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.

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

The front door at 1655 20th St. in Courtenay. File photo
Courtenay council provides landlord with ultimatum

Courtenay council is giving an ultimatum to the owner of problem property:… Continue reading

The Town of Comox is looking at options for a pump track within the town. Seen here is Campbell River’s pump track on Aug. 9, 2019. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror
Comox considers future of bike pump track for the town

“…I think it would a super addition to the community.”

Theodore Lemay
Vanier grad wins $100,000 Schulich Scholarship

Theodore Lemay is first nominee from the school to win Schulich honour

The Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Summer Reading Club is about to begin. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Summer Reading Club set to launch

With summer just around the corner, another exciting season of Summer Reading… Continue reading

Temperatures are expected to soar by the weekend, with potentially record-breaking heat in the low 30Cs. Those looking to beat the heat in the ocean are advised to pack plenty of sunscreen and water. Black Press file photo
Potential record-breaking heatwave heading to the Comox Valley

“It’s the start of the season and we’re not quite acclimatized to warm temperatures”

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Most Read