MISSISSAUGA, ON, Canada — Ontario will see energy deregulation by the fall of 2000, including the end of a 90-year electricity monopoly by public utility Ontario Hydro.

According to the Independent Electricity Market Operator (IMO), there are still some obstacles but it appears that deregulation is on schedule.

“We recognize that some parties may not be ready but the lights have to stay on and customers have to be served,” said IMO ceo David Goulding.

One Ontario contractor is voicing his concern over the impact that deregulation will have on customers in his market area. Roger Grochmal is president of Atlas Air Conditioning Co. as well as president of ClimateCare, a group of independent Ontario hvac contractors.

“The overall effect [of deregulation] is that the distribution and delivery of gas has been separated from the various services that gas utilities had previously bundled in,” he said. “These includes such things as furnace insurance plans, water heater rentals, financing on gas bills, and sales of appliances.

“The immediate impact is that the utility service companies can’t meet the demand for service as many homeowners don’t know they have options. Secondly, water heaters will no longer be available as a rental.

“Deregulation will have a huge impact, especially once the electricity market is completely opened up,” he said.