On April 26th, 2015, you published a letter I wrote to you expressing my concerns about BC Hydros true intentions for the E-Plus interruptible power that many customers depend on to heat their homes (The Valley Echo followed up with a news story titled Hydro hikes loom for senior E-Plus customers in the July 22nd, 2015 issue).
Only now, a year later, customers have finally received BC Hydros proposals for E-Plus power and these could have serious consequences. Hydro intends to make it far easier to interrupt our heating power. To do this, they have said they will ignore important commitments made to us when we joined the E-Plus program.
Residential E-Plus customers previously were given priority over other users of interruptible power, such as commercial or export customers. Hydro intends to ignore this long-standing commitment, which will mean that homeowners could be the first to lose their power rather than the last.
Hydro now proposes to give only two days notice of power interruptions instead of the 30 days they previously promised. So, if I am away from home for three days, say to a wedding in Toronto, I could arrive home to find the house with no heat, burst pipes and a message on my telephone answering machine giving two days warning of the interruption.
This would make me a virtual prisoner in my own home!
These proposals are truly outrageous. Interruption could last the whole of the heating season and would have serious consequences for folks like me, forcing me to chop wood, or replace my heating system or alternatively give up the E-Plus rate and pay two to three times the price for electric heating.
All that us E-Plus customers are asking is that BC Hydro play by the rules they themselves set when we signed on for E-Plus power.
BC Hydro, as a provincial Crown Corporation, is subject to the supervision of the BC Utilities Commission and is ultimately responsible to the B.C. government. Both have a duty to ensure that Hydro customers are treated fairly.
As the E-Plus program dates back almost 30 years, most of those left on it are aged and many of us are sick, frail and without the money to challenge Hydros outrageous proposals in the Courts.
Little wonder that so many of us are concerned and angry.