Please be very careful and take note of this new Hydro Quebec form of extortion during this moving season, especially if you are moving into an apartment. If you do not want to pay for someone else’s overdue hydro bill, you must make sure that the last tenant does not owe any money before you move in, or shortly after you move in this could happen to you!
Hydro Quebec is up to their old tricks again and this time they are forcing people who moved into an apartment to pay the bill of previous tenants by cutting off the new tenants power even though the bill is clearly in another clients name and refusing to turn the power back on until the new tenant pays the bill. Here is how it worked for a friend of mine who moved into an apartment building on Lasalle Blvd., in Montreal, Quebec.
This is the same person who had trouble with Hydro Quebec when her bill got overdue and they cut her off just before they are not allowed to do by law and refused to turn it back on when she paid it in full saying that they” could not say when the power would be turned back on because all of their technicians were busy turning off electricity before the deadline.
This friend of mine decided to move into an apartment where everything was paid except for a monthly $30.00 electric bill per month. One day while she was out along came a hydro Quebec technician with orders to turn off the power to her apartment because of lack of bill payment. the janitor explained to the technician that the name on the bill was that of an old tenant no longer living there but the technician said too bad and cut the power.
When my friend got home she called hydro and after a little argument was told that hydro had experience a glitch in the system and that even though it was not her bill to pay she would have to pay it anyway before they could turn on the power, because that was the only solution the system had to rectify the situation and that the power would be turned back on and she would be given a $500.00 credit the price of the bill, if she refused than the power would remain off. It took her 4 days to get the money together and had to do without power for that time and even after it was paid it took another 2 days before her power was restored. You would think that this would be the end of this and that Hydro would now start to pay back the money immediately, but this is not to be the case.
Now that Hydro Quebec has the money, they have decided to reconsider their options; in other words Hydro Quebec has decided not to give back the money, as they put it, right away as they promised in the form of a credit and have started to send my friend hydro bills again. Their explanation is that since she has had her hydro cut off before, they have decided to review her file in full and will not be giving her any money back untill they are satisfied that she does not owe them any money from somewhere else at any other time, a process they say that could take a very long time. I think you can imagine the frustration of this person trying to do the right thing and being screwed over by Hydro Quebec. Now the problem compounds itself because Hydro Quebec made this mistake with 12, other people in her building on the same day and knew that they were cutting off all 12 people wrongly, but proceeded with the cancellation of all 12, anyway. My friend will only be eating this month because of the friends and family support that she has, but what of those that can not rely on that.
This is only happening to her and people like her because Hydro Quebec knows that she is incapable of going to court because of the financial burden and hardship it would cause her and other people who are in her fragile financial state who do not have the finances to support such actions. There is no government assistance to help lodge these sorts of complaints, or even to do an investigation and so these people just suffer. Why after so much suffering is Mr. Layton not pushing for a mechanism that would see the government of Canada monitoring this type of gouging, torturing, illegally billing and out right extortion of its client by Hydro Quebec and helping to finance and if necessary bring a class action suit against this and all other provinciality run government monopolies who abuse their clients, who are Canadian citizens? There is always a federal government solution to a provincial problem, but there is not always the political will to get involved with a war with the provinces and so we will continue to suffer trapped between on governments greed and another’s unwillingness to get involved.
I think it is time for someone in the federal government to start a class action suit against Hydro Quebec on the behalf of abused Canadians living in Quebec. Hydro Quebec is, way out there now with their incompetence and their nasty vicious way of doing business. I think that they have demonstrated that they are not only a monopoly, but they are capable and are using extortion and a gangster like mentality and tactics, when trying to recover monies from its clients and they no longer have any respect for the law, or doing things in a legal manner. When you are wrong and you know it and you still insist on payment because your client has no other way to get the necessity of life that they are providing and you top that off by the fact that they are the government and they make the laws, we have a non winnable situation for the people and Hydro Quebec’s actions become criminal and the federal government not only has a right to step in and stop it, the federal government in my opinion, has a legal and moral obligation to put and end to it; bigger and more urgent than the need to bomb other nations to secure their rights and freedoms.
At one time you could go to the offices of Hydro and pay a delinquent bill, or go over your account with a representative of hydro, or lodge a complaint, but all of those options are no more and now it is pay whether, or not you owe or get cut off.
Hydro has not just started taking advantage of its customers, it has been doing this for over 20 years as this personal story of mine will show you. I remember paying a hydro bill at the Royal Trust, before it went under, my receipt was stamped paid in full by the teller and for some reason hydro said they never received the money form the bank. When I enquired of the bank what was going on they said that the new teller who had just been fired could not find some money and it was the same amount as my bill so the determined that she did not get the money for my bill and the girl had stamped my bill in error and that the stamp and the tellers signature meant nothing. Hydro said too bad shell out another $600.00 or lose power because they were not interested in fighting with the bank who was officially collecting monies from their clients on their behalf. we fought for a long time and I was in the end forced to pay them under threat of cancellation of services. No one in the government then, no lawyer, and Goldhawk, himself refused to air the case, because it was not the kind of challenge he was willing to fight for back then on behalf of people like he claims to want to do now on CPAC.
Hydro Quebec needs to be taken to court and their monopoly needs to be broken. They are causing unnecessary hardships to their clients and if they have not already they will find themselves being held responsible for killing people and all of the problems that come with wrongful death and murder. people are having to choose literally between paying Hydro and eating or paying their rent. There is no mechanism with in hydro to lodge a complaint or get them to do the right thing. Why would hydro keep this individuals money? Over zealous collection department? Whatever the reason this is a government company and monopoly and we should and need to bring it under control one way or another.
This is how bold, senseless and irrational this company has become. I wrote to every federal leader in government last year and got generic answers back saying they are not responsible for electrical power and that I should contact the provincial authorities. Well the provincial authorities are out of reach via the internet unless you want to give them some money and suggest that you fill out form after form stating your problem and if they feel that it requires an answer they will let you know if not know by their silence that they figure your problem to be irrelevant and that is where I have got to . I and your problems with Hydro are irrelevant to them and anyone else that can make a difference.
Instead of reopening the 50%+1 issue, maybe Jack Layton could have started putting pressure on the Provincial government, to relieve this pressure from his constituents in Quebec. People are suffering terribly and it is no longer okay for the federal government to simply say that gouging the people of Quebec, who are still Canadian citizens is not acceptable, but out of their hands and jurisdiction. In truth if they have no power over the provinces and the Charter Of Rights And Freedoms Of Canada means nothing and the laws of Canada do nothing to protect its people from regional, or provincial government gone mad, why in hell do we need the federal government at all?