Alberta Utilities Commission Winter Utility Reconnection Program (WURP)
If your electricity or natural gas services are disconnected, we can help. The Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA), in partnership with the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), utility retailers and distributors, and other government agencies, such as Alberta Works and AISH, contacts customers with disconnected utilities to help get them reconnected before the cold weather hits.
According to the Distribution Tariff Regulation (which is part of the Electric Utilities Act), electricity services can't be fully disconnected between October 15th and April 15th. Natural gas services can’t be fully disconnected between November 1st and April 15th. As well, distribution companies cannot disconnect service at any other time when the temperature is forecast to be below 0 degrees Celsius in the 24-hour period immediately following the proposed disconnection. In these cases, a limiter can be installed on your meter. If your account remains unpaid through the winter rules period, the distribution company will remove the limiter and fully disconnect your services in the spring. Please note the Winter Rules do not apply to commercial meters.
Learn more about utilities disconnection and load limiting devices
Know Your Options
While the UCA is unable to provide financial assistance, we may be able to mediate payment arrangements with your retailer or provide referrals to agencies that can help. Contact one of our Mediation Officers for more information. You also can contact your retailer directly to set up a payment arrangement, or to report any payments you have made.
How does the UCA help?
Around November 1st, all regulated retailers send the UCA the names and information of customers whose service(s) was disconnected after April 15th, and remains disconnected as of November 1st. If you're identified as a customer with disconnected services during this period, the UCA follows this process:
- We try to contact you first by mail, then by phone
- We may share your information with social agencies such as Alberta Works, AISH and seniors’ organizations who may help with payment
- In extreme situations, we may request a site visit
- If we can't contact you after three tries, your file will be closed
Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA) Regulation
We can be an effective mediator for Albertans whose electricity or gas needs to be reconnected.
How does the Regulation help?
Vulnerable customers —such as the elderly or physically challenged—are especially at risk if they are disconnected and cannot heat their homes during the winter. This Regulation gives the UCA authority to indirectly collect, use and share customer information to retain or restore utility service, or resolve disputes.
Can the UCA help anyone who is at risk of losing power or gas?
The UCA can help any consumers with non-commercial accounts.
Will my utility company work with UCA?
All regulated utility retailers support the Winter Utility Reconnection Program. They work with the UCA throughout the year to resolve disputes and keep power and gas turned on.
How is my information shared?
Retailers share the following customer information with the UCA:
- Type of disconnected utility (e.g. electricity or natural gas)
- Your name, account number, phone number, service and mailing address
- Additional contacts that may be on the account and their phone number(s) if available
- Date services were disconnected and the total charges still owing
Why is my information shared?
With your information, the UCA can try to:
- Assist you if you’ve been disconnected at the start of winter
- Mediate a potential resolution with your energy service provider
- Offer to help arrange for reconnection of service, if possible
- Provide financial assistance information if needed
Is my information safe?
Yes. The UCA can use your information only to help you keep or reconnect your power or gas, or to settle disputes. Alberta law requires all parties to protect personal information.
Can I contact the Utilities Consumer Advocate directly?
Phone: 310-4822 (In Alberta)
Phone: 780-644-5130 (Outside Alberta)