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

Incumbents and acclaimed mayors win elections all across B.C.’s north

Fraser Lake saw their first female mayor elected

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Northwestern BC Hydro transmission line to be refurbished

Replacing poles between Kitimat and Terrace far cheaper than complete new line

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Around the BCHL: Chilliwack Chiefs snag spot in CJHL national rankings

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Rural regions get priority for B.C. referendum mail-out

Ballot security measures aim to protect against voter fraud

B.C.’s natural gas supply could see 50% dip through winter due to pipeline blast

It’s been two weeks since the Enbridge pipeline ruptured near Prince George on Oct. 9, sparking a large fireball

Mega Millions, Powerball prizes come down to math, long odds

Biggest myth: The advertised $1.6 billion Mega Millions prize and $620 million Powerball prize aren’t quite real

2 Canadians advance to finals at world wrestling championships

Olympic champion Erica Wiebe just missed joining them with a loss 3-1 to three-time world champion Adeline Gray of the United States in the 76-kg event

VIDEO: Fire destroys historic small-town B.C. restaurant

Two people were injured as fire ripped through the Hedley restaurant around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday

B.C. town’s mayoral race a tie, come down to luck of the draw

Harry Gough led incumbent Cindy Fortin by one vote on election night Saturday

Outdoor retailer MEC vows to boost diversity after online complaint

Mountain Equipment Co-op was criticized for perpetuating a white-only picture of the outdoors

Most Read