Allowing customers to read their own meters would be a win-win alternative to legacy meter fee

Win-win solution for Ms. Knopp and BC Hydro

Dear editor,

Thank you for your article in which you describe how BC Hydro cut off the power to Ms. Knopp because she did not want to pay the $32 monthly fee to keep her old meter.  Despite BC Hydro’s immoral business behaviour, perhaps a win-win solution is possible.

1.  Ms. Knopp could read her own meter each month, herself, and report the power use to BC Hydro who could calculate the amount owing and thus bill her.  Annually a BC Hydro meter reader could check the meter reading and Ms.. Knopp could make up any discrepancy.  This solution would require a deposit of x dollars, based on past usage, to ensure that the corporation had a guarantee  that any payment for a gap in readings would be forthcoming.  The advantage is that BC Hydro has no risk, the $32 fee for meter reading would be paid once,  annually, BC Hydro would still be paid for all the power used AND Ms. Knopp would keep her power on.  This is assuming that the $32 fee is not a punitive charge but is related to the cost of having a meter reader come out to read Ms. Knopp’s meter.

2.  Ms. Knopp’s assessment of $32 does not need to be assessed each month.  Assuming that this fee is to cover the cost of a meter reader, the cost could be assessed semi-annually.  Meanwhile Ms. Knopp would pay monthly for an estimated cost of power, based on past usage.  Ms. Knopp would still pay a bill each month, she would have to pay $32 twice a year AND BC Hydro would still receive payment for power used.

Both Ms. Knopp and BC Hydro would need to compromise and both would win.  What other alternatives are there for an ordinary consumer of an essential service when confronted with the outrageous business behaviour of a corporation with a monopoly?  Such a corporation could show exceptional good will by providing a process for customers to apply for a grant to cover the cost of the meter reader.  That would be a win-win-win!

Sharon Parker



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