Customer Crisis Fund a hardship

Customer Crisis Fund a hardship

BC Hydro expects more money from you to help others pay their bills

ICBC is under constant criticism for the way it operates. It’s clearly the favourite corporation whipping boy of the media.

But BC Hydro isn’t exactly a model of efficiency and should be enduring a lot more ‘heat’, so to speak, than it does.

We all know about the well-advertised Power Smart program where Hydro gives you all these great tips on how to save money on your bill. The only trouble is some of those conservation methods have worked too well since the program’s inception and the corporation hasn’t made as much money so guess what happens then? Yes, your electricity rates go up.

It doesn’t seem to matter, then, whether serious attempts are made at following those wonderful money-saving guidelines or not. It winds up being a losing proposition for consumers either way.

Now, along comes another brilliant innovative idea from BC Hydro. All of us who pay our bills on time and regularly are now going to help others who don’t pay on time and are lax on keeping up their accounts through a Customer Crisis Fund.

Most people probably haven’t even noticed there’s already been a charge on your last two bills for this outlandish concept. It only amounts to a few cents each time, but when you multiply it by millions of customers it adds up to a huge chunk of change for the corporation to let the public handle its deficiencies rather than take responsibility itself.

And how this fund operates is opening up BC Hydro to a whole can of worms. “If you’re a residential customer experiencing a temporary financial crisis, such as a loss of employment or benefit income, unanticipated medical expenses, or a death in the family and you’ve fallen behind on your BC Hydro bill, you may be eligible for a grant payment to avoid disconnection of your service,” according to its website.

What Hydro doesn’t tell you is a percentage of this fund is going toward administration. This is a three-year pilot project for Hydro to help pay itself.

It’s all wrong on so many levels.