Or WTF Hydro One?

By Jennifer Marley

In our business, we believe in Brands.  We help create them.  We help measure them.  And we see the impact that a great brand can have on a business.  Brands are a powerful thing.  So that leads me to the WTF Hydro One? part of this story.  I’m not talking about the recent hydro outages due to the ice storm.  I’m sure Hydro One performed admirably in getting its customers out of the cold and back online.  I’m talking about the basics…accurate and consistent billing.  The company’s website talks about their 100 years of history providing power since 1906.  So accurate billing shouldn’t be a NEW thing for them, should it?

Here’s what I mean…Customers in the Markdale/Flesherton area have lost trust and are angry.  Hydro One has not only NOT fixed the problem, but this has been going on for over a year for some customers!

  • One customer received a $25,000 bill for their summer property.  After 6 months of fighting with them, the bill changed to $1,000.   Her quote “Just terrible”.
  • Another customer gives the example of getting a bill in 2012 for over $77,000! It took her months to straighten out only to be followed up with another bill for over $80,000.  After that, bills didn’t arrive at all.  When she contacted them again, the missing bills were then delivered to her showing the wrong address!  So yet another surprise with bills saying she owed over $1900 even though she continued to pay monthly during this time.  Her quote “What a nightmare!”
  • Jim and Lynn Ellis were actually published in the local newspaper Letter to the Editor section on Jan 1st 2014.  They tell of a similar tale…after not receiving bills for months; being told by Hydro One that they had a credit of $1300; they received for $3477 followed by another 12 days later for $1100.  Hydro One said they’d made an error 20 months previously and that they were now billing for that…their quote…”Have I got a shocking Hydro One story for you!”
  • A quick Twitter search shows people complaining about bills not coming for months.  Then 6 bills in 6 days.  And again…wild inaccuracies that couldn’t possibly be right.
  • The most outrageous example has to be the bill received on September 13, 2013 by Beaver Valley Ski Club.  The bill (I kid you not) was for $36,658,510.75!  And this in the summer months too!

Ok Hydro One….we are here to help.  And our invoices for consulting time are comparatively extremely low.  Meanwhile, here are some thoughts to get you started:

SW+A’s Three Definitions of a Brand:

  1. A promise of future expectations: A brand must be trusted to consistently measure up to its promise.  Everyday.  At every touchpoint.
  2. Earns an emotional connection with its stakeholder: Stakeholders have a unique emotional connection with your brand.
  3. Is your behaviours: Behaviours are aligned to core values…”it’s not what you say, it’s what you do.”

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