Toronto, ON, Canada --- (METERING.COM) --- August 17, 2009 - The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has issued an order on the installation of smart submetering systems in Ontario residential and commercial complexes by landlords and other “exempt distributors”.

Under the order the use of smart submetering systems is only permissible with the written consent of tenants, and meters must be installed by a licensed smart submetering provider. In addition in the case of residential tenants, the order states that the written consent must be voluntary and informed and that prior to the consent being obtained the tenants must have been provided with an energy audit conducted by an independent third party. Further, they should be provided with additional details such as a corresponding rent reduction.

The effect of the Board’s decision is that smart submetering of residential and commercial complexes was not authorized if the smart submetering system was installed prior to the decision and on or after November 3, 2005. It does, however, recognize existing written consent in the case of commercial complexes given at the time the tenant leased the property.

The Board initiated the proceeding on smart submetering of residential and commercial complexes after it emerged that systems were being installed that hadn’t been authorized and many complaints were being received from tenants with respect to the implementation of these systems. Among these were that the terms and conditions were not always clear and that rent reductions offered by landlords were far smaller than the new electricity bill tenants were being asked to pay.

The order is aimed to put in place measures to enable the installation of smart submetering systems to continue in the period prior to the enactment of regulations – expected later this year – by the minister of energy and infrastructure.

The Board says the terms and conditions of its order are thought to provide reasonable protection for the legitimate interests of all affected persons.

“In the Board’s view, reasonable protection will be achieved through written consent, which is both informed and voluntary, by tenant consumers.”

Smart submetering had previously been authorized for Ontario condominiums, which have a different management responsibility to those of residential complexes.