Thursday, September 4, 2014

Council takes CityWest to task over "pay to pay" cost for paper billing

At the tail end of Tuesday night's City Council session, Council members took the opportunity to express their disappointment and in some cases anger at the latest revenue generation plan from the city owned communication company CityWest.

The subject of their anger, a notice from CityWest from last month that outlined that the company would be charging two dollars extra per month for those residents that continue to receive their bills in paper form, the apparent move designed to migrate subscriber to the computer driven paper less mode of billing.

Councillor Kinney led off the outrage, highlighting his concern over how the move would impact on Senior Citizens and those on limited incomes. Observing that many in that segment of society may not have computer access at home.

The Mayor also chimed in with some thoughts, expressing the theme that as the City Council is the representative for the shareholders of the company, that he was directing the City Manager Robert Long, to call attention to City Council's unhappiness at the proposed extra billing plan.

Councillors Garon and Cunningham also weighed in with observations on the topic, with Councillor Cunningham advising that he had spoken with CityWest representatives and that hey had devised a process where those that do not have Internet service listed with CityWest, would not be assessed the extra two dollars a month.

And while the Mayor thanked him for that update, he stuck to the original theme of requesting that the City manager make contact with CityWest to address the issue and relay the thoughts of Council to CityWest management.

Before Mr. Long gets too far along on that to do list however, he may wish to review this item of interest from the CBC, and maybe pass it along as part of his package to CityWest.

The article outlines how the Federal Government, is making plans to introduce legislation to tell communication companies that such additional levies on bills, known as "pay to pay" is to stop.

The issue has been of particular concern to the CRTC, which has long expressed its criticism of the practice.

Still, while the Federal government is seemingly ready to now address the issue for consumers, we imagine that particularly in a municipal election year, that all of the City Council members will want to have their comments in support of local residents recorded and passed on to CityWest as well.

Though this kind of a controversy from the city owned company, does open up an opportunity for voters to once again seek out some more information regarding their communication company.

Particularly on issues of how it CityWest contributes to the city's financial picture and whether there is still a benefit to the residents of the City being shareholders in a communications company.

You can review the full outrage of Council from the City's Video Archive, it takes place from the 46 to 50 minute mark.

For  more items of interest on CityWest see our Communications archive, for other items of note from City Council see our Council archive section here.

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