Victoria woman speaks out after BC Hydro gives her wrong bills for years

Victoria woman speaks out after BC Hydro gives her wrong bills for years

James Bay resident Liz Bicknell moved into her duplex in 2011, and has kept every copy of her BC Hydro bills.

“I have every single one of my bills going back to the very first one, June 14, 2011.”

Unlike her neighbours next door, she installed a heat pump for her new home before she moved in.

“I’d been listening to BC Hydro’s adverts, I’m an environmentalist at heart and they were promoting heat pumps and the savings that heat pumps would generate to the tune of about a thousand dollars a year,” Bicknell said.

But she didn’t see a cent in savings, and her bills were substantially higher than the ones belonging to the couple next door.

“We checked a couple of instances, and one – for example – my bill was 400-something odd dollars, and theirs was $102.”

Her neighbours heat their home with baseboard electric heat.

Bicknell says she called BC Hydro numerous times about her high bills but never heard back about her concerns.

Fast forward to November 2023, when Bicknell decided to invest $17,000 in solar panels.

But once again, any savings somehow went to her neighbours.

“My neighbours said, ‘There is a mistake here. We do not have solar panels, my neighbour does,’ And in an email BC Hydro says they are going to contact me. They never did. I actually ended up contacting them in January to say, ‘Hey what’s going on?'” Bicknell said.

It turns out the meters outside the duplex were switched.

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Liz Bicknell’s solar panels are shown.

Bicknell had been paying her neighbours’ BC Hydro bills since 2012.

BC Hydro spokesperson Mora Scott confirmed the error and maintains this situation is incredibly rare.

“That was an unintentional mistake that happened here,” she told CHEK News. “It was human error. It is certainly something that doesn’t happen every day. It’s really, really rare, but unfortunately in this case it did happen.”

BC Hydro offered her $5,100 in credit, the amount it estimates she overpaid.

But Bicknell says that’s not good enough.

She says she invested $32,000 to help with climate change and received nothing but grief in return.

“Never give up. Keep fighting. Even though it’s just you against a big corporation, stand up for what you believe in,” Bicknell said.

Now she is considering next steps, including possibly taking BC Hydro to court.

READ: BC Hydro issues reminder about free AC units for low-income households

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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