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Enercare Reviews & Complaints

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1.4
Rated 1.4 out of 5
1.4 out of 5 stars (based on 155 reviews)
Excellent7%
Very good1%
Average0%
Poor4%
Terrible88%

Bottom line

Renting a water heater, furnace or other home appliance from Enercare is similar to buying an extended warranty as it works as form of insurance. You pay more for the product upfront and get support should anything go wrong. However, it is a great moneymaker for providers and a bad deal for the majority of their customers and renting these appliances is not common practice in Canada outside of Ontario. Purchasing your own unit can result in substantial savings over time, according to the Competition Bureau.

Further reading: Is renting a water heater worth it?

Pros

  • No large up-front cost
  • Low monthly payments
  • They handle service and repairs

Cons

  • High cancellation and buyout fees
  • Many complaints about their maintenance and repair services
  • No coverage for damage caused by leaking tanks

About Enercare

Enercare installs, rents and services water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners and other HVAC products to 1.9 million customers in Canada and the US.

The company has its roots in the 1950s when the Consumers’ Gas Company of Toronto introduced rental hot water tanks. They worked with home builders to pre-install gas-powered water heaters to increase usage and reliance on natural gas as a source of fuel.

The Ontario Energy Board approved the deregulation of gas in 1992, which meant that consumers could purchase gas from companies other than their utility. IPL Energy acquired Consumers’ Gas in 1993, rebranding it Enbridge Consumers Gas in 1998. UK-based Centrica purchased Direct Energy in 2000 and acquired Enbridge Home Services in 2002. The Consumers’ Waterheater Income Fund (CWIF) was then created to house the water heater rental portfolio – had the highest earnings per employee in Canada for 4 years. The name was changed to EnerCare in 2011.

  • Enercare acquired Direct Energy’s Ontario services business in 2014.
  • Enercare acquired Service Experts – a chain of HVAC service companies in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta and 29 US states – in 2016.
  • Enercare was acquired by Brookfield Infrastructure in 2018.

Interestingly, for its size and importance, Enercare Inc. does not seem to have its own Wikipedia page.

Who owns Enercare?

Enercare is owned by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP, a US-based, publicly traded infrastructure asset management firm and subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management which manages over $600 million worth of assets. They purchased the company in a friendly takeover for $4.3 billion in 2018.

How much does it cost to rent a water heater from Enercare?

Ontario residents can rent a hot water tank from Enercare (previously Direct Energy) for $20 to $35 per month depending on the size of the tank. Tankless water heater rentals are commonly found in new builds and cost $35 to $50 per month.

In addition, the agreements stipulate that these charges are increased every year by the greater of 3.5% and CPI + 2%.

These rental agreements continue until the “end of the useful life” of the unit, which is from 10 to 20 years and an average of 16 years. At $35 per month, payments made during the agreement would add up to $4200 to $8400 – 3 to 6 times the installation cost of the tank (about $1500).

Further reading: Is renting a water heater worth it?

Enercare contract example

See: Terms & Conditions based on install date

How to cancel an Enercare water heater contract?

If your unit was installed before September 15th, 2010, you can terminate your agreement at any time with no buyout. You have to return it to them (free) or they will disconnect and remove it for you for $75.

Since 2010, Enercare has used a “buyout only, useful life” (BOULC) contract. The only termination option for a BOULC prior to the end of the water heater’s “useful life” (determined solely by Enercare and averages 16 years – ie. failure) is to purchase the unit at a price schedule determined by Enercare when the contract is concluded.

Example buyout schedule

Regulatory actions against Enercare and associated companies

2019 – Competition Bureau discontinues its investigation

The Bureau announced that it has discontinued its investigation due to “insufficient evidence” However, information gathered in the course of the inquiry indicated that the high required buyout prices, and the duration for which they were required, went substantially beyond the recovery of Enercare’s initial investment. It found that in 2018, Enercare had:

  • A market share of approximately 80% in a relevant market that includes rental gas-powered water heaters in the Enbridge Gas Territory. 
  • The ability to impose consistent price increases above the rate of inflation.
  • High internal rates of return 

2017 – Competition Bureau launches investigation into Enercare

Following the receipt of numerous customer complaints about Enercare’s water heater return policies, contracting practices, and alleged breaches of the 2014 commitments, the Bureau launched an investigation into whether Enercare Inc. violated the abuse of dominance provisions of the Competition Act.

