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An Investigation into Toronto Hydro’s Process for Customer-Owned Infrastructure

What Happened

35 years after purchasing a property, Mr. A. received a notice from Toronto Hydro telling him he was responsible for approximately $20,000 of repairs to an underground hydro vault he did not know about and was never told he owned.

Our Investigation

After receiving a complaint from Mr. A., we launched an investigation into Toronto Hydro’s process for managing customer-owned infrastructure, such as hydro vaults, and how it was applied in Mr. A’s case.

What We Found

Our investigation found that Toronto Hydro’s poor communication and lack of clear and consistent internal processes for the establishment, inspection, maintenance, and enforcement of customer-owner infrastructure, such as hydro vaults, allowed for Mr. A. to fall through the cracks. This was unfair.

  • Did not tell Mr. A. about his obligations concerning the vault, resulting in decades of accumulated repair costs totalling half his annual salary.  
  • Did not notify Mr. A. before going on his property to inspect the vault, which it is legally required to do.
  • Inspectors do not refer to the results of previous inspections and provide conflicting directions on what needs to be repaired, which can result in additional costs and unnecessary anxiety for the customer.

Our Impact

We made 13 recommendations to improve Toronto Hydro’s treatment of Mr. A., including that it cover the $20,000 cost for repairs, and to ensure others do not end up in the same situation.