Friday, December 4, 2015

Ombudsman ends probe of 10,500 complaints into Hydro One; loses oversight

TORONTO -- Ontario's ombudsman has wrapped up investigations into 10,500 complaints about billing errors at Hydro One, but the provincial watchdog can't look into any more problems at the utility because it's being privatized.

The Liberal government sold 15 per cent of Hydro One on the Toronto stock market last month, and plans to privatize 60 per cent of the utility to raise $9 billion to pay down debt and fund infrastructure projects.

The change from 100 per cent public ownership means the ombudsman's office no longer has any authority to investigate customer complaints about Hydro One, a role the government says will be filled by an in-house ombudsman.

Acting ombudsman Barbara Finlay was given until Friday to wrap up about 600 outstanding complaints about Hydro One as part of the office's largest investigation ever.

Another 648 complaints poured into the Ombudsman's office since June, but Finlay says all of those will have to be dealt with by Hydro One's internal complaints mechanism, which will be established in the new year.  (more...)

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