Published on January 20, 2019

March 12, 2014

By RICHARD J. BRENNAN Provincial Politics

The Progressive Conservatives are calling for Hydro One president and CEO Carmine Marcello to resign immediately over the billing fiasco that has gripped the Crown corporation.

Waving a bill a constituent received for $233,692.70, Tory MPP Jeff Yurek (Elgin—Middlesex—London) said Wednesday it is further evidence that Marcello should leave.

“It is unbelievable that a Crown corporation of the government . . . is sending out this type of billing . . . it is ridiculous. Hydro One needs a change,” Yurek told reporters at Queen’s Park.

The questionable billing is all part of what Ontario ombudsman André Marin says is the result of “egregious errors” by an uncaring Crown corporation, which has 1.4 million customers.

“It is obvious that the culture at Hydro One isn’t one of customer service or care and I can’t see it changing with the CEO who created the culture, who still is in place,” said Yurek, who refused to name the family-owned grain elevator business.

Meanwhile, Marin’s office is probing Hydro One’s billing practices that resulted in cases of customers being billed thousands of dollars for unclear reasons. So far, the office has received 6,661 complaints.

Marcello has vowed to fix the billing problem, the result of a $153.7-million customer system changeover in May.

“I am begging their indulgence here,” he told the Star last month.

Yurek said his constituent received a bill last October for more than $233,000 for a six-month period and has yet to have it corrected by Hydro One. The rural business is ordinarily billed $2,000 to $3,000 a month. The MPP noted that the owners had a $7,000 credit from the utility for previous billing mistakes.

“In the private sector such a monumental failure to deliver the service would lead to executives getting fired and a new team brought in to clean up the mess. Instead, this (Liberal) government has taken a half measure by appointing a former Liberal cabinet minister (Sandra Pupatello) . . . to the chair of Hydro One,” he said.

“To that end, I am echoing the calls from colleagues and demanding that the CEO of Hydro One resign immediately. This will not resolve the problems overnight but it’s an important necessary first step.”

A Hydro One spokeswoman, however, gave a different story on the bill, saying the amount was corrected last October, 10 days after it was brought to the utility’s attention and that since then the customer has been receiving bills with the correct amount.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said this level of service isn’t acceptable to Hydro One and isn’t acceptable to the minority Liberal government.

“The CEO has publicly apologized and is taking strong action to address these customer concerns. As the shareholder of Hydro One, the province shares in that apology,” he said in an email statement.

Chiarelli said the Tories would send energy prices even higher by spending $15 billion on unneeded new nuclear power, and by implementing their Million Job Act, which he says would cancel clean energy contracts at a cost of up to $20 billion.