Some twenty years ago, like many other aged customers of BC Hydro, my late wife and I spent a lot of money to have installed a back-up wood fired heating system to comply with the terms of a contract with BC Hydro which provided a saving in our electricity bills.
At that time, there existed a surplus of electricity, but in the event that a shortage developed, Hydro could give a 24-hour notice and then cut off through the second meter, the separately connected heating load.
We also paid to maintain the back-up system in the period since installation to the present time.
BC Hydro has made previous attempts to break this contract and, in the RDA (rate design application) in 2008, made the false argument that it was in the public interest.
In a letter to E-Plus customers dated February 24th, 2015, BC Hydro is once again trying to unilaterally break this contract, which is still binding so long as the original customer is the tenant or owner of the house.
Hydro is trying to cleverly word its argument once again to phase out or ask customers to suggest a timetable for increasing the rate to full price.
There are now fewer than ever E-Plus customers attrition has reduced their numbers and at the end of 2014, there were less than 8,200 homes on the program and this represents a 30 per cent drop since 2007.
I am sure there are many other E-Plus customers, seniors concerned about the loss of this key part of their financial outlay. The projected change to the full price is an increase roughly of 230 per cent.
The E-Plus customers use less than a fraction of one per cent of the power and Hydro admits that ending the E-Plus would not result in any cost savings. Neither would there be any reduction in the rates for other customers if E-Plus is cancelled.
An increase in the E-Plus rate would be a burden that might require economies in other areas to balance my declining income budget. I would very much like to stay in my own home like other seniors while I am capable of looking after myself.
I hope other E-Plus seniors will write back in response to BC Hydros letter that they still consider the contract binding. I trust they will NOT ignore it as if it were fait accompli!
A lack of interest would suit BC Hydro very well.