Media release - for immediate release
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
September 30, 2010
Are you inadvertently being charged BC Hydro’s Step 2 rate?
“People need to be aware that when BC Hydro overestimates
your electricity usage it can cause you to go into the
second rate group which is much higher than the rate
you are supposed to be charged by about 40 per cent.”
— Bruce Sanderson, co-spokesperson —
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
Vancouver, B.C. — Bruce Sanderson from B.C. Citizens for Green Energy is encouraging BC Hydro customers to check their hydro bills carefully to make sure they are not inadvertently being charged the higher “Step 2” rate for electricity they may not have consumed.
Sanderson says he recently received a “catch up” bill from BC Hydro which grossly overestimated his electricity consumption due to a missed meter reading. BC Hydro’s overestimate pushed Sanderson’s hydro bill into the higher Step 2 rate category.
As a customer service person at BC Hydro explained to Sanderson, BC Hydro sometimes misses a meter reading for one reason or another, and when that happens they have to “estimate” the electricity usage during the missed period. In this case, BC Hydro estimated Sanderson’s consumption to be double what it actually was.
“People need to be aware that when BC Hydro overestimates your electricity usage it can cause you to go into the second rate group which is much higher than the rate you are supposed to be charged by about 40 per cent. Looking back on my past BC Hydro bills, these ‘catch up’ bills due to a missed meter reading seem to come about once a year,” Sanderson said.
Sanderson says the customer service person he spoke to at BC Hydro agreed that a rebate for the electricity Sanderson had been incorrectly billed for at the higher Step 2 rate was in order. And after reviewing Sanderson’s hydro bills from last year, he also confirmed that Sanderson was entitled to a rebate for last year as well.
“The customer service person couldn’t say how much of a rebate I was owed,” Sanderson said, “but he passed the information over to BC Hydro’s accounting department to make the appropriate adjustment on my next bill.”
Sanderson says he doesn’t know how many other people might be affected by this kind of overestimation and overbilling, but because it can happen so easily he suspects quite a few people could be getting overcharged without even realizing it.
“The smart meters the province is bringing in over the next few years should eliminate the guesswork and overestimation that leads to this kind of overbilling,” Sanderson said. “Smart meters are going to send accurate electricity consumption data directly to BC Hydro every day without any room for the kind of human error or missed readings I experienced.”
In the meantime, Sanderson says people should check their hydro bills carefully to make sure they are not being charged for electricity they are not consuming and not inadvertently being charged at the higher Step 2 rate.
For more information contact Bruce Sanderson
Co-spokesperson, B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy is an advocacy group representing a cross-section of British Columbians who encourage a legacy of clean, renewable electricity for future generations.