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Tom B.
Tom B., Barrister & Solicitor
Category: Canada Law
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Experience:  25 years in practice
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My husband and I have been living overseas years. In

Customer Question

My husband and I have been living overseas for 9 years. In the last 8 years, I was teaching in Pakistan, and last year I was teaching in Mongolia. Since we are out of the country for 10 months, we are considered as non-resident. We only come to Canada, Edmonton, for the summer vacation.
Every year, before we left the country, we called EPCOR, the utility company, to disconnect the power, and when we returned to Edmonton, we called back to have it reconnected. The charge was $105 within 24 hours.
Last August, a week before we left for Mongolia, we called EPCOR to have the power disconnected. As usual, I asked them how much it cost for the bill. Then I went to the bank and paid the full amount- it was supposed to cover for the entire summer. They asked for our address in Mongolia. Around October- November, I received a bill from EPCOR asking for $65. I thought it was to pay for the remaining of the summer expenses, so I sent them a check. Soon after, I received another bill of about $87. I was Shocked of having to pay another bill after we had asked the service to be interrupted. I emailed them and asked for clarification. What I undestood was that we had to pay for the power even though we were not living at our appartment. Then they said if we did not pay the utilities, they would cut off the power. I said, "That is what we asked you to do back in August"! When we returned to Edmonton and called them to get the reconnection, they said that because we were in default of payment, they had cut the power in April. Strangely, the reading meter outside our apartment was still running. What have they cut exactly? Then, to get the power back within 48 hours, it would cost about $135, she said. We also have to give them an advance payment of about $365.
1- We have never had to pay EPCOR after asking to discontinue the service, for 8 years. Why are they now asking to pay the utilities each month? Yet, we still have to turn the brakers off before we leave the country. Is what they are doing legal?
2- When I called and asked how much we would have to pay each month, the clerk said she did not know as it will vary each month. Since we are not using the power, the cost should be a flat rate. Am I correct?
Johanne Berger
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.
This is a bit confusing. Are you saying in the past they charged a disconnection fee and a reconnection fee and then for actual usage and that is it then this year things went awry?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
In the past, we have NOT paid for a disconnection. We just switched the breakers of before we left for overseas in August. They have only charged us for the reconnection, when we returned from overseas in June, at the cost of $105 within 24 hours. This year, they charged us each month, but I refused to pay because we had never paid before. The amount varied each time... and the breakers were turned off as per their request back in August. The charge for the reconnection was about $135 for a reconnection within 48 hours. If this is still not clear, let me know and I'll try to call you.
We are going back to Mongolia on August 4
Johanne Berger
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.
So in the past there was no service because the breakers were turned off. But if you are not using the service at all then how can they be billing you. Is the meter working so wouldn't they see you have not used any electricity?

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