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Thread: Epcor vs Enmax vs Direct Energy

  1. #1

    Default Epcor vs Enmax vs Direct Energy

    Hi Edmonton!
    I am moving into a townhouse and for the first time in my life I have to pay all the utilities - electricity, gas, water, etc.

    Can anyone weigh in on which provider is the best? I like the idea of having everything on one bill. I have also heard that in the long run they are all kind of the same costs when spread out over a longer time period.

    Thank you!!!

  2. #2

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    https://ucahelps.alberta.ca/

    Information regarding deregulation, your choices & a historical record of prices so you can figure the right choice out for you.
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    ^ ^^

    one thing the link doesn’t address is that the city of edmonton is epcor’s sole shareholder and the annual dividend cheque they write to the city accounts for about 6% of the city’s total operating budget. reason enough to support them as opposed to some of the alternatives in my books.
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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    If you enjoy getting scammed use direct energy that being said pick Epcor

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    We use Enmax for power and gas as they allow for switching from fixed to floating on the fly although that really hasn't been necessary in a while. Floating rates are sitting around half the fixed rates.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  6. #6

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    Using Enmax means you are subsidizing Calgary.
    Edmonton first, everything else second.

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    I am currently with Enmax and was thinking of switching to support Edmonton based Epcor (or Encor as they are referred to one their website) as they offer the same floating rate plans for electricity and gas as Enmax does, albeit with Encor you can only sign up for a maximum 2 years floating plan. The main reason that I didn't is that I get approximately $9 rebate on my bill per month due to their rewards program whereas Encor doesn't offer something similar. $100 more in my pocket per year isn't a huge amount but still not sure why Encor is not more competitive in that regard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    ^ ^^

    one thing the link doesn’t address is that the city of edmonton is epcor’s sole shareholder and the annual dividend cheque they write to the city accounts for about 6% of the city’s total operating budget. reason enough to support them as opposed to some of the alternatives in my books.
    Exactly, if I am going to be paying a utility bill, I'd rather have a small portion flow back to our city rather than an external entity. The regulated rate is pretty cheap and remember that you will pay the distribution and transmission charges, the franchise fee, and the associated fixed charges no matter who you purchase the electricity from.

    The rates here look much better than say Ontario !

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    Using Enmax means you are subsidizing Calgary.
    I don't see a problem with buying the best product regardless of where it comes from in Canada.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  10. #10

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    ^I think that's right also, there is a little bit of an incentive for EPCOR to offer better deals in Calgary, and ENMAX to offer better deals in Edmonton, to try and pry customers away. If you are against Edmontonians taking the best deal, then you are against Calgarians doing it as well - its the consumers who lose then, paying more than we should.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    Using Enmax means you are subsidizing Calgary.
    I don't see a problem with buying the best product regardless of where it comes from in Canada.
    Except it's all the same electrons coming from the same generators. If you want to typically pay more than the regulated rate & have that excess go to Calgary, that's certainly your prerogative though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    Using Enmax means you are subsidizing Calgary.
    I don't see a problem with buying the best product regardless of where it comes from in Canada.
    Except it's all the same electrons coming from the same generators. If you want to typically pay more than the regulated rate & have that excess go to Calgary, that's certainly your prerogative though.
    A quick look at my bills says I'm paying exactly the same rate I would with Epcor.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    Using Enmax means you are subsidizing Calgary.
    I don't see a problem with buying the best product regardless of where it comes from in Canada.
    Except it's all the same electrons coming from the same generators. If you want to typically pay more than the regulated rate & have that excess go to Calgary, that's certainly your prerogative though.
    A quick look at my bills says I'm paying exactly the same rate I would with Epcor.
    In terms of one’s individual contribution towards profits, it’s probably an insignificant contribution to one company or the other. (“Just a drop in the bucket.” Much like the argument for Alberta dealing with global emissions relative to the impact on global emissions.). Typically how many net dollars would be involved?

