BC Hydro headaches

 | May 21, 2012

Navigating the labyrinth of big business bureaucracy can sometimes make us want to head to the hills.

SPIN received correspondence from Sun Peaks resident Allan Field that speaks to that customer’s rigmarole with BC Hydro.

In May of 2011 Field contacted BC Hydro to set up direct bank debit payment and was shocked to discover that by November 2011 the company hadn’t processed any payments, leaving Field with an outstanding bill of $1,600.

“I e-mailed . . ., no response, so I phoned and after the usual 30 minute wait, did speak to a representative who asserted the payment would be taken from my bank account with no interest or other charges,” explains Field. “(Again) nothing happened, despite several other e-mails and phone contacts.”
When Field finally made contact with BC Hydro again in February 2012, he found the customer service lacking, to say the least.

“(They gave) the inane response that they couldn’t take the outstanding amount from my bank account as Sun Peaks was not a city and therefore not recognized by their finance department,” says Field. “When I said my bank was in Surrey, B.C., the response was to the effect that it was irrelevant. The amount outstanding was now in excess of $2,000.”

To re-establish order with the company, Field told BC Hydro he would transfer the full bill amount, and set up equal payment plans of $243 from his bank. The company agreed, assuring him they would not access his bank account.

“All was fine until March, when my payment of $243 left my bank account together with a further $243, obviously taken by BC Hydro who previously didn’t recognize Sun Peaks or my bank account,” he explains. “BC Hydro accessed my bank account again (in April), this time for the full monthly billing of $372.46, making a total $615.46 in unauthorized debits.”

When Field again contacted the company’s representative asking why the company was accessing his bank account without authorization, and why they weren’t answering his e-mails, the response was, “How many e-mails do you think we get?”

Field received an e-mail from the company in early May apologizing for their delay in replying, yet not apologizing for the unauthorized withdrawal of money from his account. The money was not returned to Field.

SPIN has contacted BC Hydro several times in regard to this matter, and has been told to expect communication from their customer service personnel later this week.