An 81-year-old Alix area senior who won the fight over a $3,789 gas bill is now warning others to take a closer look at their bills.
In January, Sid Morris said he received the shock of his life when he opened his power bill to find he used more gas in that month than the entire previous year.
Morris said Chain Lakes Gas Co-op Ltd. told him that this period was “consistently cold,” “estimated extremely low” and that he had used the gas “if it went through the meter.”
“Yet my rural neighbour’s gas bill did not increase or increased very little during this period,” said Morris.
The meter was sent for testing at an accredited meter shop under Measurement Canada, a federal regulator.
The report showed the meter was in working order.
Morris did not believe the unit was working properly and continued to put up a fight.
In March, he worked out a deal with the company to take off a third of the bill because the firm said there was a remote chance that something was not working.
Morris sent the company a certified cheque for the one-third and he received a disconnect order in response for March 25.
A few weeks later, an inspector from Measurement Canada saw a news report about Morris’s high gas bill and contacted him.
The federal regulator conducted an investigation and concluded the register on the meter was defective.
The report said the three left digits on the register are able to free wheel, which could result in erratic meter readings.
Now Morris would like to see a Measurement Canada phone number printed on all gas bills to protect others like him.
“Not that I want to be mean to Chain Lakes but they thoroughly screwed up,” said Morris.
“Why in the world they would go to an engineering firm that is no near as qualified as Measurement Canada, I have no clue.”
Sven Sorensen, Chain Lakes Gas Co-op Ltd. general manager, said the company sent the meter to an accredited meter shop under Measurement Canada.
“All gas meters get tested to meter shops,” said Sorensen.
“Measurement Canada only looks at one in a million. It’s just the accredited meter shop didn’t find what Measurement Canada did.”
Morris has been credited with the gas that he did not use.
Measurement Canada recommended that the average consumption from the previous three years during the period of Nov.1 through Jan. 31 to be used to replace the billing consumption for the period of Nov. 1, 2012, through Jan. 31, 2013.