06/03/2015 06:10 EDT | Updated 06/03/2016 05:59 EDT

Ontario to ban door-to-door energy marketers

Relief could be on the way for Ontarians fed up with being sold energy contracts on their doorsteps.

The Liberals said Tuesday they hope to ban door-to-door energy retailers through the Strengthening Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act. It says the legislation will provide "stronger compliance and enforcement tools, including increased penalties to companies that do not comply with Ontario Energy Board rules and directions."

Another amendment includes increasing the cooling-off period for energy contracts to 20 days,

The Electricity Distributors Association (EDA), which represents local electrical utilities, welcomed the proposal.  

"Local utilities deal with countless complaints from customers who feel they have been misled at the door," the EDA's Raymond Tracey said. "As a group, we have long advocated that the government take action on eliminating fixed rate retailer contracts for residential customers.

"It is evident that the government has heard from customers and is taking action on a number of our recommendations, such as the banning of door-to-door retailers, stricter parameters around contract verification, a longer cooling-off period, and higher penalties."

Communities in Texas, Alabama, New York and Idaho have enacted bans or restrictions on door-to-door sales, licensing requirements or have strengthened police powers to deal with complaints. Others have enacted "no knock" registries, which operate like do-not-call lists.