Hydro One on billing problems: 'We've come a long way'
Hydro One spokesperson says utility worked with the Ombudsman to resolve 3,000 complaints
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.
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.