Do you have an overdue hydro bill?
Published Tuesday, April 24, 2018 6:09PM EDT
The province's ban on hydro companies disconnecting customers for late payments during the winter months comes to an end on May 1st.
That will make for some large bills that some customers might find difficult to pay.
The idea was to ensure electricity, especially electric heating, stayed on for everyone during the coldest months, but the ban on pulling the plug on delinquent customers in Sudbury is affecting hydro's bottom line.
Victoria Benkovich is in communications department of Greater Sudbury Utilities.
"With the disconnection ban in place, we don't have the course of action to shut hydro off. So, as a result, it is easier for customers to go without paying their bill during those months." said Benkovich.
GSU says late or no payments from some can raise hydro rates for all and delay important upgrades to the power grid.
While GSU thinks some customers might have taken the winter ban as an opportunity to take a break from paying their bills, the experience over at Hydro One, on the other hand, has been a little different.
Ferio Pugliese is the Executive Vice President of Customer Care and Corporate Affairs at Hydro One. "We've actually seen both our disconnections come down by 50, roughly 57%, since 2016 and our accounts receivable are also down tracking about the same amount. So, we've got a situation where we've actually got more people connected and more people actually servicing their bill." said Pugliese.
The Hydro One VP says by relaxing collections policies the company has encouraged more customers to get proactive with overdue bills, instead of hiding from them.
GSU also has a saying, that it's in the distribution business, not the disconnection business, and as long as customers reach out to them, they can help them work out a payment plan and keep the lights on.