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Utility company fined for billing practices

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Wyse Meter Solutions Inc. had charged students on a building’s total energy consumption instead of a student’s individual use. Instead, the Ontario Energy Board investigation found the company had prorated the consumption, which resulted in the amount of consumption shown on each’s student bill was not the actual amount used by the student. 

The Ontario Energy Board has fined a utility company $65,000 after an investigation into billing practices.

A media release from the OEB states it has fined Wyse Meter Solutions Inc, a submetering company.

The practice of submetering is used by landlords to split utility costs from one bill for one building into separate bills for each tenant.

This is achieved by installing a submeter for each unit. Submetering is often used in privately-owned student housing.

Late last year, several complaints regarding the company came to the OEB, and later some students, including those in an Oshawa apartment building, took their concerns to the media.

The inspection also found that the manner in which Wyse was billing customers living in certain student housing buildings was not consistent with the requirement under the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010 to bill based on electricity consumption as measured by a meter. In these buildings, several students share a suite with only one electricity meter. On each student’s bill, Wyse would prorate the electricity consumption as measured by the suite’s meter, with the result that the amount of consumption shown on each student’s bill was not the amount that the student actually used in the period.

A statement from the board says its inspection found that Wyse was also not compliant with provincial requirements to disclose information to customers.

In particular, the company wasn’t revealing its fees and charges on the first bill sent to customers, or contracts.

The OEB found the company was also not displaying all required information on bills, such as a customer’s historical consumption, as required under the Ontario Energy Act.

Upon the completion of the OEB inspection, the company made changes to its bills and contracts to rectify these issues. Wyse has also notified current customers that bills and contracts were brought into compliance.

“The inspection and assurance… of compliance reflect the OEB’s commitment to protect energy consumers, and result in positive outcomes for Wyse customers,” says Brian Hewson, vice-president of consumer protection and industry performance for the OEB.

After the introduction of Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, by the Ford government, the OEB no longer has the authority to set rates for submetering companies.

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