How can $800 Belco bills be right?
September 3. 2013
In March last year my husband and I moved into a lovely two-bedroom apartment in Pembroke. We were so happy to have found a gorgeous two-bedroom for our budget of $2,600. Unfortunately later that month our first bill arrived from Belco — $1,088.76.
According to their ‘readings' we had used enough power in our first month to operate a small coffee shop, which trust me sir, we had not.
It only continued to grow more dire with each passing month. Waiting for the Belco bill became a game of Russian roulette. “Will we be eating rice and peas this month, or will we have enough money to buy chicken to go with that?”
The bills kept coming — never less than $500, sometimes as high as $800. Even in the winter.
Now I need to explain that my husband and I do not have the air conditioners blasting all day and night. We do laundry once a week. We have energy efficient cooking appliances to save us from always having to use the stove.
We thought the fridge/freezer must be broken. Why else would the bills be so high. So after asking, the landlady replaced the fridge/freezer. The end of that month the bill was over $800.
We don't have a swimming pool. We only turn our water heater on once a day for ½ hour and then turn it off again. We don't use the dishwasher, even though there is one. We don't even dare use the self-cleaning oven because goodness knows what that will cost.
At my wits end I put a call into Belco. This was last year following another $800 bill.
I was told that they do not send people out to check metres. I had to pay for an electrician to do that, write up a report which would then be submitted to my landlady and then to Belco — should the fault lie with them. That doesn't guarantee they'll fix whatever the issue is.
Sir, I know people are struggling right now. Many, including me, are unemployed and I can only imagine how terrifying it must be to receive a Belco bill in the mail that can't possibly be right.
Belco's mission is “ … to provide a secure, reliable and sustainable electric power system for the people of Bermuda.”
How can $800 power bills for a two-bedroom apartment be reliable, secure or even sustainable? It is not.
I just wanted to vent about this and thank you for your time. If anyone else in Bermuda finds themselves in the same situation as us, I am so sorry. I feel your frustration. There's nothing worse in this world that having the power to do something positive for your family taken away from you.
Perhaps we can start a club called “Powerless” and thank Belco for their support and understanding by switching to gas.
Thank you Sir
Powerless in Pembroke