We need a electrical consumers’ bill of rights

We need a electrical consumers' bill of rights Open letter to the Yukon Utilities Board: Since the New Year the Yukon Utilities Consumers' Group has submitted two complaints to your board. One regards the changeover of electrical meters without any noti

Open letter to the Yukon Utilities Board:

Since the New Year the Yukon Utilities Consumers’ Group has submitted two complaints to your board. One regards the changeover of electrical meters without any notice to customers and the other involves removal of the downtown office as a bill payment option.

Both were dismissed by you. The first complaint was described as being without merit, while the second was described as

general statements that did not provide details of actual impacts to customers.

For the complaint on changeover of meters, both Yukon Electrical and we know full well as to the real reason for changing of at least the one meter, which was given to you as the objection case. This was because in the billing periods just prior to the changeover, the person living in this residence worked out of town for several weeks at a time and would shut everything down except the fridge. Therefore, there was a minimal bill statement for a few months prior. This showed a major discrepancy from the regular billing for this household.

Yukon Electrical assumed a failure of the meter and quickly changed it, using their explanation of normal utility practice for the need to change older meters for testing and verification. They were never forced by your board to give proof of the actual age of the meter and the work order demonstrated as the original meter date.

The problem with all of this is that when a customer has significant discrepancies in their usage/billing and wish to have their meter tested and verified, they have to pay the utility $200 up-front to get this remedied. No matter how you look at this, you yet again show your favouritism to the utility.

For the complaint on the Yukon Electrical office closing for bill payments, you embrace general statements and comments by the utility, but discredit any complainant views. You then brush off the real facts that some 10 per cent of Yukon Electrical customers pay their bills at the downtown office and that this utility just applied for yet another office workes at the expense to ratepayers, all at the same time as they were planning on this closure.

These are not first complaints filed by our organization nor will they likely be the last. But what is concerning is that all objections are dismissed by your board. Certainly there must be an occasional worthy cause!

What we need is a clear Consumer Bill of Rights, which UCG has been pursuing, on deaf ears, for many years now. Many customers cannot understand the language or even where to access the terms and conditions of service which your board applies as your gospel for decision making. And the utilities do what they want, when they want.

Roger Rondeau

Yukon Utilities

Consumers’ Group

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