Anti-smart meter protester Sharon Noble greets delegates at B.C.'s 2012 municipal convention in downtown Vancouver. Wireless meters have been blamed for bee deaths

B.C. smart meters cleared in Ontario debacle

$1 billion over budget, Ontario tried to use smart grid to shift load to off-peak hours. It hasn't worked

Ontario has become notorious for bad energy policy decisions, from leaky nuclear plants and brownouts, to a costly green energy subsidy deal with Samsung, to a pair of hastily cancelled gas-fired power plants that helped push former premier Dalton McGuinty from office.

So it was no surprise to weary Ontario electricity ratepayers when Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk wrapped up 2014 with a report condemning the province’s wireless smart meter program for a $1 billion cost overrun and failure to reach the program’s goal of reducing power consumption.

Unlike BC Hydro’s wireless meter program, Ontario used the smart grid’s real-time consumption data to offer discounts for off-peak power consumption, hoping to ease the load on its outdated power grid while giving customers some relief from soaring rates. But few embraced the incentive to run their clothes dryers late at night to save money.

Diehard smart meter opponents in B.C. jumped at the bad news from Ontario. Their theories of sudden billing surges, vague health concerns and even smart meter surveillance have all been debunked, but here they had a credible voice saying they are a waste of money.

Alas for them, Lysyk held up B.C.’s smart meter program as the model Ontario should have followed.

The Ontario government “did not complete any cost-benefit analysis or business case prior to making the decision to mandate the installation of smart meters,” the auditor wrote. “This is in contrast to other jurisdictions, including British Columbia, Germany, Britain and Australia, all of which assessed the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of their smart metering programs.”

Lysyk’s report also noted BC Hydro developed its business case in 2006, updated it in 2010 as meter technology evolved, and implemented it in 2011 with a plan to recover costs over 20 years. BC Hydro’s savings come mainly from reduced electricity theft, faster location of power outages and more accurate load management.

B.C. also responded to the anti-smart meter holdouts with an optional fee to cover manual meter readings for those who insisted the cellphone-like data transmissions are a threat to their health.

 

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Air quality advisory continues in the Lower Mainland

Smoke from Interior fires brings fine particulate

Sometimes it’s okay to simply try

I feel like a success even though I failed at donating blood

Fraser Valley fire departments form ‘strike teams’ to combat wildfires

Boston Bar, Chilliwack River Valley and Popkum departments form strike teams to fight wildfires

RCMP nab prolific car thief in Agassiz after month-long search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

Island swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Victoria MS athlete Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights can be misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Vancouver Whitecaps give up late goal in 2-2 draw with New York Red Bulls

Four of Vancouver’s next five games are at home

B.C. man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Most Read