Wear Withall owner Beth Kastelan got a surprise when she opened a recent natural gas bill.

UPDATED: Price jump reveals fraud on natural gas bill for Creston’s Wear Withall

Web Lead

  • Jan. 16, 2013 9:00 a.m.

Beth Kastelan did a double take when she opened the natural gas bill for Wear Withall, her Canyon Street clothing shop, this month.

The price for heating the small building had jumped considerably, she said on Friday. Then she noticed a change on her Fortis BC bill. Under “commodity charges” her supplier was listed as Active Renewable Marketing Ltd. and the price per gigajoule was about $10. Fortis BC was charging its own customers $2.977 per gigajoule for the same period.

“I had a five-year contract with a different supplier,” Kastelan said. “It ended last May and I told them I wasn’t renewing it.”

When she contacted Active Renewable Marketing Ltd. she was told she had signed a contract to purchase natural gas from the company. But when she received a copy of that contract, she said it was clearly not her signature. In print beside the signature was the name Beth and the business name, Wear Withall.

After a visit to the Creston RCMP, Kastelan came away with a letter attesting that the signature on the contract did not match that of her BC driver’s licence.

Staff Sgt. Bob Gollan said on Monday that Cranbrook RCMP have been investigating at least two dozen complaints against Active, all of which involve alleged forgery of signatures. Similar complaints have been reported in other BC communities.

On March 8, 2012, the BC Utilities Commission ordered an investigation on Active Energy, which also operates Active Renewable Marketing Ltd.

“Effective immediately, Consumer Protection BC is to perform a compliance inquiry into the allegations of forgery and unauthorized signatures and the steps taken by Active in dealing with these accusations, and provide a report to the commission concerning its investigation and findings,” said a statement from the BC Utilities Commission. “The commission will then determine if any further process is warranted.”

Gollan said an Active spokesperson told police the sales representative involved in Kastelan’s contract was working out of Ontario and has since been dismissed by the company.

He encourages all natural gas consumers to check their Fortis BC bill to ensure that the supplier of their gas is one they have signed a contract with.

The BC Utilities Commission instructs consumers who have problems with suppliers that they should first contact the company involved. If no resolution can be found, consumers should then contact the utilities commission.

UPDATE: On Jan. 28, Kastelan reported that her problem has been resolved. She has received word from the BC Utilities Commission that the contract has been cancelled and that her gas will now be provided by Fortis.

Just Posted

RDCK calls for reversal of Sinixt extinction

The board opposed a land transfer to the Westbank First Nation this week

Creston police kept busy with unwanted guest complaints

Creston RCMP responded to 59 calls for assistance

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

Rural residents could face higher fire protection costs

Erickson and Arrow Creek property owners will pay more for fire protection

Brewery workers claim more job losses

Interior Brewery Workers Local 308 says that Labatt Breweries of Canada is manipulating data to justify the loss of jobs at Creston’s 50-year-old brewery.

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau

Thousands were fired from the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation

LIVE: BC Liberals kick off leadership debate in Nanaimo

Candidates’ forum is at noon at Vancouver Island Conference Centre

WATCH: Thousands gathering in Abbotsford for Const. John Davidson funeral procession

Celebration of life to follow at Abbotsford Centre at 1 p.m.

Most Read