On Friday, January 15, at 11:04 am, North Grenville resident Howard Hartley received a call from a man in a Philippines call centre who claimed to be representing the Ontario government. The man proceeded to ask him a slew of questions about his age and his spending on heating and electricity. He then announced that someone would be by on Monday, between 12 pm and 8 pm, to inspect his furnace and see if he was eligible for a government rebate.
Taken aback by the forcefulness of the call, and thrown off by the man’s accent and rapid speech, Howard agreed. The company who called him was Supreme Energy, a heating and cooling company based in Ottawa. They do not represent the Ontario government but do have authorization to promote their rebate programs.
In 2015 the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO, formerly the Ontario Power Authority) introduced up to $650 worth of rebates for installing high efficiency heating and cooling systems in your home. It is a program run in conjunction with the Ontario government and, according to the IESO, it has not been confirmed that it will continue into 2016. On their website the IESO clearly states that it does not call consumers to participate in its programs. It also does not perform door-to-door sales calls, or require the inspection of any heating or cooling equipment.
Therefore, if you receive a call from a person claiming to be a representative of the government, and they are talking about heating and cooling systems, you can automatically assume that they are not being entirely truthful. They are trying to sell you something. End of story.
It is also important to remember that you never have to let a stranger into your home, even if they say they are representing the government. You always have the right to ask for identification. There is a new bylaw in North Grenville that dictates that all door-to-door solicitors must obtain a license from the municipality. The license ensures that the solicitor has been properly screened and their product is deemed appropriate to be selling door-to-door. As a homeowner, you have the right to ask to see their license and to send them away if they cannot produce one. The bylaw does not apply to community service groups, registered charitable organizations, or child and youth entrepreneur initiatives.