Posts Tagged ‘electric-plus patience persistence’

Some time ago I inherited a house on acreage from my aging parents. They hadn’t passed on but were in their early eighties and unable to maintain the property. They had always planned to pass the legacy on so they stubbornly clung to the status quo until matters overwhelmed them. My mother, now deceased, fell victim to the ravages of dementia and spent her days multitasking Dad who as a dutiful husband ran himself ragged trying to keep up to her increasingly erratic demands. In the nick of time I sold my own house and assumed the property.

One of the things I attempted to settle early on was switching electrical services into my name. I completed the forms and was given assurance that things would switch in the next billing period. A day or so later I received a call from BC Hydro asking if I was aware that by switching the service contract to my name, the Electric-Plus program registered in my father’s name would expire and rates would go up. The electric company representative asked if my father was still around. When I said he was in a nursing home she suggested I keep the contract in his name and retain the Electric–Plus as long as he was alive.

“You would do that even though my Dad is in an old age home?”

No problem, so being spendthrifts my wife and I agreed. About two months later I received a letter from the Electric-Plus people asking me to swear that all the conditions of the original contract were still in effect. I asked what conditions and subsequently received a list which the original contract holder had signed for but I could no longer meet. The auxiliary heat, propane, had long since been removed.

With regret I responded that I couldn’t meet the conditions and offered to cancel the Electric-plus. The procedures were repeated and contract switched to my name.  Two billing cycles passed and still the account was in my Dad’s name. I phoned them and waited for half an hour to talk with a live person.

“Sorry sir but the account has already been switched, your dad no longer exists on our records.” Hmm why is he still being billed and the house serviced at Electric-plus rates? I asked them to look into it fearing a massive retro billing nightmare. Nothing changed and I kept paying Dad’s bill, comfortable with the efforts I’d made to give them their just due.

Eighteen months later I received a notice in the mail addressed to the owner or occupant that said I was about to be disconnected unless I called an 800 number immediately.

This was a heartwarming welcome to Thanksgiving. I called and quoted the file number on the notice. There was no record of the account now about to be terminated but dear old Dad, was still responsible for services at my residence… I was convinced that someone was about to go dark.

After an hour, and two ascending levels of supervisors, I was assured that ‘those idiots in billing’ had been straightened out. The lights stayed on and I was happy. Three billing cycles later things finally switched to my name. Unfortunately the bi-monthly charges went from $98 to just under $400. I should have kept my mouth shut.

P.S. They say my Dad has a balance of $110 and change credit on his account. This promises to be a long fight.

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