To the editor:
Re: Big power bill increase within ‘normal parameters’ for BC Hydro (Patrick Olenick letter tot he editor, Jan. 22 Kelowna Capital News)
Dear sir, welcome to the scam that is BC Hydro. We went through the same scenario where from the previous winter we had shut down our six-person hot tub, dry walled the whole home interior, replaced 1980 patio doors with new french doors, and updated all our interior/exterior lighting with low usage LED/motion sensor lighting. In addition, we trimmed throughout and caulked everything to reduce leaks. And yet our usage bills escalated. Interestingly, the first bill with the tub newly terminated did show a significant reduction but was followed by a significantly increased billing for the BC Hydro “justified” winter months (despite having a gas furnace).
We, of course, questioned how doing what their regular brochures ensure will produce savings had the reverse effect? They attempted to blame it on a poor functioning furnace (we have a new gas furnace/hot water tank), or some other malfunctioning equipment. Of course there has been no changes in equipment or our lifestyle. And we too got the “do a breaker test” (not really possible with the reporting on these new machines), get an electrical inspection (home had it just prior to our purchase), and get the Measurement Canada meter test at one’s own expense.
The same situation happened to our neighbour but she fortunately was able to challenge BC Hydro reporting based on her being employed out of province and the home empty at the time, so they had no choice but to adjust her bill.
We, of course, complained to the BCUC [B.C. Utility Commission] but that’s a waste of time, and writing the Premier’s office got no response. BC Hydro’s position was pay up or be cut off.
The writer’s theory of an embedded algorithm is very plausible. The real culprits here is our provincial government that sold off our public utility to a private company. And then, as if that were not bad enough, they allowed the installation of electronic reporting for which the company is in total control.
We have been hydro customers for years and never encountered these erroneous bills when the mechanical equipment was in place. We did, however, encounter the same problem, as did everyone in our former community, on Fortis’s conversion of our meters to smart meters.
What’s smart about them, we have found, is the ability of these companies to scam money out of people through their use. As previously suggested someone with the know-how needs to begin an online petition for all to sign that can be directed to our premier to get her attention to this serious problem of the public being ripped off.
Although their installation is now being challenged through the courts, that will take some time to resolve and in the interim these machines are a license for these companies to continue to rip customers off with the non-existence of any competition to turn to.
Mr. & Mrs. D. Samson, West Kelowna