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Ombudsman report on Hydro One is a double-sided lesson for all businesses


There’s a lot of moving parts in any business, and unfortunately, mistakes happen.

That is perhaps no more apparent than in the headlines coming out of Ontario this week in the wake of the province’s Ombudsman report on Hydro One billing errors.

For its part, the publicly run—and soon-to-be partly privatized—utility company has been making and continues to make improvements to address the widespread billing issues.

Those billing mistakes didn’t just affect individuals, either. According to the report, many businesses were affected. “In April, a combination of factors led to a corporate customer receiving a bill for more than $15 million rather than the $4,034.47 owed,” the report highlights. Additionally, the Canadian Army’s Garrison Petawawa was billed more $50 million by mistake.

Perhaps most disconcerting, in that it shows how widespread the billing problem was, is that “more than 40,000 retail accounts” were identified with overly high estimates by Hydro One. “One retailer received six grossly overestimated bills due to one defect including one for more than $3 million.”

While those are extreme examples, even a billing error of 2% is problematic. Energy bills are comprised of several, constantly fluctuating charges, so it can be hard to catch the small errors that could be nibbling away at your bottom line. And that adds up. If your business consumes roughly 10 million kWh per year, billing errors can be up to $50,000 annually.

That’s a significant number and it’s one of the reasons that Bruce Power Direct offers a Bill Verification Program — at no cost or risk to you, we’ll analyze 24 months of your utility statements, and if there’s a mistake, we’ll find it. It’s simple due diligence and you can learn more here.

No business wants to be in Hydro One’s current position, and if anything, there’s double-sided lesson here. Businesses need to not only take a closer look at utility statements (and other bills) to ensure they aren’t overpaying, but it should also serve as reminder to double-check that the invoices sent out to your own customers are accurate.