Hydro gets interim approval for new charges against those refusing smart meters

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

New fees are coming for B.C. homeowners who refuse to have a smart meter installed.

The BC Utilities Commission has approved a $35/month fee that BC Hydro can charge to those who want to keep their analog meter, starting Dec. 1

It has also approved a one-time $100 set-up fee and a $20/month operating fee for those who keep the smart meter, but have the radio transmitter turned off. That starts April 1, 2014.

A third charge , one of $65, will be levied starting Oct. 25 to homeowners who fail to let crews install a meter on their property.

All the charges have been approved on an interim basis, and could change if the utilities commission decides.

Hydro has applied for them to cover costs for people who opt out of the smart meter grid.

The new fees are already being attacked by local anti-smart meter groups who are calling them undemocratic.

Sharon Noble is the director of ‘The Coalition to Stop Smart Meters,’ and she says the fees have enraged those who previously were on the fence about the meters.

She says, “I’m getting more than 300 emails a day from people who are absolutely livid about this. People who didn’t mind getting a smart meter for health reasons, they were concerned about democratic choice, these people especially are furious.”

She also points out a number of U.S. states where people had the choice to keep their old analog meter, without facing any additional fees.

 

 

Comments

    • BC Hydro wrote to tell me that a smart meter was not installed at my “request” at my seasonal residence and I will be subject to “opt=out” fees if I choose not to have a smart-meter installed.

      In the first place, IBC Hydro or a smart meter installer did not contact me regarding the installation of a smart meter at my seasonal residence. So I regard the recent BC Hydro letter as somewhat presumptious. It may be that I was not there at the time but its position is difficult to undestand when my primary residence has a working smart meter installed. BC Hydro should be aware of that.

      BCUC is not allowed and does not to deal with any smart meter concern under Section 7(a) of the Clean Energy Act. However, they have been given specific authorization and power to comment on and approve “opt-out” fees.

      There has been a suggestion that BCUC has dealt with and already deemed that smart meters are not a health hazard when it dealt with an application by Fortis Gas to implement a smart meter program,

      I would not necessarily assume that just because BCUC dealt with the health issue in the Fortis application, the debate on safety concerns of smart meters is over.

      There is one marked difference-as far as I am aware-between the Fortis and BC HYdro smart meter programs:

      Fortis intends to operate its smart meters in “radio-off” mode-hence no wireless radiation. Perhaps, others can confirm or refute my observations.

      However, having said that, I personally do not have a concern with smart meters per se. But I respect the concerns that others may have.

  1. Subject: Capitulated

    BCUC has capitulated re Hydro “opt out fees.” A monopoly obviously means a criminal act because that is exactly what this interim action is. We will not participate in a criminal act. Should Hydro continue to bully we will litigate. My wife has legitimate health concerns and we will not be goaded into submission. We will not pay in advance of a binding judgment.

    BCUC, you let the residents of BC down. Your action is illegal.

    David
    Victoria, BC

  2. The BC Utilities Commission operates under the UCA. According to Section 3 of the UCA the Commission is subject to direction from the government and the Commission must comply with a direction from the government.

    In other words, when Christy Clark says jump, the BC Utilities Commission says how high? The BC Utilities Commission back in 2008 ruled against Fortis’ Hydro application for advanced metering ruling that the application was incomplete, premature and showed no evidence of cost-effectiveness.

    Ex Premier Campbell made sure from that day on the BC Utilities Commission would obey the BC Liberals and not the will of the people.

    Don’t forget that the BC Liberal government uses BC Hydro as their own personal source of general revenues. Any charges that BC Hydro chooses to extract from its’ customer base is shared by the BC Liberal party. They smile at extra charges.
    David

  3. This is a privacy issue . . . the “Smart” meters are a monitoring device . . . they record when you turn on appliances, communicate with your new smart appliances.
    Hydro can gather data from your home and sell it to interested parties.
    Then there’s the possibility of hackers accessing your meter to see if anyone is home . . . could they then control your alarm system, open doors . . . time will tell.
    Many people I have talked to said there electricity consumption costs increased dramatically with the new meters . . . although their life style had not changed.
    And the Elephant in the Room . . . TIME OF USE BILLING, coming soon to BC . . .

    Then there’s the big one . . . Why would Hydro spend a BILLION dollars to fix something that is NOT BROKEN ? To save a few dollars in salaries of meter readers? My meter reader still comes once a month . . . because he reads the Gas Meter as well.
    How long will these electronic devices last? I would suggest less than a decade . . . so, will it cost another BIllion Dollars to replace them again? Ever have a Cell Phone or VCR last 10 years ?

    Have asked ALL these questions of BC Hydro . . . but they have NO Answers . . . and of course the lame-stream media is still talking about Rays and Foil Hats . . .

  4. Since installation of the new meters, I have been sending registered mail to BC Hydro, government office etc. response only my cards indicating additional charges. Questions asked numerous times, how can they charge when it has not been approved, then what happens to those that pay every two months, they say that the charge is a monthly one, no response from them. Is it not illegal to charge for a service not given, do they not have an obligation to a customer to answer what their intent is since the contract at present is not a monthly charge. I sent registered mail asking for a response regarding billing, to hydro, to the utilities commission, the government offices NO RESPONSE only 3 different cards and a letter at first stating what they are going to charge if I don’t convert to the new meter. What is there to hide, why can’t they answer simple questions, the other thing is no one seems to want to give their name or take on the responsibility for their actions. What happened to customer service, customer rights. I think it has to do with Greed The More You Have The More You Need The More You Want and at the peoples expense. What happens when it becomes a situation when the people have no more to give as it is BC has a large number of homeless, a large number of people out of work, we pay the highest on mortgages and taxes and bank charges. We have a poor educational system as well as a weak welfare structure for the elderly and the disabled. Drop the interest rates on visa, master card, taxes GIVE US A BREAK

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