    I’d also suspect that spending one’s earnings during a single out of province, of our if city, discretionary trip or vacation likely impacts Edmonton far more severely than one’s choice of electricity supplier.
    Last edited by KC; 27-12-2017 at 10:17 AM.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    A quick look at my bills says I'm paying exactly the same rate I would with Epcor.
    Checking the UCAhelps website shows that Enmax charges a 35% higher administration fee than Epcor does for the regulated rate, $7.10 vs $5.20.

    (Comparing the currently posted Enmax 5 year floating power on ucahelps to the posted regulated rates on epcor.com.)
    Giving less of a damn than ever… Can't laugh at the ignorant if you ignore them!

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    A quick look at my bills says I'm paying exactly the same rate I would with Epcor.
    Checking the UCAhelps website shows that Enmax charges a 35% higher administration fee than Epcor does for the regulated rate, $7.10 vs $5.20.

    (Comparing the currently posted Enmax 5 year floating power on ucahelps to the posted regulated rates on epcor.com.)
    $22.80 / yr. more in admin. Calgary is a huge private-sector-bureaucracy city.
    Last edited by KC; 27-12-2017 at 10:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    A quick look at my bills says I'm paying exactly the same rate I would with Epcor.
    Checking the UCAhelps website shows that Enmax charges a 35% higher administration fee than Epcor does for the regulated rate, $7.10 vs $5.20.

    (Comparing the currently posted Enmax 5 year floating power on ucahelps to the posted regulated rates on epcor.com.)
    The $8/month Easymax credit I get more than balances that out.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    The $8/month Easymax credit I get more than balances that out.
    If you're getting the $8/month credit you're with them for natural gas as well & likely paying well over the market rate there for both gas & admin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    The $8/month Easymax credit I get more than balances that out.
    If you're getting the $8/month credit you're with them for natural gas as well & likely paying well over the market rate there for both gas & admin.
    Not according to my bills. Comparing Epcor's historical rates chart to my actual bills shows my natural gas rates lower than Epcor as the transaction fee is $0.47/GJ rather than a $1/GJ. Admin fee appears to be around the same at $7 or so.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Not according to my bills. Comparing Epcor's historical rates chart to my actual bills shows my natural gas rates lower than Epcor as the transaction fee is $0.47/GJ rather than a $1/GJ. Admin fee appears to be around the same at $7 or so.
    EPCOR isn't the regulated provider for natural gas, DERS is. You're comparing one contract rate with another, not a contract rate vs the regulated rates.

    https://www.directenergyregulatedser...om/natural-gas

    Note the absence of a per-GJ fee on top of the rate. Enmax returns a bit of their superfluous/extraneous/otherwise-higher-than-regulated fees back to their customers as the "EasyMax" credit & relies on the credit along with the bundling to obfuscate the bills & make a straight comparison difficult.
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    Out of the house now but I will note Direct does list a fixed charge on site although it is lower. The overall rate doesn’t look that different. Also I have zero interest in dealing with Direct and their business practices.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Out of the house now but I will note Direct does list a fixed charge on site although it is lower.
    They have a per-day fee, which is their admin fee & they have a per-unit-consumed cost, which is the cost of gas. That's it, that's all, just like EPCOR has their admin fee & the cost of electricity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    The overall rate doesn’t look that different. Also I have zero interest in dealing with Direct and their business practices.
    And that's entirely your choice, but you're the one who characterized your choice of Enmax as "the best product" when it's unequivocally the same exact product just billed differently (often to the detriment of the customer). There's literally zero difference in what electrons come down your wires or methane down your pipe because of the envelope your bill comes in, as distribution is still heavily, heavily regulated & cannot change based upon your choice of retailer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by edTel View Post
    I am currently with Enmax and was thinking of switching to support Edmonton based Epcor (or Encor as they are referred to one their website) as they offer the same floating rate plans for electricity and gas as Enmax does, albeit with Encor you can only sign up for a maximum 2 years floating plan. The main reason that I didn't is that I get approximately $9 rebate on my bill per month due to their rewards program whereas Encor doesn't offer something similar. $100 more in my pocket per year isn't a huge amount but still not sure why Encor is not more competitive in that regard.
    if your property taxes are 1,800 per year, epcor’s dividend is worth 9.00 per month on your tax bill. you benefit from other taxpayers buying from epcor and deprive them - and yourself - of your contribution to that benefit pool.
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

  23. #23

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    You can't really cut it like that Ken.

