TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Dec. 10, 2009) – The Consumers' Waterheater Income Fund (the "Fund") (TSX:CWI.UN) today announced that Bill 235 "Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2009" (the "Proposed Act") received first reading in the Ontario legislature on December 8, 2009. The Proposed Act sets out a high level framework to, among other things, permit individual suite sub-metering in prescribed apartment buildings and condominium complexes in Ontario. As the Proposed Act contains only a framework, much of the requirements for sub-metering will be included in regulations to the Proposed Act which have yet to be published. Among other things, if passed in its current form, the Proposed Act will:
amend the Residential Tenancies Act (the "RTA") to permit sub-metering, subject to first providing tenants with required information and subject to receiving consent from a sitting tenant;
require landlords under the RTA to meet required energy conservation and efficiency standards;
confirm that fees and charges for sub-metering are not "rent" under the RTA;
confirm the right of sub-metering providers to shut off the distribution of electricity for non-payment, subject to prescribed conditions and exceptions; and
give the Ontario Energy Board oversight over security deposit policies and rates chargeable by sub-metering providers and impose licensing requirements on sub-metering providers.
The Proposed Act reflects the Ontario government's smart metering initiative and the Green Energy Act's vision to make Ontario a global leader in conservation by permitting smart sub-metering in residential buildings through licensed smart sub-metering providers, such as the Fund's subsidiary, Stratacon I nc. ("Stratacon"), subject to satisfaction of certain requirements. The Proposed Act should help both landlords and tenants participate in the culture of conservation through the utilization of sub-meters.
The Fund looks forward to participating in the legislative consultation process, including in respect of the regulations that have yet to be published. Although the Fund believes that the Proposed Act is a positive development for its sub-metering business, until the regulations are published and until the Proposed Act is passed and comes into force, no assurance can be given as to the impact of the Proposed Act on Stratacon's financial condition or results of operations. The sub-metering customers affected represent less than two percent of the Fund's customer base.
Further information on the Proposed Act can be found on the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure's website at http://www.mei.gov.on.ca.
About The Consumers' Waterheater Income Fund
The Fund owns a portfolio of approximately 1.3 million installed water heaters and other assets, rented primarily to residential customers in Ontario. The Fund also owns Stratacon Inc., a leading "smart" sub-metering company, with metering contracts for condominium and apartment suites in Alberta, Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.
Additional information regarding the Fund, including its current Annual Information Form is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Additional information on the sub-metering business is available at www.stratacon.ca.
For further information: The Consumers’ Waterheater Income Fund
R. Stephen Bower
Chief Financial Officer
905.943.6292 or 1.877.877.0142