Fees persuade most smart meter holdouts

BC Hydro's imposition of manual meter reading fees has persuaded most holdouts to accept a wireless smart meter

Wireless electricity meters are now installed at 99 per cent of BC Hydro customers' homes.

BC Hydro’s imposition of manual meter reading fees has persuaded most holdouts to accept a wireless smart meter.

BC Hydro imposed a $35 monthly fee starting Dec. 1 for customers who refuse to part with their mechanical electricity meters, after offering the 68,000 customers who still had them the option of accepting the new meter with the radio transmission function on or off.

BC Hydro reported the results this week to the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC), which is reviewing the fees. More than 48,000 customers chose the smart meter to avoid the meter reading fee. Another 450 chose the radio-off meter, which comes with a $100 setup fee and $20 a month starting April 1 to cover costs of collecting readings.

Another 6,270 customers chose to keep their mechanical meters, and 13,110 more did not respond to BC Hydro’s letters, so they will have the $35 fee added to their bills until they choose another option.

BC Hydro reports that 99 per cent of its customers now have the wireless meter. Most of those have been switched to automated billing, and have their daily electricity use displayed on their online account pages.

Claims of health effects from wireless meter transmissions have been rejected by health authorities, and also by the BCUC in a review of FortisBC’s wireless meter program. BCUC found that the radio frequency signal from a bank of smart meters is less than 10 per cent of the natural background level, and a tiny fraction of the exposure from a cellular phone. (See chart at bottom of this commentary).

Citizens for Safe Technology, one of the more active opponents of the wireless grid, was represented at the FortisBC hearings by Donald Maisch. BCUC rejected Maisch’s claims of health hazards, noting that Maisch’s “consulting livelihood depends on public fears and concerns about radio frequency exposure.”

 

Just Posted

Columbia River Treaty to be renegotiated in early 2018

News came in a Tweet from the U.S. Department of State

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Castlegar Rebels take flight in win over Grand Forks

Team speed was too much for the visiting Grand Forks Border Bruins to handle.

Property crime on the rise in Grand Forks: RCMP

Grand Forks RCMP sat down with the Gazette to talk property crime and community solutions.

RDKB elects Russell as board chair

Grace McGregor will be vice-chair of the board.

VIDEO: New series takes in-depth look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Black Press takes a hard look at sexual harassment in B.C.

B.C. polygamous leader argues charge should be dropped in charter challenge

Winston Blackmore argues some of the evidence shouldn’t be used against him

LETTER: Proportional representation makes votes count

Fair Vote Canada representative responds to Tom Fletcher column

B.C. dog owners warn about chain collars after puppy almost strangled

Young Rottweiler pup couldn’t breathe after another dog caught tooth on his collar

Accused NYC subway bomber expected to face federal charges

Akayed Ullah, 27, was charged Tuesday with terrorism and weapons related charges

Strategy announced for Indigenous cancer care

Various stakeholders have come together to provide a road map from prevention to survivorship

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

B.C. Conservatives applaud Site C decision

B.C. Conservatives happy with government decision to proceed

Hwy. 1 avalanche improvements promise less delays

B.C.’s new remote avalanche-control systems near Revelstoke are ready for avalanche season

Most Read