Call Marg: 705-446-1762

WhoWe are seeing more and more homes with solar panels and many are tied to a 20 year contract under Ontario’s microFIT program which pays the homeowner for the solar power generated and fed back into the electricity grid.  So what happens when one of these homes is sold?

We recently sold what appears to be, the first home in our area that was subject to a microFIT contract.  In the agreement with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), it clearly states that the agreement can be assigned to a new Buyer.  In this case, it said, “The Supplier may assign its rights and obligations under this Agreement with the consent of the OPA, which shall not withhold its consent unreasonably…”

Upon contacting the OPA hotline, we were directing to the instructions for assignment found here. It outlines 5 basic and simple steps.  First, the owner goes online and initiates the assignment request including the proposed effective date which in this case, was the closing date of the home sale.  Check. Done.  Next, the home Buyer goes online and registers and obtains a microFIT registrant IS.  Check. Done.  It also says the Buyer needs to set up a generator account with their local utility distribution provider.  Check.  Done.  So far so good.  But wait.

At this point, the instructions say that the Buyer will receive an email inviting them to complete “Form B.”  Specifically, the instructions say, “Once Part A of the assignment request is submitted by the Assignor, the Assignee will receive a message in their My microFIT Messages Inbox. The message will include a link to the microFIT Contract that is being assigned and will request the Assignee to complete Form B of the assignment request.”  This is where it all fell apart.  The Buyer never got the invitation.

The Buyer and the Seller both sent emails to the microFIT team and neither got an answer.  Given that we had a fairly fast closing ahead, this was a bit of a worry.  So I emailed the team outlining, step by step, the problem.  I got a response very quickly that said,

Hello Marg,

Please note that only the Assignor is able to initiate a Contract Assignment request. The OPA does not initiate microFIT Contract Assignment requests on behalf of Suppliers.

Regards,

microFIT Contract Team

This can become a long story but suffice to say, this began a game of Who’s On First that brought bureaucracy into the limelight like never before.  They wouldn’t answer the Buyer or Seller and, they would answer me but only to say the Buyer or Seller had to be the ones to email.  Both had done so several times with no response.  I replied explaining this situation and got the identical response as above two more times.  I finally resorted to something I never thought I would do…

Twitter.  I went on and “followed” the OPA and then tweeted about how ridiculous it was.  Much to my surprise, it worked!  I got an email the day after my Tweet that said,

Margaret Scheben-Edey,

Please feel free to respond to this email with any questions you may have regarding microFIT Contract FIT-MUxxxxxx.

Regards,

microFIT Contract Team

Yahoo!  So, I replied to that email only to get one back saying that they would contact the assignor and assignee but wait, I then realized that the contract number was NOT the one we were assigning but rather, my own for my own home which had absolutely nothing to do with this!  So I emailed them back pointing out the error and low and behold, I got an email saying,

Hello Marg,

Please note that only the Assignor is able to initiate a Contract Assignment request. The OPA does not initiate microFIT Contract Assignment requests on behalf of Suppliers.

Regards,

microFIT Contract Team

AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!  See what I mean about a game of Who’s On First?  During this charade, I called the hotline and the poor gal I spoke to said that nobody, including her own department, had contact names or numbers for the microFIT team.  It seems they are a secret department insulated from the general public.  The gal on the phone explained that she had several callers complaining of the same problem and that she could do absolutely nothing but wish me luck.  Luck?!

Then it hit me.  Maybe they wouldn’t assign the contract until AFTER the sale was completed.  The clue was that the assignee was supposed to provide a property PIN number (registration of sale document) and that the PIN would not match the applicants name.  BINGO.  After emailing them once again with a generic question not tied to any person, house or contract asking if the PIN had to match the owners name, the answer was yes.

The Bottom Line:  There is seemingly no way to initiate the transfer process before a sale is completed.  A Buyer can register for a microFIT ID and, they can set up a generator account with the local utility distributor.  The current home owner (Seller) can go online and request an assignment but, there it stops.  Until the registration is completed and a new PIN is assigned to the new Buyer, the process cannot be completed.

In our case, knowing that this was new for everyone, I included a clause in the offer saying that any revenue generated after the closing date would be assigned in full to the Buyer.  Our local electricity utility also kindly agreed, with everyone’s written direction and consent, to forward any revenue from the closing date forward, to the new Buyer.

It is important that anyone buying or selling a home that is subject to a microFIT contract be aware of the steps involved as well as the timelines in assigning the contract to a new Buyer.  In the end, it’s worth it.

As an Accredited Green Broker® with the National Association of Green Agents and Brokers as well as the owner of a home with solar panels subject to microFIT agreement, it’s my pleasure to assist people with their green real estate goals and questions. Please feel free to email me or call at 705-446-1762.

 

 

 

Marg Scheben-Edey is a Broker with RE/MAX four seasons realty limited, Brokerage in beautiful Collingwood, ON. With three decades of experience, Marg is a leader in the local real estate marketplace and is ready to help guide both Buyers and Sellers in achieving their real estate goals. Email Marg

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Marg Scheben-Edey

Real Estate Broker
Market Value Appraiser - Residential
Accredited Green Broker™
(designated by the National Association of Green Agents & Brokers)

RE/MAX four seasons
realty limited, Brokerage
Each Office Independently Owned & Operated
67 First Street, Collingwood L9Y 1A2

Contact Marg

 Direct: 705-446-1762

Prefer Text? 705-446-5066

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