New rules for electricity retailers in Ontario will help “clean up the industry” and provide consumers with better information and protection, Energy Minister Brad Duguid said yesterday.

The government has been getting far too many complaints about unscrupulous energy retailers, so new rules kick in next year to make the industry more responsive to consumers’ concerns, said Duguid.

“I’m frankly tired of receiving 100 to 150 calls a week to the Ontario Energy Board with complaints against the practices of energy retailers when it comes to sales,” he said in an interview. “It’s time to put an end to that, and as of Jan. 1, there will be rules in place that will ensure that that will no longer take place in Ontario.”

Many complaints stemmed from the fact consumers believed the private retailer was affiliated with their local utility and thought the contract would guarantee prices lower than the utility charged.

Direct Energy, one of the largest energy retailers in the province, said all energy sellers must be as transparent and responsive as possible.

“We know that consumers want more from their energy providers. That’s why we are committed to ensuring they are fully informed about their energy choices,” said Tanis Kozak, Direct Energy’s general manager for Canada.

Progressive Conservative critic John Yakabuski says the Liberals are unveiling the new rules now because of all the heat over rising power bills.?

“They want to be seen as protecting consumers, because it’s the consumer that has been taking it on the chin from these guys for the past several months,” said Yakabuski.