BC's PWDs: Left In The Dark


Persons with disabilities in BC are literally being left in the dark


BC Disability

By Dani Oliver

Jan 20th, 2022


As Dani Oliver writes in a letter to BC Hydro, simply getting adequate light and heat during the winter are challenges in British Columbia for persons with disabilities.


Dear BC Hydro,

Gouging People With Disabilities (PWD), especially those who can’t work and suffer mobility issues, is a poor way to make money.

Are people like me supposed to sit in the dark all day? I rely on my computer for communication and the ability to function on a daily basis.


And while I’m writing this, I am indeed sitting in the dark desperate to avoid the nightmare that is the Step 2 rate. This has a severely negative impact on my eyesight.


While I’m writing this, I am indeed sitting in the dark

My husband (who is also a PWD) and I are forced to use a space heater to keep us warm during the day, and fans to keep us cool at night (due to health issues).


We turn off every light, electronics, etc. we can while not in use. We have been more vigilant about this than ever… and yet our hydro bill continues to increase on a monthly basis.

For example, even though we used less electricity over this past month than the previous one, the projected amount we’re going to owe for the annual review in March went from $180 to $200.


Last year our Annual Equal Payment Plan adjustment was $27.18. Why do we feel like this is out of our control?


Why do we feel like this is out of our control?

We are struggling to pay our inflated monthly hydro bill as it is (Equal Payment Plans went from $125 to $138 this year alone!), so an excess of $200 is mind-numbing.


We don’t have a dollar to spare so even making arrangements to pay this over time is going to set us back even further. We can’t trim any more money off of our groceries — we’re already living on scraps and handouts.


We don’t have a dollar to spare so even making arrangements to pay this over time is going to set us back

We're recuperating from COVID-19 and had to borrow money just to buy things like cough drops, cough medicine, extra toilet paper, etc. There is no room in our monthly budget for things like this.


We've had to cancel two food deliveries this month where we receive food and share it with other struggling individuals and families within our community. This has left our cupboards bare, as well as those of the people we help out. I can't fathom how we're going to come up with an extra $200.

My husband and I feel like we're being punished or taken advantage of because we are PWD and deemed unable to work and have little recourse.


My husband and I feel like we're being punished or taken advantage of because we are PWD

Because we’re home all day we are charged more than others who can go out to work, go to school, etc. and lead “normal” lives. We didn’t ask for this.

Please consider exempting customers with a PWD designation who are unable to work from the Step 2 rate. Or, at the very least, offer us a reduced rate or perhaps a higher threshold before the Step 2 rate kicks in.

Please help.

In desperation,

Dani

 

Spencer van Vloten is the editor of BC Disability. To get in touch, send an email to spencer@bcdisability.com!