Fee proposed for smart meter resistors

Minister says meters can have "radio turned off" but must pay for modification, manual meter readings

Digital meters are tested at a BC Hydro lab.

VICTORIA – Energy Minister Bill Bennett says there are about still 60,000 BC Hydro customers who are still resisting installation of wireless electricity meters, and he wants the utility to offer them manual meter readings, for a price.

“What we’re contemplating at this point is that maybe we can deliver a digital meter that has the radio turned off,” Bennett told reporters at the B.C. legislature Thursday. “We just feel that we don’t want to bully people into taking the smart meter if they don’t want it.”

Modifying the meters for different customers and sending out human meter readers would generate costs that should not be borne by the vast majority of customers who accepted wireless meters, Bennett said.

He offered no estimate of the cost, but predicted that more people will drop their opposition rather than pay for extra service. Bennett said he agrees with B.C.’s medical health officer that signals from wireless meters are not a health hazard, but he doesn’t want them forced on people who believe otherwise.

NDP energy critic John Horgan said he is pleased the government has finally agreed with his position that people should be given another option. But he wants the issue referred to the B.C. Utilities Commission to set the price, so customers aren’t “gouged” to pay for other cost overruns at the utility.

“We said before the election that an opt-out provision was appropriate,” Horgan said. “It’s done in other jurisdictions. Quebec is leading the way here in Canada. It’s about time.”

With 96 per cent of wireless meters installed, customers in some areas are receiving daily usage information on their BC Hydro customer web pages. Smart meters send a radio signal equivalent to a brief mobile phone call to report usage, and also signal when power is interrupted.

Digital meters also detect when they are tampered with, and the quality of electrical supply.

 

Just Posted

Delta mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

White Rock dog poop conspiracy picks up steam

Opponent says theory is a ‘load of crap’

Surrey MLA slams NDP poverty reduction strategy plan

Liberal MLA Marvin Hunt says the NDP’s poverty reduction plan is ‘underwhelming’

Father thanks Surrey Mountie for shooting hoops with kids, ‘changing perspectives’

‘We’re just like everyone else,’ says Surrey officer who stopped to play basketball with kids

Surrey Memorial is first in B.C. with POEM machine used for endoscopic treatment

Surgeon says equipment is ‘next-level, futuristic-type’

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

Teacher reprimanded after incident with Grade 11 student in school gym

Gregory Norman Brock was teaching at a high school in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Avalanche control tomorrow on Highway 1

Expect closures of up to two hours east of Revelstoke

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

Most Read

l -->