In his article, "Entering the Appliance Repair Business" (Feb. 1, 1995), Gordon Canning paints a bleak picture for independent contractors seeking to prevent utilities from entering the appliance repair business. However, contrary to Mr. Canning's suggestion, at least one utility has been forced to withdraw from this business.
On October 23, 1990, BC Gas, a local distribution company that supplies gas to most residential customers in British Columbia, asked the British Columbia Utilities Commission to approve a furnace repair insurance plan (FRP) for 450,000 of its residential customers. The plan covered parts and labor for specified gas furnace repairs, but did not include safety inspections or annual maintenance. On December 6, 1991, the Commission approved the plan with certain stipulations. However, on September 17, 1993, after significant efforts on the part of certain local independent contractors, the Commission announced: