Like some other Hydro customers I received a form letter from our state-owned monopoly offering so-called “choices” with regard to power meters.
These “choices,” the deadline, and the fees suggested are really not choices at all but a thinly veiled coercion tactic to get people to consent to having a not-so-smart meter installed on their home.
If you read the letter closely the default option is to retain the existing meter but be charged a monthly fee if you don’t respond, the last time I checked negative option billing was illegal in this province, it has been since the cable companies in the ’90s attempted to charge customers for extra channels that they did not opt out of.
Even the option for a not-so-smart meter with the transmitter turned off isn’t really an option. How would you know in fact that the transmitter was in fact turned off? They’ve been lying to us all along!
Also why a monthly fee? Until recently the meters were read bimonthly.
What’s more, Fortis B.C already has meter readers, employed by Accenture, going around and reading the gas meters manually. Are they insinuating that the same readers can’t also read electric meters while on their route?
From the wording in the letter, BC Hydro would like you to believe that you have no choice but to accept the smart meter or pay a significant amount to do otherwise. They are saying they will even be charging for a non-functioning smart meter with the transmitter turned off.
This is their intention, but NOT the reality.
BC Hydro must apply to BCUC (BC Utilities Commission) for approval of their fee structure to justify it. If BCUC approves, these fees could go in immediately, but until that decision is made by the BCUC, Hydro cannot, within the law, go forward with what is stated in the letter.
This they haven’t yet done.
This form letter has all the banality as the junk mail that some mail-order companies send out stating that you have “won” a contest of some sort if you respond by date X, and has about the same legal standing.
I would not and am not submitting to this farce, you can’t agree to anything made on the fly.
If you have not done so already I would encourage you to look into the class action lawsuit against smart meters submitted by the Citizens For Safe Technology group at citizensforsafetechnology.org.
While there is a suggested donation to join to help pay for legal costs, it’s far less then the non-approved fee structure Hydro implies in their letter.
If they win their case, everyone will be permitted a no-fee opt-out. If they lose, there won’t be any further consequences than what we are looking at now since the participants in the suit are kept confidential, and the suit is not seeking damages.