E.L.K. Energy Fined $23,000
E.L.K Energy is coming out of pocket $23,000 after an inspection into the company's disconnection practices.
After customer complaints, the Ontario Energy board (OEB) found that between May and November of 2019, the Essex based utilities company wrongly sent out approximately 2,000 disconnection notices which resulted in 111 customers having their electricity disconnected.
OEB Vice President of Consumer Protection, Brian Hewson tells AM800 News, to put it simply, the company provided incorrect information to its customers which led to the risk of customers being disconnected for invalid reasons.
"They didn't provide correct information about what the customer owed in order to avoid being disconnected. And in a number of cases, they also provided an inappropriate or incorrect information about when the customer might be disconnected."
According to Hewson, there are very specific rules as it relates to customers being told exactly how much they owe for electricity service before a service is disconnected.
"What E.L.K was providing was a bill that also included water and sewer amounts," he says. "So the customer was not being provided clear information on what they needed to ensure their electricity service continued."
Hewson says the process the company followed led to notices saying the customer may be disconnected over a longer period than what is allowed under OEB's rules.
"We have very specific timelines for disconnection processes so customers are given clear notice and they know exactly what the time frame is in which they could get disconnected," adding, "We don't want customers to feel that they're unable to respond in a timely way."
E.L.K. Energy will pay an administrative monetary penalty of $18,000 and make an additional payment of $5,000 to the social agency that runs the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) in E.L.K. Energy's service territory.
All of the customers who were wrongly disconnected and were charged reconnection fees have all been reimbursed.