Local SaskPower meter reader Brett Parker says he can take the extreme cold temperatures in Moose Jaw this week, but the screen on his handheld computer tends to freeze periodically. Carter Haydu photograph
A Moose Jaw man on equalized payments with SaskPower has said a substantial sum was debited from his bank account without notice following an actual meter reading.
“I am on equalized payments and they’re supposed to take (a fixed amount) out each month, but they never warned me about this,” said Al Jerrett, 65. “They never gave me any explanation.”
Jerrett, a pensioner, said the sum withdrawn from his account has left him strapped for cash at one of the hardest financial months of the year.
“If I didn’t have my own house and I hadn’t paid it off, I wouldn’t have money for rent or the mortgage or anything ... it’s just sad, that’s all,” he said. “It’s right before Christmas, and I’ve got almost nothing.”
“I’m probably not the only one that this has happened to,” added Jerrett.
Heather Johnson, a spokesperson for SaskPower, said the company couldn’t comment on individual cases because of privacy issues.
“What I can tell you is that, to arrive at the monthly payments, we calculate the full (projected) amount owed and divide it by 12 ... the last bill of the year is the catch-up bill,” said Johnson.
But, when actual meter readings are done, customers have their bills adjusted to reflect more closely their real power usage, she said.
For Jerrett, the plan of action remains unclear.
“We will see what goes on from here, but (alerting media) will be the first step,” he said. “We’ll see what we can do about it.”
“If any customer has any concern, they can contact our help line,” Johnson said.