On March 14, 2016, the Office of the Hydro One Ombudsman officially opened. The Ombudsman, Fiona Crean, and her team are tasked with assessing, investigating and resolving complaints from the public, including the company’s 1.3 million customers, about the operations of Hydro One and its three subsidiaries, Hydro One Networks, Hydro One Remote Communities and Hydro One Telecom. Ms. Crean will report to the Board of Directors.
The role of the Hydro One Ombudsman was created as part of the legislative amendments to permit the partial privatization of Hydro One. In addition to addressing individual complaints, the Ombudsman is empowered to launch formal investigations into broader systemic problems or patterns. As well, the Ombudsman can initiate an investigation without a complaint if she thinks something may be wrong or needs improvement with a set of policies or delivery of a service. If a complainant is not satisfied with the process undertaken by the Office of the Ombudsman, they are still able to take their concerns to the Ontario Energy Board.
Prior to the creation of the Office of the Hydro One Ombudsman, the company was subject to oversight by the Ontario Ombudsman. In May 2015, the Ontario Ombudsman released a report, In the Dark, detailing its investigation into the transparency of Hydro One billing practices and the timeliness and effectiveness of its process for responding to customer concerns. The report detailed how problems with a new computer system resulted in billing errors and customer service issues for thousands of Hydro One customers.
The Office of the Hydro One Ombudsman can be reached at 1-844-608-8756 (or 416-345-1505) or at hydrooneombudsman.com.