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  • Can An Energy Company Shut Off My Gas?

“{COMPANY REMOVED} approached my door last thursday saying that they supply my Enbridge line with gas and that I had to sign a contract in order to keep getting gas sent to my home. My daughter told me that this is a lie. Ive sent a letter to the Ontario government asking for advice but I havent heard back yet so I thought Id ask you. Do I have to sign a contract or else…? Please write back thank you”

Michelle P. Peterborough, ON

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is definitely a concerning state of affairs, so thank you for calling it to our attention. Your daughter did the right thing by warning you about this practice. Previously, we’ve written about practices in which door to door salespeople pose as Enbridge. This is a similar, though altogether much more fraudulent attempt on behalf of a salesperson to get you to sign on that dotted line.

To help you understand why this is such a problem, let’s walk through the two “levels” that work to provide your home with natural gas.

  • Your utility: This is the company that actually delivers your gas, maintains your pipelines, and is the company on your bill.
  • Your energy company: If you have one, this is a company that helps you guarantee fixed energy rates. They do not deliver gas or deal with your pipes.

Enbridge is the local utility in Peterborough, and is your primary supplier of gas. No company other than Enbridge can shut your gas off on you, and wouldn’t be capable of doing so even if you asked them. If you’re the primary owner of your home, you and Enbridge have a direct relationship that can’t be manipulated in any other way by an energy company.

What this door to door marketer tried to do is play on everyone’s fear: being left without heat or hot water. And by doing so, he or she claimed that Enbridge worked for their company. This is a serious misrepresentation, and is illegal. The ultimate goal of this representative is to make you sign a contract for fixed rates on your natural gas for a number of years and hope you don’t complain. While some fixed rate contracts can save you money, a company that’s not interested in your consent is likely not interested in giving you a fair deal.

If you’re content with what you’re paying for your utilities, then by all means a fixed rate contract may not be right for you. No door to door representative can show you the value in a service you don’t feel you need. And if you don’t happen to have your name on the natural gas bill: signing an energy contract can cause some serious complications between you, the energy company, and whoever pays the bill.

You did the right thing by seeking advice, and it’s our hope that more people question energy marketers who misrepresent people at the door. Hopefully your response from the Ontario Energy Board will come soon, as they can help you out with the specific steps of how to report this behavior. Please keep us posted if there are any developments in your story. We would love to hear it.

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