The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) says North Bay Hydro has over-collected money from its sole shareholder, the City of North Bay, by over $18,000.
As a result, North Bay Hydro proposed a contribution of $18,700 to the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) to help customers in need, and the OEB agreed. Hydro will also pay an administrative monetary penalty of $1,000.
The OEB is the independent regulator of Ontario’s electricity and natural gas sectors.
Under the terms of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, North Bay Hydro acknowledges that a billing system error resulted in a small number of customers in the Street Lighting, Sentinel Lights and Unmetered Scattered Load rate classes in North Bay were being charged more than certain OEB-approved charges for several years. Customers in other rate classes, such as residential and commercial customers, were not affected.
"The total amount over-collected over the four years, before the issue was corrected by North Bay Hydro for bills covering usage starting from July 2022, is approximately $18,700. Of that amount, more than 90% relates to the Street Lighting Class. The only customer in the Street Lighting and Unmetered Scattered Load classes is the City of North Bay, which is also North Bay Hydro's sole shareholder," says an OEB release.
Earlier this year, after a billing issue relating to the proration of certain charges came to the OEB’s attention, the OEB asked all electricity distributors to review their billing systems and advise the OEB if customers were being overcharged as a result of the same issue. North Bay Hydro reviewed its billing system and reported that it had been incorrectly prorating its fixed monthly charges for three of its rate classes and as a result overcharged customers in those rate classes.
An AVC is a binding commitment by a regulated entity to take measures to rectify or prevent non-compliance. Failure to abide by the terms of an AVC can lead to enforcement action being taken by the OEB.
"Billing accuracy is foundational to customer trust and the OEB is assured that North Bay Hydro has fixed this billing issue,” said Brian Hewson, Vice-President, Consumer Protection & Industry Performance.
For more, see:
- Read the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance
- Learn about the OEB’s Compliance and Enforcement Process