General News · 1st March 2015
I received a reply (sort of) on February 16th to my letter of November 3rd, published in the Tideline (thank you). This reply was in response to an inquiry on my behalf on January 16th by Patrick Wruck, Customer Relations Specialist, BCUC. I’ve written three other letters, all mentioned briefly near the end of Daren’s letter. I thought other Hydro customers would find this interesting. I also wonder how many other customers had long periods beween meter readings. I had 374 days.
Dear Mr. Wruck,
As requested, I have reviewed the correspondence from Mr. Bohart regarding his concerns about lengthy periods of consecutive estimates and estimates at his residence. My apologies for the delay.
BC Hydro reduced its meter reading workforce in April 2013 when almost 75 per cent of residential customers accepted smart meters. Unfortunately, the rate of conversion of smart meters to automatic readings did not proceed as quickly as had been anticipated, and more manual meter readings were required than forecast. In some areas this resulted in scheduled meter readings being missed on multiple occasions. Regrettably, Mr. Bohart’s account was amongst those that have received multiple estimated bills.
If a manual meter reading cannot be obtained, an estimated reading is used for billing purposes. Section 5.2.2 of BC Hydro's Electric Tariff allows for bills to be based on estimated reads:
“lf meter readings cannot be obtained for any reason, the demand or consumption or both may be estimated by BC Hydro and used for billing purposes, and the next bill, which is based on actual meter readings, will be adjusted for the difference between estimated and actual use over the interval between meter readings. Estimated bills are deemed to have the same force and effect as bills which are based on actual meter readings".
A review of the account indicates:
· The March 2014 invoice of $861.77 was based on an actual read and reconciled the previous under estimated meter readings. In addition, although back-billing rules were not in effect for consecutive estimates at that time, we have confirmed that the adjustment was not sufficient to have warranted in being invoked.
· The estimated meter reading for September 22, 2014 was estimated too high and was adjusted based on the read obtained on November 20, 2014;
· A revised invoice was issued on December 24, 2014 for the period of July 18, 2014 to November 20, 2014.
While I acknowledge that the number of estimates led to confusion regarding the bill, I would like to point out that the actual reads before and after the estimates indicate what was consumed during that period that must be billed. When we confirm the amount of consumption used between the estimated periods, the bills are reviewed in order to confirm the billing is accurate. In this instance, as all estimated periods fully utilized the step 1 threshold, there would be no reason to adjust the bills further as the consumption and cost would be the same, just noted in a different period.
Regarding the previous correspondence sent to BC Hydro, I would like to apologize for the lack of response. For some unknown reason, Mr. Bohart’s letters were not received, and so his enquiry was not addressed until he submitted his complaint to the BCUC. However, if he has any further concerns or questions regarding the above, he may contact our Customer Advocacy Team at 604 528 2598 or by email at customer.advocacybchydro.com.
I trust that the information provided addresses the points raised by Mr. Bohart.
Senior Manager, Customer Service Operations