BC Hydro says it has installed 1.8 million smart meters

Smart meter holdouts face stiff fees from BC Hydro

$35 a month for manual readings, or else $20 a month plus a one-time $100 fee to disable radio

It won’t be cheap for opponents of wireless smart meters to keep their old analog electricity meters.

BC Hydro says it will slap an extra $35 per month fee  – $420 per year – on the roughly 60,000 smart meter holdouts for manual meter readings starting in December.

Those who don’t want to pay that much have two cheaper options.

They can accept a wireless smart meter at no charge.

Or they can request a smart meter with the radio transmitter disabled for a one-time $100 charge and additional $20 per month fees starting April 1.

Either way, those who opt to stay off Hydro’s smart grid will pay more.

BC Hydro has sent out letters to households that have refused smart meters outlining the options, along with a form to send back making their choice.

Those who make no choice will be assigned the $35-a-month default option.

“If you do not confirm your choice, BC Hydro will not exchange the meter at your home, and the monthly cost for keeping an old meter will be added to your BC Hydro bill,” states the letter from Greg Reimer, executive vice-president of transmission and distribution.

The proposed charges must still be approved by the BC Utilities Commission.

Hydro officials say the fees offset the expense of adding infrastructure so the grid works as planned and the costs of manually performing services now automated by smart meters.

BC Hydro says those who keep old analog meters aren’t guaranteed that will be an option indefinitely.

Crews will replace analog meters that break or their accuracy seals expire as long as the existing stock of old meters lasts.

If that supply runs out, or for people who move to a new home, the only option will be to accept a smart meter, either operating wirelessly or with the transmitter turned off.

Opposition group Citizens for Safe Technology calls the planned fees “extortionary” – noting they add up to as much as $25 million a year – and doubts regulators will be able to justify them.

“Why should we pay not to have something harmful put on our homes?” the group said in a message to supporters, recommending they not return the forms.

“Hydro believes that this announcement will push more customers to accept what they do not want or need. Many are understandably upset and confused by this latest ultimatum.”

CST also argues there’s no guarantee radio-off meters won’t still radiate or that Hydro won’t reactivate the transmitters without customer consent.

Smart meter opponents are also trying to launch a class action lawsuit to force a reasonable permanent no-fee opt out, noting people who move may find a wireless smart meter already exists in their new home, against their wishes.

Their action demands free choice “without extortive fees, coercion or conditions designed to intimidate.”

More than 1.8 million smart meters have been installed, leaving less than four per cent of Hydro customers without one.

Just Posted

Variety show celebrates performing arts in the Alberni Valley

Funding Alberni Valley Arts Society is hosting second annual show for youth

Port Alberni city council gives green light to retail cannabis stores

Alberni Cannabis and Platinum Cannabis received positive recommendations

Port Alberni is home to B.C.’s luckiest lotto store

Five million-dollar winners bought tickets from same corner store

Drag races could return to Stamp Ave in Port Alberni in 2019

Thunder in the Valley might not return to the Alberni Valley Regional Airport this year

Climbers scale Canada’s tallest waterfall in the Alberni Valley

Ice climbers Chris Jensen, Will Gadd and Peter Hoang made history

VIDEO: 13-year-old killed in B.C. crash that involved five kids

The children range in age from six to 17.

UPDATE: Nanaimo ferry sailing cancelled due to docking mishap in Gibsons

Tuesday’s 8:45 p.m. sailing from Departure Bay cancelled as vessel re-deployed

MPs denounce leaked reports of Trudeau-JWR clash over Supreme Court pick

Opposition MPs called the leaks an act of desperation meant to smear Wilson-Raybould

Study says B.C.’s housing policies mean drug users can be targeted for eviction

The study involves 50 people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

VIDEO: Homicide team called in after three killed in Surrey car crash

Investigators ask public to come forward with information, dashcam video

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

UPDATED: Sailings resume after BC Ferries boat hits Langdale terminal

The Queen of Surrey is stuck on the dock, causing delays to Horseshoe Bay trips

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Coroner’s inquest announced for Victoria teen’s overdose death

Elliot Eurchuk was 16 years old when he died of an opioid overdose at his Oak Bay home

Most Read