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Few viable options for reducing "penalizing" electrical connection fees

Penticton city council is looking at ways to take a bite out of the disconnect and reconnection fees its electrical utility charges people who don't pay their bills.
Image Credit: iStock
March 06, 2015 - 12:58 PM

PENTICTON - Penticton's city councillors are concerned with the high fee the city charges to hook up or to disconnect someone's electricity, but according to the city's utility manager, there's not much they can do about it.

The city charges $68 to disconnect the electricity to a home for non-payment and then another $68 to reconnect once it gets payment.

At its meeting on Monday, March 2, council received a report from the electrictal utilities manager Shawn Filice, which responded to questions raised by the councillors during their 2015 budget deliberations.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the fees penalize those who can least afford it. He wondered if it might be an option to lower the disconnect fee for outstanding balances under $100, noting a $68 fee for a $90 bill was excessive.

FIlice reported the city’s fees are in line with those charged by other electric utilities. It's based on one hour of a the utility worker’s wages and vehicle use. He noted maintaining the status quo had been shown to be “just and reasonable with respect to other jurisdictions.”

City council received the report as information with no decision made about the fees.

The City of Penticton averages 8,000 electrical meter interactions per year, according to the report, the majority of which are when people move into a new home or move out. In 2014 there were 1,399 disconnections relating to non-payment.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
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