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There might be a good reason why your hydro bill is higher than you expected

Do you have a higher-than-expected hydro bill?

Increased electricity use and long stretches of cold weather could explain the discrepancy between billing periods.

BC Hydro says energy consumption depends on factors such as heating system types and how a house was constructed. Even for two identically built houses, occupants will have different lifestyles, appliances and energy-using or saving habits.

Because of changes to electricity rates, the amount of a bill will be higher than for the same month a year ago. When comparing a recent bill to an older one, BC Hydro advises customers to look at electricity consumption, which is reported in kilowatt hours and not the dollar amount of the bill.

Moreover, a bill may be larger than expected because it covers a longer period of time. The number of days in the billing period and meter reading information is on the left side of the bill.

Monthly equal payment plans — based on electricity use over the past year — could be another factor. Accounts are reconciled yearly on the date a customer signs up for fixed, equal payments. Those who have used more electricity will receive a bill showing an extra charge. Those using less may see a credit on their account.

For more informationl, visit www.bchydro.com/accounts-billing/customer-service-residential/residential-rates/high-bill.html.

For $100, customers can request an independent meter test by Measurement Canada. If testing confirms a meter is not measuring properly, customers would be refunded the money and have their bill adjusted.

To date, Measurement Canada has tested 169 smart meters at the request of customers. All meters were found to be measuring accurately, BC Hydro said.

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