This article was published in August 2018 and may be outdated.
In the midst of the hottest summer in 30 years, Manitoba Hydro is taking steps to address unusually high estimated bills for some customers where the escalation can’t be explained by increased cooling needs.
“What we are finding is the extraordinary temperatures across southern Manitoba this summer are affecting our estimate calculations for customers who don’t have a lot of meter readings associated with their accounts,” said Paul Chard, Director of Customer Care for Manitoba Hydro.
“Without enough meter readings to establish a customer’s history of energy usage, our billing program puts more weight on weather factors, such as cooling load. However, the number of hot days this year is so far outside our system’s range of experience that, in some cases, it is generating estimates considerably higher than actual consumption.”
Those customers with newer accounts or accounts with less than eight meter readings in the last 24 months appear to be the ones generating incorrect estimates.
“We certainly appreciate that these higher than usual bills can be concerning for our customers to receive,” said Siobhan Vinish, Vice-President of Marketing and Customer Service. “I want to apologize to anyone who received a high bill in error and thank them for their understanding as we work to make it right.”
Starting this week, the company began manually reviewing any estimated residential bill over $400 and, if found to be out of the ordinary, adjusting the bill before sending it to a customer.
Any customer who has received a significantly higher than expected estimated bill is encouraged to read their meter and call Manitoba Hydro at 204-480-5900 or 1-888-624-9376. If the estimated bill is found to be high compared to the meter reading, it will be adjusted accordingly. Instructions for how to read your meter can be found at www.hydro.mb.ca under Accounts & Services.
Customers who already received and paid a bill based on an incorrect estimate will see a correction in the next bill they get based on an actual meter reading.
Most Manitoba Hydro customers have their meter read or are asked to submit a meter reading every two months. Bills are based on estimated consumption in alternate months.
“It’s difficult to say how many customers are affected – particularly because most customers are already seeing higher bills because of the record heat,” said Chard.
“We are conducting a thorough review of our estimating program to determine what changes can be made in the future to improve accuracy for accounts without a lot of meter readings. In the meantime, the best thing our customers can do if they think their energy bill is too high is take a meter reading and call it in.”