Ombudsman closes last Hydro One case – oversight ends today
December 4, 2015
4 December, 2015
The Office of the Ontario Ombudsman has closed its last Hydro One case, as the utility no longer comes under the watchdog’s scrutiny, Acting Ombudsman Barbara Finlay announced today.
(TORONTO – December 4, 2015) - The Office of the Ontario Ombudsman has closed its last Hydro One case, as the utility no longer comes under the watchdog’s scrutiny, Acting Ombudsman Barbara Finlay announced today.
Provisions in the Building Ontario Up Act passed on June 4, 2015, enabled partial privatization of Hydro One, effectively ending the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction over the utility. It gave the Ombudsman six months (ending today) to wrap up any outstanding cases in the wake of the Office’s largest investigation to date, which involved more than 10,000 complaints related to Hydro One billing and customer service. That investigation resulted in the Ombudsman’s May 2015 report In the Dark.
As of June 4, the Ombudsman had 578 pending Hydro One cases. All have been closed over the past six months. In addition, 648 new complaints were received from Hydro One customers after June 4; since the new law prevented the Ombudsman from looking at these, the Office referred complainants back to Hydro One’s internal complaint mechanisms and to the Ontario Energy Board.
The removal of Hydro One from independent oversight was addressed in May in a joint statement signed by eight independent officers of the Legislature, including then-Ombudsman André Marin, the Auditor General, the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Financial Accountability Officer. Hydro One recently announced the creation of an internal ombudsman, to begin taking complaints in 2016.
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