Sudbury·Updated

Lengthy energy rebate process concerns Sudbury Hydro One customer

A Sudbury man says Hydro One hasn't given him an electricity rebate he qualified for in February, which Hydro One is disputing.

Pete Leduc says he applied in January, was told the rebate would take a few weeks to be applied

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas is appealing to the province to make the Ontario Energy Board rebate retro-active for those who qualify late in the year. (CBC)

A Sudbury man says Hydro One hasn't given him an electricity rebate he qualified for in February.

Pete Leduc says he applied in January, and Hydro One contacted him late in February to say he would receive $30 off his monthly bill.

The utility said it would take a few weeks to be applied — and Leduc is still waiting.

The Ontario Electricity Support Program is meant to help low income people pay some of their electricity bill, and is touted to save families between $30 and $75 a month.

Low income earners must first apply to the Ontario Energy Board for the rebate, then the OEB decides whether they can receive it. If yes, the OEB informs the utility that is being used, so it can deduct the money from your bill.

A spokeswoman for Hydro One said if a customer is waiting for the rebate, it's not because Hydro One is taking its time. Hydro One applies the rebate to a customer's bill immediately upon being notified by the OEB, said Tiziana Baccega Rosa. If it comes halfway through a billing period, the full monthly amount will rebated, she said.

As for Leduc, he said it's not a lot, but he is eager to get the rebate. 

"We could all handle the money, we could all handle $50, $30, whatever it is," he said.

"It's always better [to have] $20 in your pocket than somebody else's, isn't it?

'Doesn't pass the smell test'

Nickel Belt NDP MPP France Gelinas says Hydro One did a poor job of advertising the rebate for low-income earners.

The OEB program started in January, but her constituents only got a flyer in their March bill explaining what it is.

"There is a number of barriers to apply, then the wait time of two- to six weeks and then the fact that they did not know until three months into the year and it's not retro-active," she said.

"It doesn't pass the smell test at my end."

The utility also disagrees with these comments, said Baccega Rosa. Hydro One started advertising the program last November through flyers, calls to customers, and dedicated pages on its websites as well as through tweeting, she said.

Leduc, a retired transport driver, said he spends a lot of time searching for rebates to make ends meet.

"There's always month left over after the money," he said.

"I started researching if there was any government rebates, which there always is at certain times. You gotta keep up on them yourself because they don't advise you most of the time."

Gelinas said she is appealing to the province to make the rebate retro-active for those who qualify late in the year.

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