Meeting Archive:
Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) Webinar: Exploring an Electricity Affordability Program for Ontario's Low-Income Consumers

Meeting Description:
With electricity bills projected to increase by 46% from 2010-2015, low-income residential consumers in Ontario (about 733,000 households) may face housing affordability problems and could be forced to make difficult spending decisions such as paying for heat or food. To proactively address this looming crisis, LIEN’s consultant Roger Colton, a U.S. based expert on low-income energy issues, has developed a ratepayer-funded electricity rate affordability program along with a cost estimate for delivering it to Ontario’s low-income consumers.

LIEN has renewed its efforts to advocate for such a program and is working to build public awareness about, and support for, this proposal. The webinar will begin with an overview of LIEN’s advocacy activities and culminate with a detailed presentation of the electricity rate affordability program.
Date: Thu, Feb 21, 2013
Time: 12:00 PM EST
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Host(s): LIEN, Roger Colton and Fiona MacCool
 Presenter Information
Roger Colton
Speaker Photo

Roger Colton is a partner in the firm Fisher, Sheehan & Colton, Public Finance and General Economics (FSC) of Belmont, Massachusetts.  An attorney and an economist, Roger engages in legal and technical research, program design and program evaluation. His work on helping to design, implement and fund low-income affordability programs has been with state and local governments; with the US federal government; with natural gas, electric and water utilities; and with a variety of community-based organizations in more than 35 states and five Canadian provinces.

Roger authors the annual Home Energy Affordability Gap, which calculates the dollar difference between actual home energy bills and affordable home energy bills on a county-by-county basis for the entire United States.  In 2003, he created the Home Energy Insecurity Scale for the US federal LIHEAP office, a tool for measuring the outcomes of energy assistance programs that is being incorporated into program evaluation nationwide.

Fiona MacCool
Speaker Photo

Fiona MacCool is the Project Manager of Your Legal Rights, a website of legal information for people in Ontario. A project of CLEO, Your Legal Rights is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario. For over 14 years, Fiona has worked as an IT project manager, software trainer, and web content developer. A "non-techie" at heart, Fiona is passionate about helping non-profit organizations take advantage of the cost-efficient and time-saving power of the Internet to support community partnerships, share resources, and make a difference.

Mary Todorow
Mary Todorow is a research/policy analyst with the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO), a specialty legal clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario.  ACTO serves province-wide to improve the housing situation of Ontario’s low-income residents (including tenants, co-op members and the homeless) by engaging in test case litigation and law reform.  ACTO is one of the founding members of the Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) and is represented on LIEN’s steering committee. Prior to joining ACTO, Mary was a policy officer with the Municipal Electric Association (now the Electricity Distributors Association).  She has also been an advocate in the non-profit co-operative housing sector, and worked at Queen’s Park for over 20 years in a variety of positions both in opposition and for government.

Zee Bhanji

Zee has been the Coordinator of the Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) for the past 7 years. She has a B.A. from McGill University and an M.A. from Dalhousie University. Before she became involved in energy and environment issues, Zee coordinated research projects in the areas of equity, youth and women. Zee has also worked in Kenya doing community development work and research in poverty and health.