Should hydro be a human right, something that can’t be denied to somebody, even if they can’t pay the hydro bill?
Single mother Jennifer Jones would like it to be so, as she has seen her electricity cut off because she can’t pay the bill. They didn’t even give her 24 hours notice before flipping the switch!
Well, Niagara Peninsula Energy claims they’ve been quite fair, but just ran out of options after she made repeated promises to pay but failed to follow through on those promises.
Jones’ account was under somebody else’s name, and wasn’t being paid. She argues that there was a banking error, that she had paid some money towards the bill but put an erroneous extra zero on the account number, meaning the money ended up in another account.
She received a notice Friday informing her of Monday’s cut-off. She said she would pay them some money on the Tuesday, but the hydro company said they would still follow through with their promise on Monday.
“I told them it’s cold outside and I have six kids in the house, but they just refused and were completely unreasonable,” Jones claims.
Her Councillor, Wayne Thomson tried to help, but a worker showed up Monday and cut the power.
The following day, she went to NPE to pay the bill – $690. This total included the $30 fee to shut off the power, and $65 fee to have the power restored!
NPE president and CEO Brian Wilkie claims that Jones’ bill was sitting at $1,100.
Jones admits that she’s had trouble paying past bills. She was off work have having a baby.
Jones argues that “if they had given me just one more day I would not of had to pay about $100 just for the fees. They just don’t care and it’s all about the money.” Jones said she was fortunate the weather warmed up a bit, but she did lose some food that was in their freezer.
Wilkie points out that she had many opportunities to pay her tab, but this wasn’t the first time she’d promised to pay without doing so. “I guess it comes down to the old story of just how many times you make a promise and don’t keep it.”
Wilkie told the Niagara Falls Review HERE that a customer can’t just keep using electricity and not pay for it. He compared it to using a credit card and not making any payments, at some point that credit will be cut off. “At some point you reach the end of the line,” he said.
Do you sympathize with Jennifer Jones? Was the hydro company right to flip the switch despite her promise to pay?