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

Rossland’s Seven Summits school gets grant to grow global presence

Centre for Learning hopes to triple the number of international students it has

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

Rossland skiier places third at U19 Canadian Ski Cross

Rossland’s Sage Stefani finished out a successful season.

Warfield elementary school celebrating 70 years

Webster Elementary School officially opened April 23, 1949; open house and events planned next week

Patients thank Kootenay Boundary doctor

Dr. Scheepers’ patients thanked him for the gift of restoring their sight

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read