Hydro One is NOT the only guilty party when it comes to a lack of proper customer service. Oshawa PUC Networks Inc. (referred to henceforth as Oshawa PUC), is every bit as guilty. Makes me wonder just how many MORE residents of Oshawa are being ripped off as I have been.
When my hydro bills started increasing beyond what I deemed to be my proper usage, I telephoned 905-723-4623, asking for help, only to reach a customer service reps that, I learned later, were instructed to humour hydro customers (me) by assuring me there was no problem with the meter.
The same thing happened each and every time I telephoned Oshawa PUC, asking to have my “budget plan” increase well beyond what I had been paying. My complaints were met with the same thing every time and if truly frustrated me. There have been NO changes in my household appliances… in fact, all during the summer of 2013, for the first time EVER using my A/C, I turned it OFF between the hot spells hoping to see a major drop in hydro usage… but, that was NOT the case.
Late in July 2013, after receiving another monthly hydro bill, I got a customer service rep who actually listened and reviewed my previous years of usage …AND… he agreed with me. He said something like, “yeah, if I were you, I’d suspect a neighbour was stealing hydro from me. Your usage is well beyond what it should be.”
However, all he could suggest was for me to turn off one breaker at a time for several hours to see what was causing the drain on hydro. Oshawa PUC no longer tests to see exactly what might be causing the over usage.
In speaking with a neighbour, he suggested that if I have several years of hydro bills in my possession, perhaps I should put them on a spreadsheet to see just how bad things really are.
Once I did this, the same neighbour was horrified to see just how ridiculous my charges had become, and, he suggested taking all of this… my 10 years worth of previous hydro bills …AND… the spreadsheet showing the extreme monthly increases, down to the Oshawa PUC office at 100 Simcoe Street South. Perhaps then, he had said, someone might be more willing to help me.
Boy! Was he EVER wrong.
A lady who introduced herself as Dawn came out to the front counter, when I asked the lady at the wicket for help. After quickly scanning my information and listening to me begging her for help, she informed me that maaaaybe there was something she could do …but, she’d have to ask her boss.
When I ask what that might be, she said she’d like to send a fella out to test the meter, to make sure the GSP (Global Positioning System) is reading the proper meter. I was SHOCKED to think that might be the case and agreed to her suggestion of providing her with my email address so she could let me know the decision.
I called my neighbour and read out the email to him. Again, he was shocked as he said that had found Oshawa PUC to have been VERY helpful in years past. When I asked him if he’d had to deal with them since the Smart Meters were installed, he said, “No.”. I suggested that perhaps they’ve been instructed to give this “cookie-cutter” type of response no matter WHO complained with whatever information, as this is nearly word of word what several other service reps had said to me when I telephoned for help… except the rep I spoke with in late July.
My neighbour recommended that I contact the Mayor to see if he could do something to help.
Thankfully, after many emails back and forth, and many telephone calls made by Mayor Henry to Oshawa PUC on my behalf, he had them come out and replace the meter.
Oshawa PUC informed me that they would be sending the meter in to be check over and if it was proven to be faulty they consider reimbursing me any moneys over charged.
After the meter was changed, my next month’s hydro bill drop right back down to what it had been in previous months before the Smart Meter started acting up and charging me nearly THREE times the real usage.
You can well imagine, I was anxious to hear back from Measurements Canada, “certain” I would receive a reimbursement… I mean, come on, wasn’t it OBVIOUS.
But… that was not the case.
Am offering you a PDF copy of the letter I received from Enforcement Officer Steven Roy who works for Measurements Canada. Needless to say, I was SHOCKED to learn his claim that there was NOTHING wrong with the meter. What?
Back I went to Mayor Henry in hope of receiving his help once again, only to be deflected to a CEO of Oshawa PUC Atul, who promptly informed me that I would NOT be receiving a refund because Measurements Canada deemed the meter to be okay.
