PUC customers are looking for some answers, claiming they have recently seen a surprising increase in their bills. Many took to a local Facebook group to vent their frustrations.
They claim a third-party contractor tasked with obtaining water meter readings had not been conducting any readings for a months-long period beginning in March of this year.
They say they have since been blindsided by exceedingly high utility bills.
PUC says it does use a third-party contractor – which they did not identify – to conduct meter readings, adding that they had put a stop to in-person readings in and around houses in the interest of health and safety in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The utility says in the absence of in-person readings, they estimated consumption between March and the Phase 3 reopening and that customers were informed of this on their bills.
However, some customers claim they were not notified.
Some are also questioning why outdoor meter readings were suspended and why customers themselves were not able to read the meters and send in the readings to the utility.
PUC does acknowledge that a change in electricity rates in Ontario and the move from estimates to actuals on water reads may be causing some high utility bills and what they call “affordability challenges.”
One PUC customer referred to their bill increase as “shocking.”
PUC says estimated readings are never the same as actual readings, and that some customers will see a larger increase based on consumption.