Sudbury

Hydro One on billing problems: 'We've come a long way'

Hydro One says it has fixed the problems that plagued its billing system and malfunctioning smart meters.

Hydro One spokesperson says utility worked with the Ombudsman to resolve 3,000 complaints

Two years ago, Hydro One's installation of smart meters and a new billing system opened the gates to multiple problems with customers. (Canadian Press)
It's been a year since Hydro One and the Ontario Ombudsman started working together to try and fix strange billing problems. We checked in with a Sudbury customer affected by the problems and with Hydro One to see if those problems have been resolved. 8:21
Hydro One says it has fixed the problems that plagued its billing system and malfunctioning smart meters.

It was a year ago that the Ontario Ombudsman started an investigation into complaints from Hydro One customers about inexplicable bills and strange smart meter readings.

Six hundred complaints have mushroomed to 9,700 complaints now.

People like Madeleine Fex-Tinkus in Sudbury received several bills at a time, and had money taken out of their accounts without permission.

Others didn't receive bills for many months at a time.

I wouldn't do anything with Ontario Hydro, but I don't have a choice- Hydro One customer Madeleine Fex-Tinkus

All of those issues are in the past, according to Hydro One vice president of customer relations, Laura Cooke.

“What I would say is that we have come an incredibly long way in the past year. Obviously we've said it time and time again we regret the position we put some of our customers in.”

Cooke said training, hiring and improved customer care policies have taken care of most problems.

There is still some work being done to fix malfunctioning smart meters.

Work continues

As for Madeleine Fex-Tinkus, she was able to get her problems sorted out — but remains disillusioned.

“If I had anything to do, I wouldn't do anything with Ontario Hydro, but I don't have a choice,” she said.

Cooke noted the utility has hired more people and offered more training.

“We also know that when people called us, to ask us questions about those issues, that we didn't do a good enough job answering their questions,” she said.

“So what have we done about that? Certainly we've done a lot more training for people in our call centre. We have more information available to them so they can better help customers.”

Work continues on technical issues with the smart meters, Cooke added.

A total of 50,000 customers were affected by the problems.

It's not known when the Ombudsman will release his report.

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