Disconnecting power is a last resort for BC Hydro

Company's community relations manager responds to criticism

Dear editor,

Disconnecting power to a customer is a decision BC Hydro takes seriously and is always a last resort.

We do everything we can to work with customers to resolve billing issues and have flexible payment options available for people who need them.

In fairness to all customers, every BC Hydro customer must pay their bill in full. Just like any other service, customers who do not pay their bills – for whatever reason – enter our collections process and face the risk of being disconnected. This prevents the expense of unpaid accounts being passed on to other ratepayers.

The decision to charge fees for customers who want to retain an old meter or chose a radio-off meter is a fair solution and is not new in North America. It ensures the vast majority of customers who have accepted a new meter are not subsidizing the choices of a very small number of customers.

Fees for non-communicating meters help recover the additional costs of adding and maintaining resources, equipment and systems that have been automated by new modern meters. The fees have been approved by the BC Utilities Commission and are now part of the bill for customers who chose a non-standard meter.

Further, BC Hydro has installed 1.9 million new meters over the last three years and they have a proven safety record. BC Hydro’s new meters have undergone thorough quality assurance testing by both the manufacturer and BC Hydro to ensure they are safe, accurate and reliable.

Modernizing the electricity grid with smart meters plays a crucial role in BC Hydro’s plan to provide a secure and reliable power system for customers all over the province.

Once complete, a modernized grid will help BC Hydro improve its management of the electricity system, lower costs, reduce theft, encourage conservation and automatically detect outages.

Ted Olynyk

Vancouver Island Community Relations Manager

BC Hydro

 

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