Hydro One asks for rate increases, pre-paid meters in Ontario Energy Board application
Move would lower utility's financial risk by making customers pay for energy before using it, application says
Hydro One is considering allowing its customers to use pre-paid meters for their electricity use.
The proposal is contained within a massive Ontario Energy Board (OEB) application, which also asks for a rate increase of 0.5 per cent this year and 4.8 per cent next year.
The application says the pre-paid meters would minimize Hydro One's financial risk by requiring customers to pay for energy before using it — in particular for customers who are deemed to be a high collection risk.
But Hydro One's executive vice-president of customer care and corporate affairs says it would not be used as a collection tool.
Ferio Pugliese says if the OEB allows Hydro One to move forward with pre-paid meters, they would be offered to customers as a choice and wouldn't be forced upon anyone.
He also says — despite language in Hydro One's application — that customers would not be disconnected once their pre-payment ran out.