The Power of an Explanation

Authority BC Hydro and Power Authority

Gretel, a senior, had been confused by her hydro bill for some time and asked her son, Anatoly, to help. Anatoly called BC Hydro, learned there was an outstanding balance, and paid the full amount. When the next bill arrived, Anatoly was surprised to see it had sprung to $600 and still included an outstanding balance.

Anatoly called BC Hydro back but did not think the agent really understood what was happening with his mother’s bill. Without a clear explanation, Anatoly called us and we decided to investigate.

BC Hydro explained that two kinds of payment plans were being applied: the Installment Plan and the Equalized Payment Plan (EPP). Installment plans are used to incrementally pay off outstanding bills. The EPP helps clients with budgeting by estimating annual consumption and dividing the charge into 12 monthly payments. Gretel was using quite a bit more power than she once had and her EPP had jumped correspondingly. She had not kept up with the increase and now the installment plan payments were piling on.

Now that we understood, we asked BC Hydro to explain everything to Anatoly and BC Hydro agreed. We followed up with Anatoly who said that after talking with a representative for about 45 minutes, he understood all the charges and arrears. He knew how the EPP worked, and understood the multiple installment charges that needed to be paid in due course. For the unexplained rise in energy use, BC Hydro suggested tools to find what was drawing so much power. Anatoly now had the full knowledge he needed to solve the problem for his mother. He told us that the BC Hydro representative was “really cool” and thanked us for our help.

Category Housing and Property, Seniors
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2015
Location The Interior