Getting a deal from one of our utility providers is such a rare and glorified thing that I’m departing from my usual editorial rant to share a positive experience. Boomers and other seniors are not the only ones who need utility services that are reliable, efficient, and economical. Everyone does.
The last time we were cut some slack was during COVID when Ontario Hydro (or whatever they call themselves these days—I can’t keep track) was ordered by the Ontario Government to dispense with the peak usage surcharges for electricity. That little gesture alone allowed me to do laundry or run the dishwasher whenever I damn well felt like it rather than restricting my chores to the middle of the night or Sundays.
For several years, we have subscribed to a maintenance protection contract with Enercare (the gas company formerly known as Enbridge or Direct Energy—not to be confused with Enersource/Alectra the electrical utility formerly known as Ontario Hydro. It’s a full-time job keeping their name changes straight).
Our home is about fourteen years old and we still had the original furnace, air conditioner, and water heater installed by the builder. A few weeks ago we arranged for a technician to conduct a regular maintenance check on our air conditioner.
While he was here the technician suggested we were due for a new water heater but not to worry because our water tank was a rental so replacement would not cost us anything. He recommended we consider replacing our furnace because it was showing signs of reaching the end of its life. Fortunately, the air conditioner seemed to be in good shape.
After this assessment, the service technician suggested a visit from one of Enercare’s sales associates about perhaps replacing our furnace. You can imagine our skepticism when a utility suggests we update our equipment. One of our neighbours whose house is the same age as ours replaced his HVAC system a couple of years ago for about $20,000.00 Ouch! We had visions of thousands of dollars flying out the window for something that perhaps still had a few good years of life remaining. As seniors, we are a demographic susceptible to unnecessary services and upselling.
For the privilege of having a worry-free on-call maintenance protection plan for our old furnace and air conditioner which we owned, and rental of our water heater we were previously paying a monthly fee totalling nearly $70.00 on top of our monthly usage.
Despite being convinced we were being sold a potential bill of goods, we accepted an appointment with Enercare’s sales rep. The ensuing visit and sales pitch changed our minds and no one is more shocked than we are.
Too good to be true?
In return for installing a new more energy-efficient furnace, a new air conditioner, and a new efficient, on-demand water heater, we signed a contract for a deal that we still find hard to believe. We now rent all three for a total monthly fee of approximately $100.00 and we no longer require the $70.00 monthly maintenance fee. There was no upfront charge.
This rental fee is guaranteed for five years and we have the option of buying the equipment at any time for the depreciated value. If we sell the house, the rental agreement is transferrable, or the new owner has the option of buying the equipment at the depreciated value.
To sweeten the deal, Enercare threw in some additional benefits:
- The first four months of the contract are free, a saving of $400.00.
- We receive free duct-cleaning, valued at about $400.00.
- Enercare gifts us a $1,200.00 Mastercard gift card. That will buy a lot of wine, or we can consider it as equivalent to a year’s rental fees on our services.
- If anything goes wrong with any of our equipment, service, maintenance, and replacement costs are covered by Enercare because we are renting it all.
Within two weeks of signing our contract, the technicians installed all our new equipment. They were friendly, efficient, knowledgeable, and left no mess afterward. The new on-demand water heater is the size of a suitcase attached to the wall beside the new furnace. It provides hot water just as quickly as our large old tank and is designed to be more energy efficient.
As seniors, the security of knowing that our HVAC equipment will be maintained and replaced if necessary at no additional cost has given us enormous peace of mind. The fact that this has been accomplished at an amazing price is a bonus. If and when we sell the house, we also have the advantage of being able to include in the listing “New rental furnace, A/C, and on-demand water heater installed in 2023”. Now all we have to do is figure out how to use all the features of our new thermostat which we’re pretty sure can also calculate our income taxes.
This treatment by Enercare is especially sweet because we feel we have been recently screwed by Peel Region Water and Wastewater. Over the winter, when our monthly bills usually average about $100.00 per month, we were charged $3,000.00 total for November, December, and January, and a further $1,000.00 for February, March, and April. For most of that time, we were out of the country and our water was shut off.
An appeal brought a representative to the house who insisted we had left a toilet running, even though the water was turned off and they insisted their meter was operating properly. There were no leaks and our irrigation system was shut off as well. Try negotiating with a bureaucracy! Unless we were prepared to dig a well in our back yard or run a hose to pump water from the Credit River to our house, we were forced to pay the bill.
So, the deal from Enercare was really appreciated. Ordinarily, I would now go about my life enjoying my new HVAC services and equipment and that would be the end of the story. However, I received a followup email from Enercare enquiring whether I was happy with their offer and our new equipment. HELL, YES! They also threw in a little incentive. For any successful referrals, I would receive up to $100.00.
So, I decided to share our great deal with readers of BoomerBroadcast. Do the math, perhaps meet with a representative of Enercare, then make your own decision based on what works best for you and your budget. We’re located in Mississauga, Ontario (Canada) and I’m not sure how far this offer reaches, but I thought I’d make you aware of it. The service we received was far and above what we ever expected.
For more information, here’s the email: email@example.com
Just tell them, Lynda sent you.