2015 – Direct Energy pays $1 million penalty

The Bureau’s investigation determined that Direct Energy re-engaged in similar conduct after the consent order expired in February 2012, administering a $1 million penalty even though Direct Energy had exited the market by selling to Enercare.

2014 – Competition Bureau gets Enercare to commit to avoiding anti-competitive practices

Enercare acquired Direct Energy’s portfolio of rental customers in October 2014.

In November, the Bureau got Enercare to commit in writing to:

  • Not requiring customers to obtain an authorization number before returning their unit
  • Allowing a new supplier to terminate a customer’s account on their behalf
  • Not unreasonably restricting where and when a unit can be returned
  • Not charging unwarranted fees to switch providers or terminate contracts
  • Opening new return depots

2004 – Direct Energy fined for sales agents forging contracts

Direct Energy was fined $157,500 in 2003 after investigators discovered 25 of their sales agents were forging contracts to trap Ontario and US citizens into long-term energy contracts.

2002 – Direct Energy prohibited from anti-competitive practices for 10 years

The Competition Tribunal found that Enbridge Services (later known as Direct Energy) was engaging in practices that intentionally suppressed competition and restricted consumer choice, including:

  • a requirement to call to obtain authorization to return a rented water heater;
  • aggressive retention tactics during these calls;
  • restrictions on when and where water heaters can be returned; and
  • unwarranted fees and charges.

The consent ordered prohibited similar conduct for a period of 10 years. An investigation found that Direct Energy re-engaged in similar conduct after the consent order expired in February 2012.

Customer reviews

1.4
Rated 1.4 out of 5
1.4 out of 5 stars (based on 155 reviews)
Excellent7%
Very good1%
Average0%
Poor4%
Terrible88%

Frastrating experience with Enercare

Rated 1 out of 5
May 9, 2022

Once Enercare took over Abbey Air everything went downhill from there.We booked a furnace appointment with a specified person,only little we knew there was no appointment although we had a confirmed email,actually they send a few times the same email.For the AC maintenance a specific person was suppose to come, (again I received three emails giving me different hours when he would arrive at my home)yet a different technician came out and was done in 15 minutes.After he left I wanted to try to reach someone at Enercare who could sort out this whole mess or confusion re my fall appointment.After being transferred five times to someone,4 hours later I managed to rebook my furnace maintenance appointment (previous booked appointment did not show up on their end,although I had received a confirmed email).I received NO explanations,just “I am sorry Mam” repeatedly.With Abbey Air we had a trustworthy relationship as long as they were in business and I took a leap of faith with Enercare.Definitely not one of my smartest choices.I am really frustrated with the service,half of the time I cannot understand their accent and their talking/understanding on the phone is very poor.The personal,caring touch is gone!
Very disappointing service…..

Chris

Furnace an AC Maintenance Plan

Rated 1 out of 5
May 9, 2022

I just bought a new furnace and AC. Enercare insists I continue to pay my current Plan fees until Nov when the contract comes up for renewal even though my new furnace and AC have an overlapping warranty period. Hell of a way to treat customer loyalty. I will not be going back as a customer.

