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

Hope mothers work together to improve access, connections for autistic children

Families with autistic children in rural areas have difficulty accessing resources, each other

UPDATE: Man with gunshot wound drives into ditch on Chilliwack River Road

Serious crimes investigators believe early morning shooting to be targeted

No red flags in expense audit, says former Fraser Health boss who fired Murray

Wynne Powell said report showed need for tighter rules, but didn’t suggest abuse of expense claims

WATCH: Rally at MP’s office Friday in Chilliwack to stop KM pipeline

Water samples from Chilliwack rivers were delivered to MP Strahl’s office in a symbolic gesture

Editor’s view: A Hopeful start to the community’s first 10 km run

Good mix of pomp and circumstance, variable terrain and silliness at Sunday’s run

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Canadian cities hold March for our Lives events in wake of Florida shooting

Hundreds of people support the massive March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.

Health officials called after acid spill near B.C.-Alberta border leaks into creek

Tanker truck crashed south of Dawson Creek, spilling 17,000 litres of hydrochloric acid

Embattled band Hedley plays last show in B.C. before hiatus

About 3,000 tickets had sold for final performance at Kelowna’s Prospera Place

Trudeau to exonerate B.C. First Nations chiefs hanged in 1860s

Prime Minister to absolve Tsilhqot’in chiefs in relation to deaths of 14 construction workers

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

Most Read