Loss of Fish, Loss of Faith

Authority BC Hydro and Power Authority

Carol came home to an upsetting scene: her food had spoiled and most of her tropical fish were dead. While she was gone, BC Hydro had mistakenly cut her power.

Acknowledging that its error led to her loss, BC Hydro invited Carol to submit a claim for reimbursement. Carol submitted her receipts but, unfortunately, BC Hydro lost them. She sent fresh copies and BC Hydro told her to submit an additional claim form that was missing.

The back-and-forth continued for thirteen months before BC Hydro had good news for Carol: Her claim was approved and a cheque would be mailed. Again Carol waited. When no cheque arrived, she called us.

BC Hydro told us it had not been aware of Carol’s claim. In fact, an independent contractor handled damage claims like Carol’s. We reviewed the applicable records which showed that Carol’s claim for reimbursement had been approved the day after she made it – thirteen months previously. We presented this information to BC Hydro which, committing to process her claim immediately, sent Carol a letter of apology. Two weeks later, Carol received the cheque she needed, totalling $460.

As a result of our investigation, BC Hydro also began to take steps to prevent the mistake from recurring. To improve its damage claim process for all customers, BC Hydro then took back responsibility from the contractor for assessment, communication and processing of future claims.

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 Vancouver Island / Sunshine Coast