BC Hydro spends a considerable amount of money to encourage customers to use less electricity with the idea of delaying the need to build new power-generation facilities.
The primary method is to use a carrot-and-stick approach – the carrot being a small reward if you reduce your usage, year-over-year, and the stick being a higher rate if you go beyond a pre-established threshold.
Having said that, virtually every one of BC Hydro’s customers exceeds this threshold and pays the higher rate.
BC Hydro budgeted $930 million to install “smart meters” and in their literature aimed at justifying the installation, they included the following statement:
“Smart meters will be supported by new energy pricing tools to give customers more choices over their electricity use and greater ability to save money.”
To date, those pricing tools have not been offered. Unlike most other utilities, they do not offer an “off-peak” rate to encourage customers to switch their power usage to off-peak hours by means of a lower kilowatt hourly rate.
According to their literature, “Throughout the day, a ‘smart meter’ records your electricity use on an hourly basis.
“It stores the information securely, and sends it back to BC Hydro three times a day.”
So, the ability is there to implement such a program.
I would urge Mr. David Morton, chair of the B.C. Utilities Commission, at the next rate hearing to bring up these points and to demand that BC Hydro implement the incorporation of “off-peak” power usage at a reduced rate.
Ken Harrap, Surrey