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Ontario Ombudsman launches investigation of Hydro One

Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin has announced a systemic investigation into complaints about serious problems with billing and customer service at Hydro One.

Marin said complaints about the Ontario-owned utility have risen steadily in recent years.

He said he has seem some puzzling complaints.

"We've had complaints about someone whose house burned down and there was no hydro and he was still getting bills," said Marin.

Marin said he has also see a lack of cooperation from Hydro One.

"Sometimes it's like wrestling with a slippery pig," said Marin.

"Our office has helped many Ontarians resolve problems with their bills, but frankly, we've also experienced stonewalling from Hydro One," Marin added in a release. "Our experience reflects what we are hearing from people across the province, and it is alarming."

Members of Ontario's opposition parties are welcoming Marin's report.

"I think he's going to hear more horror stories then he has time to listen to," said Jack MacLaren, the Progressive Conservative MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills. "He's getting huge numbers of people sending in complaints to his office. Every MPP in rural Ontario that has Hydro One delivering electricity is getting huge numbers of complaints. Certainly in my office, the number one complaint is Hydro One."

MacLaren said that is impressive, considering the majority of his riding is serviced by Hydro Ottawa. He said he does not get complaints about that utility.

"Most people are trying to be conscientious," he said. "They know electricity is expensive, they're trying to use less of it, insulate their homes better, whatever it takes to use less or use it at cheaper times and their bills still go way, way up."

Marin's investgation is expected to take nine months.

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