A Pembroke small business owner is facing a giant bill from Hydro One.

Mike Moss, the owner of M. Moss and Son Manufacturing, was slapped a mandatory security deposit of more than six-thousand dollars or risk being cut off.  He says it was a penalty for missing a partial payment of a little more than $500.

Mike Moss says fortunately that fine was reversed earlier today after he complained to Hydro One and complained on air on Newstalk Radio CFRA. Hydro One maintains those security deposits are levied on people with a history of faulty payments.

Moss has run his millwork business on the outskirts of Pembroke for 12 years, paying a whole lot of hydro fees over that time.

“I paid them $430,000 in hydro since I’ve been in this building,” Moss says, bills in hand.

Imagine his surprise, he says, when he opened his mail Friday to find a $9053.43 bill from Hydro One., including $513.81 unpaid from a previous bill, more than $2,200 for the new month plus a $6287 security deposit for missing that $513 in the first place. Of the $2252.41 total on the bill, only $223.10 is actually electricity charges.  $670.68 goes towards the Global Adjustment fee, $993.30 is for the delivery charge, $55.49 for Debt Retirement and $259.13 is for HST.

“It’s very unfair that someone doesn't look at my hydro and say, “Hey, that Mike is a good guy, we've known him for 12 years, he’s missed a $500, let's give him a call.”

Moss claims he has never defaulted on hydro bills in the past.  Hydro One, though, says it requests a security deposit only when a customer exhibits a poor payment history.

"Security deposits act as a protection to all ratepayers, Hydro One’s Tiziana Baccega Rosa said in a statement, "as they are only used when a customer defaults on their account.”

The Ontario Energy Board recently brought in guidelines governing the use of security deposits; when they can be applied and how much can be charged. Customers can ask to have the payments spread out over six months.  You will get your money back with a full year of a good payment history.

After telling his story on Newstalk 580 CFRA this morning, Moss made another call to Hydro One and says the security deposit, and the threat of being disconnected, disappeared.

“She said we will reverse it this time and pushed a button and it went away.”

Moss says that is encouraging news and a signal, that after thousands of complaints against the utility company, Hydro One seems to be softening its approach.

Ontario's ombudsman launched its biggest ever investigation into complaints against Hydro One with more than 10-thousand complaints in all.  But that ended when the utility was removed from under the watchdog's scrutiny. Hydro One now has its own ombudsman.