Landlord and Property Owner Information
To avoid landlord/tenant disputes about utility charges and/or possession dates, you need to decide who will be responsible for paying the utilities while they're on your property. You can choose to have the tenant pay or you can build utilities into your rent and pay the bill yourself. If you don't want to be billed for your renter's consumption, you must ensure your tenant has applied for the appropriate services.
Many Regulated Retailers are approved by either the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) or by municipal bylaws to automatically bill the registered property owner for any period of time that an application for services is not received.
As a result, these companies may not physically turn off the gas and/or electricity service when tenants terminate their account. It's possible that service will remain on between tenants and you'll be responsible for those charges in between.
If your property is vacant and you don't want services to remain connected, it's your responsibility to contact your retailer(s) and request physical disconnection of services. However, this may result in reconnection fees that you or your tenant must pay to restore.
Many energy providers offer several options for landlords when rental properties become vacant. These options may include:
- Automatically billing the property owner when no application for service is received
- Automatically shutting off the services when no application is received
- Automatically billing the property owner between October 15 and April 15 (dates may vary), and automatically shutting off the services from April 16 to October 14 (dates may vary).
- Calling the property owner when an application for service is required
Below are some additional resources for landlords and tenants:
Seasonal Property Reminders
Some rural electricity sites are subject to idle billing charges whether service is physically connected or not. These charges are levied by the distributor to recover the costs to maintain the transmission lines and to keep the site connected to the provincial power grid.
If you have a rural electricity site that you're requesting to be disconnected, it's your responsibility to ask about idle billing charges. It's not uncommon for energy providers to hold back idle charges for longer periods of time and then issue a catch up bill for up to a 12-month period.
If you don't want to pay the monthly delivery charges and administration fees when your property is vacant, you can request that service be physically turned off. However, most retailers and distributors charge a reconnection fee to turn the service(s) back on. The cost to reconnect the service may be more than the monthly charges would have been (depending on how long the service remains off).
Salvaging a Site
If you don't want to pay idle billing charges, you can request the distributor to salvage the site. This means the distributor will physically remove the meter, power poles and power lines, and your property will no longer have access to the power grid.
Salvaging a site is usually only done when you have no plans to use electricity at that property again. The cost to reinstall the power lines, poles and meters can be thousands of dollars.
Note: Before the natural gas service can be restored to an existing gas line that has been shut off for six or more months, a gas permit may be required under the provincial Safety Codes Act, which states that a gas meter must be inspected and approved by a City inspector. A bonded and licensed contractor must be contracted first to assess the gas line. This inspection can be costly and is the account holder's responsibility.