Billing Readjustment

Authority BC Hydro and Power Authority

Trevor had a recurring issue with his hydro bill. Because his home was remote, and a meter reader visited infrequently, BC Hydro relied on estimates to calculate Trevor’s electricity usage. The estimates would always be too low. When the meter reader did attend Trevor’s home, the reading was routinely higher than the past estimates. Consequently, Trevor’s next bill would also be higher.

Trevor believed the fluctuation in his bills meant that he wasn’t getting full credit at the lower step 1 rate on the estimated bills. Adding to his frustration about the amount of the bill, Trevor’s bills would occasionally indicate a meter reading when no reading had occurred but a rate change or other billing event had taken place.

Trevor called BC Hydro and was encouraged to submit his own meter readings for consideration. After seven months submitting meter readings without results, Trevor contacted us, frustrated. We began an investigation.

We asked BC Hydro to explain Trevor’s fluctuating billing history. BC Hydro told us that it adjusted Trevor’s bills whenever an actual meter reading was obtained. However, the review discovered one missed amendment to fully apply the step 1 rate, and as a result, Trevor’s bills were revised and he was credited $77.31. Trevor welcomed the credit but, understandably, he wanted to make sure that the billing going forward would be accurate. We wanted similar assurances.

BC Hydro told us they had automated the smoothing of step 1 and step 2 charges across multiple months, to favour all customers. BC Hydro also told us of several initiatives aimed at improving communication. We look forward to seeing these initiatives implemented over time, particularly those that alert customers to important changes to their accounts and provide more accurate information about usage.

For Trevor, in addition to the $77.31 credit on his account, BC Hydro installed a new meter which will store more information about his electricity usage and help ensure accurate billing.

Names in our case summaries have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. This case study can also be found in the 2016-2017 Annual Report.

Category Environment and Natural Resources, Housing and Property
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2016
Location The North