Can you really trust Enbridge’s billing?

EnbridgeAs a child I used to come home from school and search the mail to see if I had received a letter. It was one of the most exciting things in the world whenever there was a letter for me. I was always jealous that my dad got tons of mail each day. He would try and explain that all of his mail was bills, but that didn’t curb my jealousy.

Fast forward to this week when my dream came true when I received not one, but TWO bills from Enbridge, our energy supplier. The best part was that the bills were for different amounts, yet both dated November 2, 2010.

Confused?

So was I!

Especially when both amounts were due on November 22, 2010 and would be automatically withdrawn from my bank account.

After 10 minutes through a voice mail tree this morning that would make Rogers or Bell envious, I was finally connected to a live person (pressing “0” when lost in the tree apparently still works).

The customer service agent explained that I received two bills because they had had an issue with my September meter reading so they never sent me a bill for September. Instead, I was left paying double for November.

While we clearly save for the “unexpected”, a bill like this is slightly irritating to our family’s cash flow. I can’t imagine what it would do to a low income family in this province that is unable to make up the difference.

When we first bought our house, we signed up for Enbridge’s equal billing program, which estimates the annual cost of a bill and then spreads it out evenly over the year so that the household is not hit with astronomically high bills in the winter.

When I suggested to the customer service agent that a phone call or an e-mail to let us know they were having trouble with our bill would have been a nice courtesy so we could adjust our finances accordingly, her response was that, “You pay the same amount each month so you could have paid your bill last month.”

The irony is that I sign up for equal billing payments via direct deposit so I don’t have to think about paying bills like my dad used to do – he would spend hours managing the family finances. I am able to set all our bills to automatic direct deposit and know exactly how much money we need to have in our account each month to cover these bills.

But my question to Enbridge is that if I should have known how much my bill was each month and could have paid it, then why could they not have just sent the bill to me regardless of the meter reading? The amount would have been the same, regardless, because I’m on an equal billing plan. Hmmmmm…

For those of you wondering, your August bill from Enbridge is where they usually make up the deficit (or surplus) for the error in estimation on your annual costs. Enbridge is generally quite accurate and you receive a bill for a little less than your equal monthly payments. This is always nice.

I decided to write this blog as a warning to keep an eye out for your monthly bills to make sure you don’t get stiffed at the end of the day or r caught scrambling to make payments you were not expecting. And finally, as a way to provide feedback to Enbridge, since they really didn’t seem interested in the thoughts of one consumer on the phone.

Lessons Learned:

  • Make sure to save some extra money for those unexpected payments
  • Equal billing payments are a good way to keep your costs consistent throughout the year
  • No company has mastered the automated phone tree system
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About Jaime Stein

Jaime is the Senior Manager, Social Media at Hootsuite. He is a digital marketer with expertise in social media and content marketing. His experience stems from leading the social media strategy for two national brands. Jaime holds an MBA with a focus in Marketing and Strategy from the Rotman School of Management where he was selected valedictorian by the students of the Morning MBA Class of 2011. He is the former radio voice of the Toronto Argonauts and currently lives in Vancouver with his wife and two sons.
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2 Responses to Can you really trust Enbridge’s billing?

  1. Mezba says:

    I never sign up for those automated billing as there is always chances (especially with some cable company that will go unnamed here) of error within the bill – and it’s better to argue with them BEFORE they have your money!

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