The NWT Power Corporation says it will soon resume disconnecting power – and using power-limiting devices – on homes where bills are overdue.
In a news release, the power corporation said more than $2 million was currently overdue from customers. It said resuming disconnection and power-limiting “ensures that customers pay for the electricity they consume and don’t put themselves into a situation where they are unable to catch up on payments.”
The corporation announced in mid-March it would disable all power-limiting equipment as the pandemic reached the NWT. The equipment throttles power on households that haven’t paid their bill within 28 days.
Customers have also been allowed to defer bill payments or enter into flexible payment plans since March.
Those payment plans, and the potential to forego interest charges on outstanding balances, can still be discussed with the company according to the news release.
The corporation said it would resume collection activities on overdue accounts beginning November 9.
The power corporation “is sensitive to the economic challenges that the pandemic continues to pose for customers but cannot afford to maintain the status quo,” Noel Voykin, president and chief executive of the corporation, was quoted as saying.
The corporation promised customers unable to pay their electricity bill will not be disconnected over the winter months. It will instead use load limiters to “help customers avoid running up large bills.”
While the power corporation said the use of load limiting devices is a standard practice in Canada, it has been met with criticism in the North.
Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson has argued that use of power-limiting technology should be stopped during the winter. He said his constituents have told him they’re unable to cook for their families or adequately heat their homes as a result of limiters.