Competition Bureau Strengthens Competition in Ontario’s Water Heater Industry
Resolutions require Reliance to pay $5M penalty and put an end to anti-competitive conduct by Reliance and Direct Energy
November 6, 2014 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau
The Competition Bureau has reached resolutions with Reliance Comfort Limited Partnership (Reliance) and EnerCare Inc., the company that acquired Direct Energy Marketing Limited’s Home and Small Commercial Services (Direct Energy) business in October, which strengthen competition and consumer choice in Ontario’s residential water heater industry.
The Bureau filed applications with the Competition Tribunal against Reliance and Direct Energy in 2012 alleging that they had implemented anti-competitive water heater return policies and procedures that were aimed at preventing consumers from switching to competitors. As a result of these anti-competitive practices, many customers had little choice but to continue their rental agreements even if they wanted to purchase a new water heater or switch to another rental provider. This is an especially important issue for consumers who wish to purchase new water heaters, instead of continuing to pay rental fees, as there can be substantial savings.
Reliance Pays $5 Million Administrative Monetary Penalty
Under the terms of a consent agreement registered today with the Tribunal, Reliance will pay an administrative monetary penalty (AMP) of $5 million and contribute $500,000 to the Bureau’s investigative costs. Reliance must also take certain steps to make it easier for customers to terminate their rental agreements and return their water heaters to Reliance. The consent agreement will be available on the Competition Tribunal’s website shortly.
Commitments from EnerCare
After learning of EnerCare’s plans to acquire Direct Energy’s water heater rental business in Ontario, the Bureau approached EnerCare in order to reach a resolution that would put an end to Direct Energy’s anti-competitive policies and practices following the completion of the transaction. EnerCare was not the subject of the Bureau’s application regarding Direct Energy’s practices and has not engaged in any anti-competitive behaviour. However, given its acquisition of Direct Energy’s water heater rental business, the Bureau has obtained written commitments from EnerCare that put an end to Direct Energy’s anti-competitive behaviours.
While Reliance and EnerCare have cooperated with the Bureau, the Bureau’s litigation against Direct Energy is continuing before the Tribunal. The Bureau is seeking an order that includes, among other things, an AMP of $15 million. The hearing is currently scheduled to begin on March 2, 2015.
Further information about the resolutions with Reliance and EnerCare is available in the Fact Sheet.
“Today’s announcement will promote improved competition in the water heater industry in Ontario by ensuring that consumers can more easily purchase a new water heater or switch to a different rental provider. I am pleased that Reliance and EnerCare have agreed to put an end to the restrictive practices. In particular, we welcome the cooperative approach EnerCare immediately adopted to resolve our concerns. These agreements are a good demonstration of the benefits to the market place when businesses work with the Bureau to resolve competition concerns.”
Commissioner of Competition
Competition Bureau Strengthens Competition in Ontario’s Water Heater Industry
This has absolutely zero to do with inspections.
why post this?
Consumer Alert – Hot Water Heater Rentals
Many consumers in Ontario are tempted to rent a new water heater from door-to-door salespeople who offer deals that sound too good to pass up.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services asks consumers to beware – complaints about water heater rental businesses have gone up significantly over the past year. Most of these complaints are about unclear or misleading contracts.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Don’t sign on the spot. If the salesperson pressures you to sign on the spot, insist you need more time to read the contract, including the fine print.
Get it in writing. Ask about the rental fees, installation, repair and extra service charges and promises, such as warranties – and insist on getting these details in writing.
Ask for identification. Ask for photo identification, the name of the company the salesperson works for and to keep a copy of any sales material that the salesperson shows you.
Be sure before you buy. Once you agree to have a water heater installed in your home, you will have to pay some costs if you change your mind. These costs include:
· The rental payments still due when you terminate.
· The expenses the rental company has to pay to remove the water heater.
· Charges for unreasonable or excessive wear or use of the water heater.
