‘We should have communicated with customers sooner’: Enbridge responds to Napanee customer frustrations
A number of Napanee-area Enbridge Gas customers have grown increasingly frustrated with the company recently after delays left many residents without a gas bill for several months. A recent post to the “What’s Going On Napanee?” Facebook group about Enbridge generated over 150 comments, as customers from Napanee and the surrounding area voiced their displeasure with the natural gas provider regarding the delays.
In the post, dated February 5, 2023, a number of customers shared that they had not received a bill from Enbridge in months. “I haven’t received a bill since November,” said one user. “I haven’t [received] a bill since October. I’ve been calling them and asking when this will be corrected,” added another. The social media users’ names are being withheld as the Facebook group is private.
Several residents have since informed Kingstonist that their bills were finally received last week. According to Krista Luxton, Communications Advisor, External Communications, Enbridge Gas Inc., the delays were a result of “technical error[s].”
“In the fall of 2022, a technical error affected the billing cycles for customers in a specific area of the province, which included the town of Greater Napanee. Typically billing issues are resolved rather quickly; however, in this particular case, we experienced some localized challenges, and the resolution was not implemented until only recently.”
Luxton added that the company “sincerely regret[s] the error, and we recognize that we should have communicated with customers sooner.” To make it up to customers who have recently received bills for several months of service, Luxton noted that Enbridge will provide payment plan options. “We are happy to work with customers to arrange payment plans. Customers can make payment arrangements through their MyAccount online, or by calling our customer contact centre.”
Billing delays not the only source of frustration for one Enbridge customer
While the billing delays seem to be resolved, at least for now, one Napanee resident is still experiencing a number of issues with the company which have been occurring for months, if not years.
Like many Enbridge customers in Greater Napanee, Andrea Grant had not received a gas bill in several months when she got a mysterious letter, supposedly issued by the company, earlier this month.
“It [had] my billing number and my account number on it, but I didn’t know if it was a scam. It certainly [didn’t] look like any sort of professional letter,” Grant said. The letter, which contained Enbridge letterhead but no signature and was dated November 2021, stated that Grant’s meter had been crossed with that of another customer.
“A crossed meter situation can occur when a meter is first installed, or when a meter exchange takes place,” read the letter. “The problem is most often reported by our meter reading department, and it is our mandate to correct these as soon as they are identified.” After reading reports of scams involving Enbridge, Grant said she was initially unsure about the letter’s legitimacy.
However, Grant said, “It turned out the number was not actually a scam number; it is actually a legitimate number to call them.” After verifying that the letter was valid, Grant set up an appointment for a representative from Enbridge to come to inspect her meter. “Sure enough, it was legitimate: they have confirmed that my meter’s crossed [with another].”
The notice regarding the crossed meters was not the first time Grant received alarming news in the form of a letter from Enbridge. In September 2022, she was sent an unusually high bill of $1,400, which Enbridge later confirmed was the result of a misreading on her meter.
By October, Grant said, the charges returned to their usual rate. Once she received her next bill in February 2023, the fee was consistent with what she typically pays Enbridge. “[Last week] my bill was $1,100, which is what it was supposed to be… Because it’s $250 a month, so that adds up.”
While Grant’s bill has returned to its usual amount, the resident remains unsure how the crossed meter situation has impacted her billing over the years. “I’ve called them several times because my bill is super high. I don’t heat with gas, [but] my bill is $250 all year round. I was told ‘Gas is expensive, this is the price…’ Maybe that [was] the case… but now they’re admitting there’s been a cross.”
In the weeks since she first posted the letter to Facebook, Grant has had a number of calls from representatives of Enbridge, but there is still no resolution in sight for the Napanee resident. As of publication of this article, Grant does not yet know how long her meter has been crossed, or to what extent the issue has impacted her billing in recent years.
“I really have no way of knowing… how much I’ve overpaid on somebody else’s bill… The [Enbridge representative] said it may have been this way for a couple [of] years,” she said. Following her latest call with Enbridge, Grant was told to expect more information from the company in the next two weeks.
When reached by Kingstonist for comment, Krista Luxton of Enbridge said, “We cannot comment on specific customer issues.” However, the company did shed light on how utility meters can become crossed in the first place. “A crossed meter can occur for a number of different reasons. For example, a human error in placing an incorrect meter number on a work order. When this occurs, our process is to connect with the customer via a letter outlining the issue,” stated Luxton.
“Sometimes the error can be corrected internally, and sometimes a technician is required to visit the property. In this case, a scheduled appointment would be made with the resident at a mutually agreed-upon time.”
In cases like Grant’s, where customers may have been overpaying for an extended period of time, Luxton added, “The customer’s bill is adjusted accordingly. Any overpayment is credited directly to their account. The same would apply if they were under-billed.”
In terms of how long it could take to resolve an issue like Grant’s, Luxton said, “The timing for this can vary depending on when we can schedule an appointment with the customer if required.”
Despite a lack of definitive answers from Enbridge and no clear resolution in sight, Grant had nothing but positive things to say about the customer service representatives she’s dealt with. “Every person I’ve [spoken] with has been absolutely lovely. I can’t complain about that.”