June 23, 2014 3:37 pm

Ombudsman details billing ‘horror’ at Hydro One

Watch above: Alan Carter details the Ombudsman’s annual report. 

If you have any questions about how Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin feels about Hydro One, a glance at the poster to his left during his annual report press conference tells the story.

It shows a large pig with electrical plugs for limbs chewing on a mouthful of bills while sitting atop a stack of cash.

Andre Marin describes customer attempts to have the utility change incorrect billing procedures like fighting a “greased pig.”

A drawing from the Ombusman report shows a large pig with electrical plugs for limbs chewing on a mouthful of bills

Ontario Ombudsman

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The ombudsman office, which is conducting a review of Hydro One, receives about ten calls a day about Hydro One.

Read More: Highlights from the Ombudsman’s annual report

The Liberal government has changed faces at the top, and named former Liberal cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello as chair of the utility, in the hope of getting out in front of the bad headlines sure to come when Marin releases his report later this year.

Marin, whose office has received 7,900 complaints about Hydro One since his 2012/2013 report, told reporters the utility was cooperating fully with his investigation and had “managed to stop the bleeding” although the patient was still in critical. Never one to miss the opportunity for a headline of sound bite, Marin went on to details stories of hydro horror.

“People whose homes have completely burned down and they’re still getting hydro bills, which is my favourite one,” he said.

“It’s actually quite incredible ….  for many of these people it’s been a hopeless quagmire.”

Hydro One CEO Carmine Marcello sent out a response via email during Marin’s press conference saying,  “we have been working tirelessly – and have made progress — to resolve the customer service issues currently before us.”

The Ombudsman’s report into is expected to be released in November.

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