    Epcor Distribution & Transmission, Epcor Water & now Epcor Drainage are all natural, regulated monopolies that you can't really get away from inside of the city limits. The retail electricity operations (both regulated & deregulated alike) are an important piece of the pie, sure, but they're not really the bread & butter of our local utility juggernaut.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Out of the house now but I will note Direct does list a fixed charge on site although it is lower.
    They have a per-day fee, which is their admin fee & they have a per-unit-consumed cost, which is the cost of gas. That's it, that's all, just like EPCOR has their admin fee & the cost of electricity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    The overall rate doesn’t look that different. Also I have zero interest in dealing with Direct and their business practices.
    And that's entirely your choice, but you're the one who characterized your choice of Enmax as "the best product" when it's unequivocally the same exact product just billed differently (often to the detriment of the customer). There's literally zero difference in what electrons come down your wires or methane down your pipe because of the envelope your bill comes in, as distribution is still heavily, heavily regulated & cannot change based upon your choice of retailer.
    I consider them a better product not just because of better prices but they also gave me more flexibility and have generally been better to deal with. I do realize currently their competition has improved and things are far more comparable now but par isn't enough reason to switch.

    I'd note as well, with my power bill, two thirds of it is still going to Epcor in the form distribution and transmission charges. I'm just buying the power from Enmax and paying them to administer it because I've found them a bit less expensive and better to deal with for that.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    I consider them a better product not just because of better prices but they also gave me more flexibility and have generally been better to deal with. I do realize currently their competition has improved and things are far more comparable now but par isn't enough reason to switch.
    Whatever you wanna use as justification for your choices is your business, not mine. But "better prices" isn't really the case as I've shown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    I'd note as well, with my power bill, two thirds of it is still going to Epcor in the form distribution and transmission charges. I'm just buying the power from Enmax and paying them to administer it because I've found them a bit less expensive and better to deal with for that.
    Like I said, entirely your choice. But the notion that they're "cheaper" somehow isn't really borne out by the last 15 years of data, since deregulation kicked in. At best it's a wash & the vast majority of regulated mass-market customers who've signed contracts since they gained the ability to do so have paid a higher price over the term of their contracts than those that didn't, but that's par for the course in most deregulated marketplaces, as the contract side of the business has far fewer economies of scale (much smaller customer base) & the additional costs incurred to sell both competitive & regulated electricity can only be borne by the competitive ratepayer. Heck, the competitive retailers have spent the last 15 years continually trying to weaken the regulated option's appeal in order to make their marked-up contracts more palatable since Albertans weren't falling for them. Hence why the regulated rate & admin fees change monthly & why the regulated providers have their hands tied in terms of procurement to prevent them from fully leveraging their economies of scale.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    You can't really cut it like that Ken.

