MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — A new HVAC contractor organization has been formed in Alberta, Canada, to represent the interests of the industry at hearings before the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (AEUB). The Alberta HVAC Coalition is supported by the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Contractors of Canada (HRAC), the Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Alberta (SMCAA), the Mechanical Contractors Association of Alberta (MCA-Alberta), and Lennox Inc.

According to HRAC, the coalition was set up to represent industry views at hearings before the AEUB on the proposed sale and transfer of retail gas and electric assets from ATCO, the largest utility in the province, to Direct Energy Marketing Limited (DEML) for $130 million.

DEML is proposing a number of terms and conditions in the transfer agreement that are a concern for contractors. Under the agreement, DEML will have exclusive access to the utility bill, enabling the company to bill and promote products and services on an exclusive basis to over 1 million ATCO customers.

Also, the content of the billing envelope is to be excluded from the requirements of the Code of Conduct that applies to the utility, which would have prevented the preferential direction of leads to any one company. Finally, DEML will have exclusive access to the ATCO trademarks.

The HVAC Coalition has also found allies within the Alberta Urban Municipality Association, the city of Calgary, and the Consumers Coalition of Alberta. The coalition believes the proposed deal, as currently structured, could hinder the development of competitive marketplace.

For more information, visit www.hrai.ca.

Publication date: 09/22/2003