Letters to the Editor

More tales of woe about BC Hydro

Editor: I am writing in response to the letter to the editor in The Times of Jan. 30 about BC Hydro. This letter could have been written by me.  It made me both sad and happy — sad for the writer of the letter and happy because there is someone else out there who knows what my family is going through.

I have experienced most of what this writer details in her letter. Her story is my story. Of course a few details differ, but for the most part it is very similar.

My family moved into our present home at the beginning of November, 2012. Before we moved into this home, I did make a call to BC Hydro to inquire about the previous hydro bills at this address. I was told the hydro bill would be approximately $250 per month. While this was significantly higher than we have ever paid, I justified it with the fact that this home was larger than our last residence.

I was also told that there was a barn on this property which had its own hydro meter. I immediately requested that this hydro be cut off, as we would not be using the barn at all.  This never happened and charges continued to be incurred on this barn.

Time went by and then we realized that we never did get a hydro bill for the house — the one we were getting and paying was for the barn.  In late February 2013, I called BC Hydro and asked about the bill for the house. I was told that they hadn’t gotten around to setting up the account yet, but we should get a bill in a few weeks.

I asked how much the bill would be and was told it would be just over $4,000. That is $4,000 for five months (they included March’s “estimated” amount). Knowing I would never be able to maintain those payments, I asked for a payment plan.

I also asked for someone at Hydro to come to our residence and see where all the hydro was being consumed. The woman laughed at me and said that it was not Hydro’s problem “how we used our hydro,” but that our account “had been red flagged.”

Anyway, we had arranged monthly payments to pay off that huge bill, but still had to pay to keep up with the regular monthly bill. I was told that if I made the payment plan separately every month from the regular bill, there would not be a problem.

We filed a dispute to get our hydro meter tested. Of course that came back showing no fault and we were charged $100 for that test. This $100 was taken from our payment plan amount and we were immediately placed in default and were sent rather harsh disconnection notices.

After many more calls to BC Hydro, another payment plan was set up and we had to juggle our budget again to make this work. We were paying $500 per month to BC Hydro.

We don’t have a pool or a hot tub. No one is home for most of the day. The thermostat is set to 15C. If you visited us in the evening, you would find us wrapped in blankets and wearing slippers and hoodies. We heat the main part of the house with a wood-burning fireplace.

We spoke to a few of our neighbours and their bills are not near ours.  My husband looked on the BC Hydro website and found that the bills of our neighbours are a consistent $250/month.

As did the writer of the letter to the editor, I also wonder if someone has tapped into our hydro.

I feel like I could write a book about our experiences with BC Hydro over the last year and a half. Maybe I should, and then I could use that income to pay off my hydro bill.

Name Withheld,

Langley

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