Ontario’s [FONT=“Verdana”]Consumer Protection Act protects consumers who rent water heaters. Before you rent, be aware of your rights. [/FONT]
You have the right to [FONT=“Verdana”]cancel a contract if:[/FONT]
- You change your mind – for any reason – within 10 days after you’ve received your written copy of the contract.
- The business or salesperson who you’ve signed your contract with has made a false, misleading or deceptive statement. In this case, you can cancel an agreement for up to one year after you signed it.
- The agreement does not meet all the requirements of Ontario’s *[FONT=“Verdana”]Consumer Protection Act. ** *In this case, you have up to one year to cancel the agreement.[/FONT]
- The contract you sign is not clear or easily understood – or doesn’t clearly disclose key information you need to know.
- You do not have clear information about your rights in the contract itself.
You should also know that when you buy a home, you may be taking on the responsibility for an existing water heater contract that comes with your home. Ask the homeowner, your real estate agent or your lawyer for more information before buying the home.
At Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, we are here to help.
Not sure about other places–but for some reason, something like 90-95% of Ontario homeowners (not condo people or apartment buildings) rent a water heater. So the conversation about what to do with their 18 year old water heater does come up during an inspection.
On a personal level I tried to get them to switch a 15yr old unit in a rental property and they were adamantly against it–these are the things your clients run into and its worthwhile having a conversation about it to educate them.
Sorry Michael I feel it has a lot to do with Inspections.
Most rental tanks do not have a tempering valve and you will get an argument from the supplier .
They are required in Ontario .
Write it up CYA so you the inspector does not have to pay to install one .
Rental water heaters are a way of life in Ontario. First time buyers are seldom aware of the rental agreements and what is entailed between ownership and rental.
No it doesn’t.
Most can see that
Sorry I do not agree with you Ontario Code requires tank water temp to be minimum 140 ° F and tap temp to be 120°f maximum .
(“Most can see that”) I do not know how you can speak for others Home Inspectors .
I have not seen one back up your statement .
You seem to think you do :roll::roll:
Nice Try Again you are wrong, I try to make sure and to only post facts
and not speak for others.
There is nothing in that story that relates to home inspectors.
Nothing at all.
It’s about competition not temperature standards.
Who requires this?
Thanks for you correction But Sorry others seem to have added more information on the subject .
I have looked close and can not see where any one has corrected my post but you .
Please look close and I am sure you might see you are wrong .
I know how much you hate to loose and expect you will say again I am wrong and you are correct .
All the best Mr. Larson you can now have the final word till I post some more facts I expect you will disagree with.
Its a Canadian legionnaire issue.
United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration](https://www.osha.gov/) .
Welcome to OSHA’s Law and Regulations page. This page contains links to all current OSHA standards, provides information on the rulemaking process used to develop workplace health and safety standards, and includes links to all Federal Register notices that are currently open for comment. This page also provides links to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) and other relevant laws. Finally, this page includes resources to explore the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations, and RegInfo.gov the federal government’s public portal for all agency regulatory information.
Under the OSH Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. OSHA’s mission is to assure safe and healthful workplaces by setting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. Employers must comply with all applicable OSHA standards. Employers must also comply with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards.
Facts and Frequently Asked Questions
Legionellosis is a common name for one of the several illnesses caused by Legionnaires’ disease bacteria (LDB). Legionnaires’ disease is an infection of the lungs that is a form of pneumonia. A person can develop Legionnaires’ disease by inhaling water mist contaminated with LDB. LDB are widely present at low levels in the environment: in lakes, streams, and ponds.
At low levels of contamination, the chance of getting Legionnaires’ disease from a water source is very slight. The problem arises when high concentrations of the organism grow in water systems. Water heaters, cooling towers, and warm, stagnant water can provide ideal conditions for the growth of the organism.
Scientists have learned much about the disease and about LDB since it was first discovered in 1976. The following questions and answers will help you learn more of what is currently known about Legionnaires’ disease.
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However, there are some requirements:
- You have to be a home owner
- Water Heater should be rental
- Water Heater must be under the contract.