TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2022 /CNW/ - The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has accepted an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) from Enbridge Gas Inc. (Enbridge), the rate-regulated gas distributor that serves the majority of natural gas customers in the province. This AVC follows a review by the OEB of Enbridge's performance against certain customer service quality requirements (SQR) set out in the OEB's Gas Distribution Access Rule (GDAR). Under the terms of this AVC, Enbridge will pay an administrative monetary penalty of $250,000.
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.
The OEB initiated its review in mid-2021 as a result of an increase in the number of complaints about Enbridge's meter reading and estimated billing activities and its call centre wait times. The impact on customers included: receiving large "catch-up" bills once an actual meter reading was obtained; delays in the return of overpayments, credits owed to them and closing of accounts; and being left on-hold for extended periods of time or having to call for several consecutive days before having their call answered.
The OEB's review found that Enbridge was not in compliance with the SQRs that set minimum service levels in relation to meter reading performance and telephone answering performance. Enbridge has acknowledged the non-compliance and that there have been negative impacts on its customers related to these issues.
Enbridge has developed mitigation plans for achieving compliance on call answering performance in 2022 and for improving its meter reading performance this year as it works towards compliance. These mitigation plans include recruiting temporary staff, working with meter reading vendors and customer outreach and education. Enbridge will provide monthly reporting to the OEB on progress against these mitigation plans.
Enbridge will also place a notice on its website advising customers of this AVC and of the steps they can take to address any concerns they may have about their meters being read in a timely manner.
"The OEB has established service quality requirements for gas distributors to ensure all consumers are provided with a consistent minimum level of service. As a regulated entity, Enbridge is expected to meet these service levels and is held accountable when it does not.
With the actions we have taken, the OEB is assured that Enbridge takes its obligations related to customer service quality requirements seriously and has committed to taking steps to come into compliance." – Brian Hewson, Vice-President, Consumer Protection & Industry Performance
Additional Information and Resources
Read the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance - EB-2022-0188
Learn about the OEB's Compliance and Enforcement Process
About the Ontario Energy Board
The OEB is the independent regulator of Ontario's electricity and natural gas sectors. It protects the interests of consumers and supports the collective advancement of the people of Ontario. Its goal is to deliver public value through prudent regulation and independent adjudicative decision-making which contributes to Ontario's economic, social and environmental development.
For more information, please visit the OEB website at oeb.ca or contact us directly.
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SOURCE Ontario Energy Board
View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/September2022/15/c1009.html