MISSISSAUGA, Ontario - The HVAC Coalition of Ontario has agreed to a settlement that will allow contractors to have access to the Enbridge utility bill on a fee for service basis. The arrangement will present new opportunities for contractors operating in the Enbridge franchise area while eliminating Direct Energy’s exclusive access.

The new billing structure was agreed upon as part of a consultative process that also included Enbridge, Direct Energy, Union Energy/Reliance Home Comfort, consumer/ratepayer organizations, and gas commodity retailers.

This consultative process was established by Enbridge as a response to the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB’s) decision in January 2006, which ordered the utility to either develop a new billing structure that could accommodate the whole industry in a “non-discriminatory” fashion or else remove Direct Energy from the bill.

Direct Energy will no longer have exclusive access to the bill. Contractors of any size will be permitted to put certain customer payments, e.g., service contracts or financed purchases on the utility bill for a nominal monthly, per transaction fee of 83 cents for shared bills and $1.39 for stand-alone bills. Contractors do not have to sign on to the Energy Link program in order to have access to the bill. The billing service will also allow contractors to include logos and bill messaging at no charge, “to facilitate entry of new users and help consumers differentiate the various parties with amounts billed on the EGD bill.” Also included in the transaction price is a 99.5 percent collection guarantee.

The agreement will place some restrictions on the ability of Enbridge Gas Distribution’s new affiliate, Enbridge Solutions Inc., to access the bill.

The settlement also includes a stipulation that the whole arrangement must be reviewed in two years before the OEB to see if it is functioning in a fair and equitable manner.

For more information, contact Martin Luymes at 800-267-2231 or e-mail mluymes@hrai.ca.

Publication date:03/12/2007