Michael Nestor

Booking appointments is a disaster

Rated 2 out of 5
May 9, 2022

Booked an A/C service call for maintenance. Had to cancel a day earlier as something came up and no one could be home. Booked replacement appt for the next week. So, the poor service guy showed up for cancelled appt, never told it was cancelled, not his fault, not mine. I called and asked. They said it was for A/C and next week’s was for furnace maintenance check which i had made very clear I did NOT want before September!!! He cancelled next week’s appt rather than correct it was for A/C check that was moved, seconds later told me I can’t have that appt time back, it’s filled. NOT MY PROBLEM! How difficult is it to make or cancel an appointment? Really? I feel badly for the service guy who showed up to no response and for my stress at having to fight my way to correct appt. This sucks. Last year, A/C check technician said he couldn’t check it due to it’s too cold out. It was not. I had someone else come who read previous tech’s notes that said there was NO CONNECTION from AC unit to furnace so it wouldn’t work!!!!!!!! He had left without telling me or fixing the connectivity issue. I left Enercare for other company for hot water equipment, now it’s time to leaved altogether. If they can’t even do appt’s correctly, what else?

Ginger

Home Service Contract

Rated 1 out of 5
May 9, 2022

This review is written with respect to 2 days worth of horrific dealings with Enercare customer service representatives, a manager and a Customer Service Supervisor (B…..) on May 5 & 6, 2022. After attempting to assist my mother-in-law deal with multiple plumbing issues at her home, I was left stunned by the extremely poor customer service by Enercare personnel, management and supervisory staff. In the end, the plumbing contractor, that hadn’t showed up on the original date and hadn’t been given the correct information by Enercare regarding the necessary work to be done, had to be cancelled. I then spent hours on the phone with Enercare trying to explain the situation and have the matter rescheduled on an expedited basis by a manager. I was to have a call back with a new date. I waited until mid afternoon the following day and then I called Enercare once again. This time I connected with B….. a Customer Service Supervisor. Now B….. was very poor in dealing with frustrated customers. Her strategy was to caution them by threatening to end the telephone call by providing 3 warnings and then ending the call. She warned me twice because she felt that I was talking down to her. Really? Talking down to her. Yes I may have been somewhat annoyed and sarcastic, but that is far better than yelling or swearing is it not? B….. you really need to look for a different profession where you aren’t dealing with the public – you just don’t seem cut out for it and that’s my last warning to you! When I inquired about the Home Service Contract and whether or not the plumbing portion of said contract would cover the necessary repairs at my mother-in-law’s home, it was discovered (after some on line research) that it did not. So I asked B….. to cancel the Home Service Contract. Well one would think that after all of the frustration that I had experienced up to that point over the course of multiple hours over 2 days, that B….. would gladly look after this matter for me; but no you would be incorrect. She would again, place me on hold (a favourite tactic of Enercare customer service) and transfer me to the department that handles such matters. My frustration did not even end there. After providing all of my mother-in-law’s account information yet again that included my name, email and cell number that is on the account because my mother-in-law had recently lost her husband, I was told that I would require her confirmation to cancel. As I explained, my mother-in-law is deaf and cannot speak on the phone and so that is why I have been acting on her behalf and have my name and numbers on the account; and yet he continued to give me a difficult time. I told him to cancel the account period and I hung up the phone! Wow Enercare should be avoided at all costs. What a nasty, inconsiderate and ignorant company with employees to match. They deserve to go under or be bought out and managed by a board that simply would never tolerate such inhumane attrocities!

Dean Geiger, BBA (Hons), MEd

Worse company ever

Rated 1 out of 5
May 9, 2022

This company is the worse company ever
People don’t waste time and money
This is my first negative review that I wrote in my 14 years living in canada

Pilar

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If you have experience with Enercare, we’re interested to know your thoughts. How long have you been with them and what do you think about their service, contracts and value? Let us know by leaving a review and sharing your experience below!

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Cansumer Staff
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2 comments

  1. Worst service ever – -basically NO service. Waiting on hold with no results for a regular maintenace appointment. They just don’t have any available appointments etween now and 2023. How is that possible – -why take ion customers if you can’t provide the service??? My inital provider soldor was bought by enercare resulting in the worst possible experience ever. Still waiting to hear form them about what they said they would do. Please avoid at all costs!

    Reply
  2. The 2 installers who came to our house to install a new furnace cut the cable to our roof antenna. Left without telling us. Who does that??? This happened September 2021. Have been calling them since – promises of reimbursement but not one cent! Horrendous customer service.

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