Stateside Energy Issues Worry Canadian Contractors

June 20, 2001
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KELOWNA, BC, Canada — “Energy Deregulation and the New Breed of Energy Retailers” sounds like a topic at most contractor conventions in the United States. But it is also a topic in Canada.

“Energy service companies are emerging out of the process of deregulation,” was a statement from one of the sponsors of a series of seminars on the topic in Canada. In promoting such programs, sponsors ask, “Will electricity deregulation generate new energy for the hvac sector, or will it send a shock wave from which the industry might find it difficult to recover?”

Among names of some of the new energy retailers in Canada are Toronto Hydro Energy Services, Centrica/Direct Energy, Enwin Energy Services, and Enersource/ Hydro Mississauga.

The topic is also catching on in the consumer press. While in Kelowna, BC, for a recent Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) Canada conference, attendees noted a headline in the business section of the local newspaper: “Power Shock in Alberta.”

“The province [Alberta] with ‘no problems’ and the ‘everything is rosy’ attitude is burdened with a $3 billion tab and there is nothing it can do about it,” wrote columnist John Thomson. “The combination of the deregulated power industry and the fast-rising cost of energy has resulted in major problems.”

He continued, “Albertans are paying a premium because of the competition for electricity in a crazy power market.” Then to bring the message home to his home province of British Columbia, he wrote, “B.C. Hydro was trying to tell our government that profits might not be in the books this year if it has to go to the open market to buy power.”


In statistics involving equipment shipments, the Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI) of Canada, an association of hvacr manufacturers, wholesalers, and contractors, reported on the following figures and trends from a March 7, 2001 report:

  • Commercial air conditioning shipments increased 20%, from 10,641 in the fourth quarter of 1999 to 13,291 in the fourth quarter of 2000. Year-to-date shipments decreased 4%, from 44,496 at the end of 1999 to 42,744 at the end of 2000.
  • Residential air conditioning shipments decreased 28%, from 19,144 in the fourth quarter of 1999 to 13,853 in the fourth quarter of 2000. Year-to-date shipments decreased 2%, from 220,264 at the end of 1999 to 215,352 at the end of 2000.
  • Residential furnace shipments increased 28%, from 68,403 in the fourth quarter of 1999 to 87,748 in the fourth quarter of 2000. Year-to-date shipments increased 10%, from 227,398 at the end of 1999 to 250,186 at the end of 2000.
  • Unit heater shipments decreased 7%, from 14,987 in the fourth quarter of 1999 to 13,933 in the fourth quarter of 2000. Year-to-date shipments decreased 1%, from 40,137 at the end of 1999 to 39,598 at the end of 2000.
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