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May 10, 2011 at 4:28 am #36830
When we moved from the house the bank reposessed we notified BC Hydro of the change. They acknowledged this and gave us an account reference number.
Billing in these rural areas are often only done every few months because meter readers have difficulty getting there.
Six months later we still had not recieved a bill in the new place. That was when we learned the billing department had ‘lost’ the account. It took them almost a year to get their paperwork straightened out. When they finally sent us a bill it was for a couple thousand dollars. In the first place I question the accuracy since the meter reader could not have read the meter because it was buried under six feet of snow drift.
They demanded the full amount in one lump payment. I have had a couple of strokes and my meager pension could only support $100 monthly payments.
We had been making these payments but due to some internet banking delays over a long week-end; the actual payment was delayed one day past due date. So BC Hydro will be disconnecting us in the morning. By doing so they eliminate any possible chance of getting any more $100 monthly payments via internet banking to their new (offshore apparently) banking facility. Making cash payments at a service yard office is no longer possible. They are no longer set up for accepting direct payments.You have to use a computer for interenet banking.
Since I use a computer to earn what little money I do get, without power I am now deprived of any way to earn a living. And without any internet we are totally cut off from the world so how do they expect any collection agency to contact us?
Last year we saw a power utility cut off a delinquent account and killing the customer in the process. Now they simply cut off customers so they are unable to make any payments. Sounds like a Phyrric victory to me. If they continue this trend, eventually they will not have many paying customers left. Then what?
As for me; I’m forced to go off-grid sooner than planned. Once off-grid I do not plan on going back if I can help it. Who’s next?May 10, 2011 at 6:30 am #41428
That’s a real shame, hopefully this company will be reasonable and not turn you off, but if they choose to be unreasonable, well I know if anyone can deal with this, you can.
If you are cut off, will you have any other alternatives for internet access?
WrethaMay 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm #41434
Thanks Wretha, once the initial shock wore off and I started thinking again, I realized it really was not much different than camping out. We live in a mobile park so the water is supplied from a well pump that is not powered by my utility service. First thing we did was round up my batteryless handcranking LED flashlights. While the power was still ON I made sure all my battery packs and such were fully charged. I don’t have solar panels as yet. Without a job they simply were not in our budget.
I know I can keep the computer going an hour a day with my existing equipment.
The biggest change is our reading habits. Both of us are night owls and we are used to reading for many hours after sunset. LED lights will help there. but have limitations. My old eyes object to the harsh spectrum emitted by most LED. Even an hours exposire causes eye strain.
While in towndoing our shopping we found a couple of useful non electric appliances at the good will store. One was a hand cranked bread dough mixer and the other a Mongolian hotpot. Only cost $1 each This latter can become either a slow cooker or a Oil fry fondue or stew pot depending on how much and how fast the wood or charcoal is burned. These charcoal burning hotpots are similar to a ‘rocket stove’ but made in cast bronze or aluminum or spun stainless steel. I found all three types illustrated by surfing the webs.
We obviously have to find someplace else before winter since this place does not have wood heat and a new wood heater legally installed to code would cost more than Hydro is demanding.
Meanwhile the hunt for non-electric energy conserving cooking appliances continues. I realize this sounds crazy because most people assume we would just cook with a wood fire or maybe propane. However even here energy conservation makes sense. You end up spending less time collecting fire wood or other natural fuels. You need less storage space and if you use wood gasification type stoves, you end up with a more complete clean burn.
Propane cost money and requires a long trip into town 50 miles away.
Every five years you have to throw away the tank and get a new one or pay to recertify the old one which normally cost as much as buying a new tank.May 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm #41435
I am so happy to hear back from you, I have been wondering how you are doing. As I said before, if anyone can handle this, you can, I knew that was correct and now it’s confirmed. My hubby and I used to live in a mobile home park, I know how that works, and it’s usually not in your favor. I’m glad to hear you will have water. I remember before we moved to our off grid home, we were in the process of getting our solar stuff rounded up, we had an electric bill that was paid late (our fault for paying it late) and they cut us off. It was in the hottest part of the summer in the Dallas area of Texas, not a pleasant place to be without air conditioning. It was going to take 3 days (minimum) for them to turn our power back on, of course that was their way of “punishing” us for being late on the payment. When I got home from work that evening, I expected to come home to a dark house, well the house was lit up, there was a small window unit air conditioner running in the bedroom, our refrigerator was running, my computer and internet was running and we had fans blowing in the un-air conditioned rooms. Bob had gone to the store and purchased a couple of deep cycle batteries, we already had the inverters, the charge controller, a few solar panels and such, we just got to try out our system before moving off grid.
I have to laugh when I think about the electric guy coming out to turn us back on, the power pole and meter was behind the house, he arrived to find us sitting in comfort with the AC and fans running, we were not using a generator even though we had one, the electric guy was slightly freaked out and insisted on making sure we unplugged everything before he would turn our power back on. We could have lived just fine with no commercial power from the electric company, it made me more confident about moving from the city to a rural area and being off grid. You will adapt and be better off for it.
I’m glad you still have some sort of access to the internet, it would be a sad place around here without your input.
WrethaMay 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm #41436
Oh, another thing, that hand cranked dough mixer, do you have a link to one of those online? I just looked on Lehman’s and they want $650.00 for their version, that’s just a tad bit over my budget, well ok, maybe a huge bit over my budget…
WrethaMay 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm #41440
wretha I got mine at a swap shed and have never seen such a thing advertised in a store or online. BC is big on recycling. Every land fill site has a shed where people drop off unwanted but still usable things. Other people browse and pick it up. The one in Quesnel charges a modest amount and has great quality stuff. The Swap shed in Prince George is free but the quality of stuff there is not always as good. However in all fairness we have found good quality stuff in both places. Our latest find is a Mongolian Hotpot. Its sort of a slow cooker that doesn’t use electricity. It is heated by charcoal or wood pieces. Guess you could also use a can of sterno.
The guy minding the swap shed tells us the Salvation Army Good will store sometime drops off stuff they cannot sell. The swap shed charges less and the stuff sells in a day or so. Go figure.
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