Until the Straight reported last week about the high energy bills of residents at the Olympic Village, Will Melbourne was resigned to keeping quiet about his situation.
Melbourne rents an apartment in the Southeast False Creek development. He is concerned that he has been paying more money for his energy consumption even though he now lives in a neighbourhood that’s supposed to be a model of sustainability.
“I was just going to ignore it and just accept it as part of living there, but now I realize other people are having the same problems,” Melbourne told the Straight in a phone interview. “I thought I should do something about it.”
He doesn’t live in either of the two rental properties owned by the City of Vancouver that were reported on by the Straight , but his experience is essentially the same.
Melbourne gets two energy bills. One is from B.C. Hydro, which covers electricity costs. Another comes from Enerpro Systems Corp., a North Vancouver–based company, which charges for heating, hot water, cooling, and cold water.
According to Melbourne, he used to rent outside the Olympic Village and paid about $60 a month for his energy consumption.
“Now it takes me $140,” Melbourne said of his B.C. Hydro and Enerpro bills. He noted that it’s the first time he’s ever had to pay for cold water.
According to Enerpro, energy rates are set by the city-owned Southeast False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility.
Thom Armstrong, executive director of the COHO Management Services Society, the group that manages the two city-owned rental properties at the Olympic Village, previously informed the Straight that Enerpro charges an administration fee of $12.50 for each billing. The rest of the revenues collected by Enerpro goes to the city.
Jennifer Standeven, assistant director of business operations in the city’s community services group, said a review is being done on the energy system of the two properties being managed by COHO.
“We want to make sure that the billing is clear and accurate and understandable for tenants,” Standeven told the Straight in a phone interview.
COHO contracted Enerpro to do the energy billings and collections for the two city-owned properties. However, Standeven cannot say who made arrangements for Enerpro to do the same for the rest of the buildings at the Olympic Village, such as the one where Melbourne lives.