    Epcor Distribution & Transmission, Epcor Water & now Epcor Drainage are all natural, regulated monopolies that you can't really get away from inside of the city limits. The retail electricity operations (both regulated & deregulated alike) are an important piece of the pie, sure, but they're not really the bread & butter of our local utility juggernaut.
    assuming the $9.00 rebate is coming from margin that would ultimately be paid out as dividend to the city of edmonton and not by subsidizing actual operating/delivery costs, why would it make any difference which business unit would be contributing that $9.00?
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    I consider them a better product not just because of better prices but they also gave me more flexibility and have generally been better to deal with. I do realize currently their competition has improved and things are far more comparable now but par isn't enough reason to switch.
    Whatever you wanna use as justification for your choices is your business, not mine. But "better prices" isn't really the case as I've shown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    I'd note as well, with my power bill, two thirds of it is still going to Epcor in the form distribution and transmission charges. I'm just buying the power from Enmax and paying them to administer it because I've found them a bit less expensive and better to deal with for that.
    Like I said, entirely your choice. But the notion that they're "cheaper" somehow isn't really borne out by the last 15 years of data, since deregulation kicked in. At best it's a wash & the vast majority of customers who've signed contracts since they gained the ability to do so have paid a higher price over the term of their contracts than those that didn't, but that's par for the course in most deregulated marketplaces, as the contract side of the business has far fewer economies of scale (much smaller customer base) & the additional costs incurred to sell both competitive & regulated electricity can only be borne by the competitive ratepayer. Heck, the competitive retailers have spent the last 15 years continually trying to weaken the regulated option's appeal in order to make their marked-up contracts more palatable since Albertans weren't falling for them. Hence why the regulated rate & admin fees change monthly & why the regulated providers have their hands tied in terms of procurement to prevent them from fully leveraging their economies of scale.
    We never signed a contract. One of my initial reasons for going with Enmax was the ability to flip from their contract rate to a variable rate with a month's notice. Allowed us to stay on whatever was cheaper.

    And all you've shown is that currently prices are fairly similar. A comparison of my bills to current rates says I'm saving about $70 a year on Enmax vs Epcor so I don't see any particular reason to switch.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    assuming the $9.00 rebate is coming from margin that would ultimately be paid out as dividend to the city of edmonton and not by subsidizing actual operating/delivery costs, why would it make any difference which business unit would be contributing that $9.00?
    I was speaking more to the fact that even if you intentionally avoid EPCOR for your retail electricity you're still going to be contributing mightily to that dividend, thanks to their other inescapable lines of business, so it's not really worth castigating someone for exercising their freedom to choose their retailer. Heck, the City itself is an Enmax customer.
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  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    We never signed a contract. One of my initial reasons for going with Enmax was the ability to flip from their contract rate to a variable rate with a month's notice. Allowed us to stay on whatever was cheaper.
    You don't need to put paper to pen & scratch out the ol' John Hancock for it to be a contract. If you're not on the regulated rate you're on a contract. It's one or the other, though most companies avoid using the term "contract" because it's a loaded term (hence your vociferous proclamation that you didn't sign a contract, merely entered into a business agreement with a corporation wherein your obligations to one another are captured in a legal document you both agreed to abide by.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    And all you've shown is that currently prices are fairly similar. A comparison of my bills to current rates says I'm saving about $70 a year on Enmax vs Epcor so I don't see any particular reason to switch.
    Wasn't trying to get you to switch, but whatever. Always fun to spar with someone regarding my professional area of expertise, even if you're choosing to disregard swaths of what I've stated.
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    Quote Originally Posted by oceanpearl View Post
    Hi Edmonton!
    I am moving into a townhouse and for the first time in my life I have to pay all the utilities - electricity, gas, water, etc.

    Can anyone weigh in on which provider is the best? I like the idea of having everything on one bill. I have also heard that in the long run they are all kind of the same costs when spread out over a longer time period.

    Thank you!!!
    Stay away from Direct Energy. So many problems, have to send people to the Utility Consumer Advocate for help. Direct Energy's call centre is in Guatamala.

