Why won’t they accept a lesser payment?

Authority BC Hydro and Power Authority
Details

Jasmine contacted us with a complaint that a billing error by BC Hydro resulted in her owing a substantial debt to them. She had received a payment demand that she commit to a payment plan of $80 per month to address the debt. She was told that a collection action would be commenced should she not follow the payment plan offered. She told us that she receives income assistance and though she intended to repay the arrears, she could not afford $80 a month. She felt that BC Hydro’s refusa to accept a lower monthly payment was unfair.

We investigated whether BC Hydro provided Jasmine with adequate reasons for its refusal to accept payment of a lesser amount and spoke to BC Hydro staff to discuss the matter. Staff told us that the maximum repayment term permitted under their policy was 36 months and in order for Jasmine to repay the sum within the timeline, she would have to pay $80 each month.

BC Hydro did not dispute that the arrears were due, in part, to their own error with respect to the administration of the account. Given that, we suggested this might be an exception to the 36 month schedule, particularly as the amount of arrears was significant.

BC Hydro was willing to accommodate Jasmine’s circumstances by negotiating a repayment plan which would allow her to make payments over a period in excess of 36 months and in smaller increments. Jasmine subsequently confirmed that an acceptable repayment plan had been negotiated and that she considered her complaint to have been resolved. She thanked us for our assistance.

Category Housing and Property
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2012
Location Vancouver Island / Sunshine Coast