Billing system appears unfair

If you’re a landlord or if you lease property in Summerland, you have probably run into the following problem.

Dear Editor:

If you’re a landlord or if you lease property in Summerland, you have probably run into the following problem.

The District of Summerland purchases electricity from Fortis BC at a set rate per kilowatt hour.  The district then charges their customers for the electricity they use.

It is one of the few communities in B.C. that does this – for a fee.

If you’re a tenant you would have signed an agreement with the municipality giving them your name and address and your landlord’s name and address – simple as that.

As a tenant you would have received a monthly bill and you would have remitted payment to the municipality, not Fortis.

If you couldn’t or didn’t make payment within 30 days, you would have had that amount added on to your next month’s bill.

However, after one month’s non payment the tenant would have received a notice saying that his utility services would be disconnected if payment was not received forthwith.

Perhaps you were having additional financial problems and you decided to find your fortune somewhere else.

Unfortunately somebody has to pay – in Summerland’s case the municipality simply sends the bill to the landlord – a bill that could be as much as two months worth, and an additional amount for turning the power back on.

Perhaps the tenant didn’t pay his phone bill either– in that case Telus or Shaw or whoever your phone company is took the hit.

If you were a natural gas customer, Terasen Gas, a subsidiary of Fortis, would have taken the loss.

In both cases, these companies absorbed the loss, not the landlord, because the contracts were signed with them.  So why is it that a contract signed by a tenant with the Summerland municipality makes the landlord foot the bill?

None of the other utility providers do that.

Since the district is acting as a sub contractor, it too should be suffering the loss for non-payment, not the landlord.

Doesn’t seem fair.

Frank Martens

Summerland