Utilities Kingston is reminding its customers that it has entered into an agreement with a homeowner emergency repair provider, Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC), to offer residential property owners in Kingston a variety of optional and voluntary service plans.
Residential property owners are responsible for the water service and sewer lines on their private property, according to Utilities Kingston, and SLWC’s optional Exterior Water Service Line Coverage and Exterior Sewer Line Coverage plans can help protect homeowners from “potentially expensive repair costs due to breakdowns of major systems inside and/or outside their homes”.
Kingston residents will soon receive an reminder mailing that features Utilities Kingston’s logo and the utility is assuring its customers that this offering is legitimate. It also confirmed that there will be no door-to-door or telephone calls to market these plans and signing up for them is completely voluntary and at the discretion of the homeowner.
Additionally, neither the utility nor the City of Kingston extend any type of warranty with respect to SLWC’s coverage and do not receive a commission or payment when customers sign up. No personal or account information about Utilities Kingston customers were shared with SLWC.
Answers to frequently asked questions, as provided by the City:
Who is Sewer Line Warranties of Canada?
* Service Line Warranties of Canada or SLWC is a private company that provides optional water and/or wastewater warranty plans to homeowners.
* SLWC is an accredited Better Business Bureau organization that has maintained an A+ rating.
Why was this company selected?
* Sewer Line Warranties Canada is the only provider to offer such a warranty program in our area.
* The company is endorsed by the Local Area Services of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
* This program is used by over 950 cities, municipalities, and utilities across North America, including over 55 municipalities in Ontario.
* After researching and consulting with other municipalities with similar programs, Utilities Kingston and SLWC reached a contractual agreement allowing the vendor SLWC to offer the program to Utilities Kingston customers.
Why isn’t Utilities Kingston working with a Canadian-based company?
At the time of selection, SLWC was the only company that could provide this type of service to residents in Canada.
Why did Utilities Kingston choose to endorse such a program?
* To provide an optional service to customers who feel they may benefit. Water or sewer line repairs are often unexpected and expensive. In fact, the utility often hears concerns from customers who are facing large bills for repairs to their privately-owned portion of the water or sewer line.
* To educate residential property owners about their responsibilities for the maintenance, repair and replacement of water and sewer service lines (portion from their homes to the property line). Many customers do not understand their obligation to repair and maintain service laterals on private property, at their expense. When a problem with a service line arises, it can be costly to repair and a plan from SLWC offers a possible solution.
The package provided in the mailings is for information only, to help residents make an informed decision. Utilities Kingston does not encourage residents to sign up, nor is there any requirement to do so. The decision is entirely at the discretion of the homeowner.
Is Utilities Kingston receiving compensation in this arrangement?
As part of this arrangement, Utilities Kingston allows SLWC to use its logo on marketing materials. However, Utilities Kingston does not receive any remuneration, commission, or royalty payment of any kind.
Did Utilities Kingston provide SLWC with customer mailing information?
The protection of privacy is important to Utilities Kingston. The utility did not sell or otherwise provide personal or account information about its customers with SLWC. SLWC purchased from a third party a list of city residents. Utilities Kingston does not control the quality of that service. To be removed from the mailings, you can contact SLWC at 1-866-922-9004.
SLWC pays for all aspects of the program including marketing, customer service and repairs.
Are the warranty plans considered insurance?
The plans are a warranty service plan offered by SLWC as an independent private provider. Although the plans use terms like deductible, coverage and exclusions, the plans are not insurance, but a contract pledge to arrange a contractor to repair your service lines.
Ask your insurance provider if your policy covers repairs to water and sewer line systems. If your policy does not cover water or sewer utility lines, consider the Service Line Warranty program.
To be clear, signing up for these plans is at the discretion of the homeowner. Similarly, signing up for insurance through an insurance company is at the discretion of the homeowner.
How can I stop getting mail from SLWC?
To be removed from future mailings, contact SLWC by calling 1-866-922-9004.
Does this affect my taxes or rates?
This program has no impact on taxes, water rates or sewer rates and there is no payment or revenue generated for Utilities Kingston or the City of Kingston.
Who is responsible for the service lines?
Utilities Kingston (or your utility provider) is responsible for maintaining and repairing equipment up to the ownership demarcation point. It is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain and repair equipment beyond the ownership demarcation point. Utilities Kingston has prepared some diagrams that illustrate demarcation for typical utility services for residential homes.
Where can I get program details?
To learn about SLWC’s offerings, visit their website at www.slwofc.ca