November 23, 2017 6:08 pm
Updated: November 23, 2017 6:10 pm

Hydro One wants permission to offer pre-paid electricity

The pre-paid meters would minimize Hydro One's financial risk by requiring customers to pay for energy before using it, the utility said in an application to the Ontario Energy Board.

Roberto Machado Noa / File / LightRocket / Getty Images
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TORONTO – Hydro One is considering allowing its customers to use pre-paid meters for their electricity use.

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The proposal is contained within a massive Ontario Energy Board application, which also asks for a rate increase of 0.5 per cent this year and 4.8 per cent next year.

The application says the pre-paid meters would minimize Hydro One’s financial risk by requiring customers to pay for energy before using it — in particular for customers who are deemed to be a high collection risk.

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: The power of change in Ontario’s Power

LISTEN: NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns on pre-paid electricity

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But Hydro One’s executive vice-president of customer care and corporate affairs says it would not be used as a collection tool.

Ferio Pugliese says if the OEB allows Hydro One to move forward with pre-paid meters, they would be offered to customers as a choice and wouldn’t be forced upon anyone.

READ MORE: Customer could pay steep price for Ontario’s hydro plan, Auditor warns

He also says — despite language in Hydro One’s application — that customers would not be disconnected once their pre-payment ran out.

LISTEN: Are pre-paid hydro meters a good idea? Former energy minister Chris Stockwell weighs in

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