    And yes, if you go with Enmax, you are padding the pockets of the City of Calgary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    We never signed a contract. One of my initial reasons for going with Enmax was the ability to flip from their contract rate to a variable rate with a month's notice. Allowed us to stay on whatever was cheaper.
    You don't need to put paper to pen & scratch out the ol' John Hancock for it to be a contract. If you're not on the regulated rate you're on a contract. It's one or the other, though most companies avoid using the term "contract" because it's a loaded term (hence your vociferous proclamation that you didn't sign a contract, merely entered into a business agreement with a corporation wherein your obligations to one another are captured in a legal document you both agreed to abide by.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    And all you've shown is that currently prices are fairly similar. A comparison of my bills to current rates says I'm saving about $70 a year on Enmax vs Epcor so I don't see any particular reason to switch.
    Wasn't trying to get you to switch, but whatever. Always fun to spar with someone regarding my professional area of expertise, even if you're choosing to disregard swaths of what I've stated.

    I didn't disregard what you stated. I looked up the information you provided, which was educational, and then pulled my current bills and worked out whether I was actually paying more. Based on the sites you linked to, I am paying about $70 less per year than if I was with Epcor. This is in line with various checks I've made over the years I've been with Enmax.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  32. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edTel View Post
    I am currently with Enmax and was thinking of switching to support Edmonton based Epcor (or Encor as they are referred to one their website) as they offer the same floating rate plans for electricity and gas as Enmax does, albeit with Encor you can only sign up for a maximum 2 years floating plan. The main reason that I didn't is that I get approximately $9 rebate on my bill per month due to their rewards program whereas Encor doesn't offer something similar. $100 more in my pocket per year isn't a huge amount but still not sure why Encor is not more competitive in that regard.
    if your property taxes are 1,800 per year, epcor’s dividend is worth 9.00 per month on your tax bill. you benefit from other taxpayers buying from epcor and deprive them - and yourself - of your contribution to that benefit pool.
    That's like deciding to buy a Canada Goose parka that is made in Canada (Manitoba) for $900, which pays more tax in Canada, rather than an equivalent performing MEC parka that is made in China and costs $250, but pays less tax in Canada. Sure, for some who have the money to waste or point to prove, that's fine, and there is some theoretical eventual payback with respect to where they pay tax or dividends or whatever, but for most of us, the great unwashed, every dollar counts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edTel View Post
    I am currently with Enmax and was thinking of switching to support Edmonton based Epcor (or Encor as they are referred to one their website) as they offer the same floating rate plans for electricity and gas as Enmax does, albeit with Encor you can only sign up for a maximum 2 years floating plan. The main reason that I didn't is that I get approximately $9 rebate on my bill per month due to their rewards program whereas Encor doesn't offer something similar. $100 more in my pocket per year isn't a huge amount but still not sure why Encor is not more competitive in that regard.
    if your property taxes are 1,800 per year, epcor’s dividend is worth 9.00 per month on your tax bill. you benefit from other taxpayers buying from epcor and deprive them - and yourself - of your contribution to that benefit pool.
    That's like deciding to buy a Canada Goose parka that is made in Canada (Manitoba) for $900, which pays more tax in Canada, rather than an equivalent performing MEC parka that is made in China and costs $250, but pays less tax in Canada. Sure, for some who have the money to waste or point to prove, that's fine, and there is some theoretical eventual payback with respect to where they pay tax or dividends or whatever, but for most of us, the great unwashed, every dollar counts.
    my point was that $9.00 per month is the same as the $9.00 reduction in property taxes - net zero to "the great unwashed" even if you ignore the positive impact on a larger employment base (however nominal noodle ) in edmonton versus calgary.

    how you can turn that net zero cost assumption into a comparison between $900 parkas made in manitoba and $250 parkas made in china that have a $650 net premium cost escapes me...
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

  34. #34

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    ^If the price and service is the same, I'll agree with you, its better to support the local business. I think what tends to happen though is that companies take their existing customers for granted (be it insurance, cell phones, power, or whatever), which is why, the price and service are rarely the same.

    PS. I've no idea how Canada Goose has managed to position those parka's, which are nothing special to look at, into Gucci type, Holts to distribute, pricing, but good for them I guess.
    Last edited by moahunter; 28-12-2017 at 10:24 AM.

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