Hydro One Ombudsman by Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan
Shirley Dolan

With the sale of Hydro One by the Wynne government, the Ontario Ombudsman no longer has oversight of the utility. Instead, reporting directly to the board of directors, Fiona Crean is the Ombudsman for Hydro One. Like many of you, I am sure, I was skeptical that Ms. Crean could be effective working within the utility. So I went to a couple of meetings in Ottawa to find out more about her role and how she could help Hydro One customers.

The first meeting I attended was in Greely, a rural village in Ottawa. Crean clearly outlined her responsibilities, and as I suspected, she can do nothing about electricity rates. But there are a number of things she can do. As with the previous Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin, she can investigate billing issues. And yes, these are still happening. She can also look at other items such as the density designations in rural communities.

Many people complain that their delivery charges are as much or more that their fee for electrical usage. Part of the reason for this can be attributed to the density designation. The flat rate portion of your delivery charge per month varies as follows: $22.86 for urban density, $30.88 for medium density, and $43.32 for low density. Crean has discovered through complaints from customers that some residents are being charged as low density when they should be medium density. She has been successful in having some of these designations reviewed and changed thereby saving the ratepayer money every month on their hydro bill.


At another meeting in Kinburn (also an Ottawa village), I complained about the practice of Hydro One of removing trees that interrupted service and leaving the debris in the ditch. Calls to the City of Ottawa and to Hydro One to remove the debris led to each saying the other was responsible. Trees had fallen on the power lines within the last six months – the trees were old and quite large and could have led to flooding if not removed from the ditch.

Given that I live in a low density area and pay the highest rate for delivery charges and that 60% of that revenue was supposed to be spent of maintaining the lines, I complained that I was not getting my money’s worth. There were also several dead trees just waiting to come down on the power lines. Given that two had already caused power outages, I thought the utility should come out and have a look – a little preventive medicine.

I submitted my complaint to the Ombudsman following the meeting, and long story short, Hydro One not only cleaned up the debris in the ditch but also removed half a dozen hazardous trees just waiting to take out the power lines. All this happened within two weeks of attending the meeting in Kinburn.

As Ms. Crean said “Complaining is good”. If you don’t complain, she can’t help you. It will take a change of government to fix the energy sector problems we have here in Ontario. In the meantime, if you think you have a problem with Hydro One that their ombudsman, Fiona Crean, can help with, contact her at:

Toll free telephone: 1-844-608-8756
Toronto telephone: 416-345-1505
TTY: 416-345-5839
Fax: 416-345-6129
Email: Ombudsman@HydroOne.com
Website: http://www.hydrooneombudsman.com