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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 211 reviews)
Excellent7%
Very good1%
Average1%
Poor4%
Terrible87%

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 211 reviews)
Excellent7%
Very good1%
Average1%
Poor4%
Terrible87%

Do your self a favor and never fill into their advertising and marketing trap!

Rated 1 out of 5
October 7, 2021

Do your self a favor and stay away from this horrible company. It might be hard but do your best not falling into their advertising and marketing trap!

I can’t believe the amount of the time and energy I have spend staying on hold when calling them to follow up on my service call. The number of people I had to speak and repeat myself and being promised that someone will get back to me, and more. I am not going to tell more here as I am frustrated and angary at this time. However, if you are interested to learn more about my terrible experience, feel free to reach out. good Luck!

M.Sadr

20 months of billing for a rental water heater returned

Rated 1 out of 5
October 7, 2021

Just got off the phone with Enercare. I had returned my 20 year old rental water heater about 20 months ago as I bought a tankless and installed by another company. First called Enercare to go about it how to return the water heated, signed the required form so my contractor could return it. Received form back. About 12-14 months later, I noticed I was still getting charged for the water heater rental. Called Enercare, then, got nowhere. They did have a record when I first called back in to enquire how to return the heater. Unfortunately, I had not kept the receipt (or at least no idea where it might be anymore since it was at least a year ago) . Called Enercare back, they didn’t seem to want to budge. I just called back today, finally, they said, they will stop charging me as of today. Meanwhile, they have said I am stuck with the charges for the last 20 months. And no, they did not even give me the option of cancelling the charges when I first called them about it . What, I’m supposed to pay this till the end of time, because their side did not record it at their drop-off facility?

Wendy O.

Water heater rental

Rated 1 out of 5
September 30, 2021

Constant billing issues, any hours spent on phone trying to correct.

A horrible consumer experience I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

Keith

Shady Company

Rated 1 out of 5
September 29, 2021

Company bills in the background behind the Enbridge name. Will try to bilk you for an extra buck at every turn. Support line is a joke. Avoid dealing with this company at all costs. Shady business practices.

Steve

Furnace inspection

Rated 5 out of 5
September 21, 2021

A wonderful young man. Polite and courteous!! Was thoughtful and caring and did a wonderful job!

His name was Jesse Lamantia

Erin

Leave a review or submit a complaint

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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3 comments

  1. Agree with other comments – a disaster when they took over Roy Inch’s maintenance services. You’ll be on hold for hour(s) waiting for these guys to even answer. Each appliance has to be serviced on different days. RUN, don’t walk to another service provider!

    Reply
  2. 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
  3. 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.

    Reply