Avoid estimated bills; ensure meters are clear and accessible for meter readers
February 1, 2017
Many meters are unreadable due to high snowfall. Thousands of Manitoba Hydro residential electric and natural gas meters were not read between late December and mid-January. The two major winter storms that brought near record amounts of snowfall to southern Manitoba, combined with winds resulting in excessive drifting in many locations, has meant Manitoba Hydro meter readers were not able to access thousands of meters that normally would have been read by the company.
“Without a timely reading, many customers will see an estimated bill with the potential for receiving a very high ‘catch-up’ bill once our meter readers have safe access to meters and can get a verified reading,” said Pamela Vernaus, general manager of Manitoba Hydro Utility Services.
Despite the recent warmer weather, safe access to meters, particularly in Winnipeg and the surrounding areas, continues to be an issue for Manitoba Hydro meter readers. In some cases, snow removal efforts have made the situation even worse, with excess snow plowed, shovelled, or blown in front of meters, further reducing access.
Some of the most affected areas include:
- Fort Garry, St. Norbert, Oak Bluff, LaSalle and Sanford;
- Transcona, Oakbank, Lorette and Île-des-Chênes;
- West Kildonan and West St. Paul;
- St. James and Headingley.
Vernaus said depending on the billing cycle, some customers may not get a reading for five months if they were missed by readers in December and the meter is still not accessible in February. Meters missed in December are scheduled to be read in February while meters missed in January are not scheduled be read until March. Manitoba Hydro reads meters every two months.
Meter readers are currently working overtime to keep up with readings to try to ensure accurate billing.
Manitoba Hydro asks customers, if able, to clear a path to their meters to allow readers safe access.
“We are really just trying to avoid customers getting large catch-up amounts due to an estimated reading, and help people manage their energy bills,” Vernaus said.
Customers can also avoid a high ‘catch-up’ bill by reading their meters themselves and submitting the readings to Manitoba Hydro either through the Manitoba Hydro at hydro.mb.ca/accounts_and_services/report_meter_read.shtml or by calling 204-453-6712 in Winnipeg or 1-800-652-4490 toll-free.
Manitoba Hydro customers who are enrolled in the Equal Payment Plan and pay their electricity and/or natural gas bills in equal monthly installments are not affected. To enrol in the Equal Payment Plan, please visit hydro.mb.ca/accounts_and_services/equal_payment_plan.shtml.
After-hours media line (outage and emergency updates only): 204-360-3319.