After reviewing Steven Roy’s letter again, I noticed the letter was written to me on EXACTLY the same day as he claimed the testing of the meter was conducted. Thus, I had questions for him.
In my letter (of which I offer you a PDF copy of here to read), I politely asked him for more information… “Example: length of time the testing took place, and the load put on the meter for the different peak hours (off-peak, mid-peak, on-peak).”
…and, to date, my letter has been totally ignored.
I have had family members and friends make several different suggestions as to whom to contact for help. Recently, among the suggestions was The Ontario Ombudsman …whom suggested I contact my Member of Parliament (MP) because Measurements Canada is an agency of the Federal Government.
I have been in touch with my MP’s office and one of his support staff is having someone looking into my issues now. Time will tell as to whether anything will come of this or not.
Now, to get to the reason I am posting this
…my reason is this… to save YOU a LOT of hassles AND money!
My recommendation to you: Do NOT wait to get help from ANYONE.
Have your hydro service provider change your meter as soon as you suspect any problems… though you will be charged $85 if YOU request it changed. However that charge is substantially less than I have paid in over charges. Note in the screen print below:
If you would like to be able to track your hydro usage as I have, here is a FREE BLANK Excel 2007 file in a zip file, for your ease of downloading. It’s ready for your use, and instructions are offered inside the file.
UPDATE: April 8, 2014 – after dancing with several different media sources AND Ontario Ombudsman, I was advised to reach out to my local MP whom is Colin Carrie. After doing so, Greg Howard contacted me on Mr. Carrie’s behalf and Greg was able to nudge someone into nudging Steven Roy into contacting me via email. Mr. Roy claimed he never received my letter, and here is a PDF form of Steven Roy’s response to my original letter.
Mr. Roy’s email looks very much like the technical letter I received by post …and to his credit, he contacted me when he did not hear back from me. Here’s Mr. Roy’s question to me… along with my response …which to date remains unanswered.
Given the recent discovery of spiders affecting Mazda’s sedans, it makes me wonder if the elements or “Mother Nature” is causing the “Smart Meters” to malfunction in reporting actual hydro usage. What’s your take on this issue?
UPDATE: May 1, 2014 – after lengthily periods of silence followed by many emails back and forth, Mr. Roy sent me a Statement of Complaint form in PDF format. Today, I filled it in, printed it, signed it, scanned it, and sent it along with scanned copies of ALL the monthly bills in dispute. Time will tell if this truly gets resolved, or if I’m pushed aside with even more legal jargon or not.
No matter the results, I will be back here sharing the outcome with everyone. Please do keep sharing this post as the more people get involved with these faulty smart meters the better.
UPDATE: June 25, 2014 – The Statement of Complaint form that Mr. Roy had me fill in, apparently he decided to have it cover the replacement Smart Meter… the one that is reporting the proper usage as this point in time… even though the form clearly states the dates of the original Smart Meter. Mr. Roy had a worker from Oshawa PUC come out to remove the replacement Smart Meter… and, of course, I refused to allow him to do this. This gentleman explained that apparently I had filed a dispute regarding the replacement meter. I told him that was not true, I filed a complaint on the over charges from the original meter. I immediately emailed Mr. Roy, who was quick to inform me that my dispute was filed on the replacement meter. REALLY? I filled in the form according to his suggestion, and used all dates detailing my complaint of the over charges from the original Smart Meter.
Now, I’m back to Colin Carrie’s office waiting to find out what to do next, as the replacement meter CLEARLY shows how the previous Smart Meter was NOT working correctly. What a joke this whole Smart Meter “stuff” is; Is it any wonder that Smart Meter Removal has begun in California! California is WAY ahead of Ontario when it comes to being fair to the public that’s for sure.
UPDATE: To date, NO POLITICAL PARTY will touch my issue regarding hydro’s overcharges. The province government is in charge of hydro rates and the federal government are in charge of monitoring the meters.
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