of taking ownership of utilities or services and opening them up to the market, which offered consumers more than one option to get access to these products. It’s practiced worldwide by small and large economies alike to fix inherent problems with a market.

The economic facts of deregulation can be confusing for many people, as it works on a much higher level of state economics than it does on a local or personal level. Deregulation is primarily designed to correct markets where too little competition has created unnatural or uncapitalistic frameworks. In principle, deregulation breaks up monopolies on certain services.

One large advantage that deregulated utilities has offered Ontario homeowners is a greater range of options for getting your utilities. Homeowners no longer had to buy from the only provider that was allowed to operate in their neighborhood. They can now purchase from any  number of gas or electricity brokers.

Under a deregulated market, homeowners now have the benefit of businesses competing for business and, in turn, offering  potentially lower prices. With it also comes product packages and plans that reflects a growing demand for specific solutions to specific needs.

At the same time, deregulation has allowed for a much higher degree of innovation. In the early 2000s, we saw a decreasing interest from the federal government in Green Initiatives, and it reflected in a lack of progress in creating Green solutions for Ontario homeowners.

Its smaller businesses and gas providers who have ushered in a new generation of Greener products, which has helped promote and raise awareness for environmental sustainability in the province at large.

On the other hand, deregulation has opened up the market to micro-providers which operate less-than-legitimate deals with unclear terms. While the Ontario Energy Board and like minded consumer advocates and regulators are hard at work to crack down on scammers and consumer unrest, it helps to be aware of the new challenges that deregulation have presented Ontario homeowners.

With great deals always comes a catch. Deregulation has helped ease financial burdens for homeowners in Ontario, but also has opened the floodgates for shady competition. As businesses compete to offer better service to consumers: keep a sharp eye out for the ones who want a little more.

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