Sudbury

More oversight needed at Hydro One, Sudbury customer says

Hydro One is apologizing for the problems it caused customers with its new billing system, but one customer in Sudbury says after having thousands of dollars taken out of her account, she’ll never use pre-authorized billing again.
When all is said and done and the Liberals have sold the 60 per cent of Hydro One they plan to put on the market, the budgetary impact will ultimately be a negative one, says the province's budgetary watchdog Stephen LeClair. (Hydro One)
A report into billing complaints at Hydro One by Ombudsman Andre Marin says the utility left many of its customers "in the dark" when its new billing system failed. We have part of his presentation. We also have some response to the report from Hydro One. 8:13

Hydro One is apologizing for the problems it caused customers with its new billing system, but one customer in Greater Sudbury says after having thousands of dollars taken out of her account, she'll never use pre-authorized billing again.

On Monday, Ontario ombudsman André Marin released a report on billing practices within the utility, including 65 recommendations to improve the service.

Hydro One's director of communications Daffyd Roderick, said the company is sorry about the problems it caused about 100,000 customers in the past two years.

"We've apologized for the damage that was done and most importantly, the damage that was done to our reputation with those customers," he said. "We hope to regain their trust."

Madeleine Fex-Tinkus, who lives in the Sudbury community of Lively, heard the apology but said it's not enough.

She said she'll never sign up for pre-authorized billing again after the company took more than $2,000 out of her account.

Customer wants utility kept public

Fex-Tinkus said more oversight is needed, and that won't happen if the utility is sold.

"I certainly don't think privatization would be the solution," she said. "There should be better control maybe of what's going on."

New Democrat Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas said the utility was run like a business, focused on making money instead of serving the public.

Although the ombudsman's report included recommendations to improve customer service, Gélinas said the public may never know if they are implemented if the utility is sold.

"The minute this becomes a private company, the minute the Liberals start to sell Hydro One, then [the ombudsman] loses any access to them," she said.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now