BC Hydro says its smart meters are safe

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk
BC Hydro says its smart meters are safe

BC Hydro says its Smart Meters are different that the ones in Saskatchewan that are being yanked out after several burst into flame.

“The smart meters that BC Hydro has been using on its system for the past three years are made by Itron. These meters are manufactured in the United States and they have gone through extensive testing.”

Hydro’s Greg Alexis says as far as fire risk homeowners are safer with the new smart meters.

“There is no evidence that a smart meter has ever been the cause of a fire in British Columbia. In fact a University of Fraser Valley report last year concluded there have actually been fewer residential structure fires in the province since we started installing smart meters back in 2011.”

But what about news stories in Coquitlam, Port Alberni, Mission, and Nanaimo where fires originated at the smart meter’s base?

“In regards to the Mission incident we can confirm the smart meter was not the case of that fire. The fire was the result of a hairline fracture at the customers meter base. It would not have been visible when our installer inspected the meter socket.”

In any event BC Hydro can’t re-install the old analog meters anyway.

“The old meters were recycled.”

Alexis says Hydro has installed one-point-nine-million smart meters in BC.

Saskatchewan has ordered the removal of 105,000 installed smart meters and pressed pause on its smart meter program.


  1. Anyone thinking BC hYdro is going to back down on the use of smart meters is dreaming in technicolor. The smart meters are here to stay and some to come will be peak rates and off peak rates.

  2. I think the effects of the wifi is not valid we all have wifi routers in our houses. However I would like to know what the power draw is for the wifi component and if that power is being charged to the customer. The average router draw about 2 watts of power so that is 50 watts per day which would workout to about $30/year in increased billing per household.

  3. In terms of billing, smart meters have brought BC Hydro into the 21 st century. When analog meters were still in use, I lodged a complaint with BCUC that BC Hydro was employing meter estimates to implement rate increases which usually occur on April 1 every year. The analogy I used is that the price of gas is not changed while anyone fills his car. Imagine being told that 24 litres of your 50 litre fill will be priced higher based on an estimate of the fuel dispensed when a price change was implemented.

    The BCUC agreed with my point but indicated the difficult logistics of reading every ratepayer’s meter on April 1. When I suggested smart meter technology would allow this, its response was that the BCUC had no authority as decreed by the government.

    When I pointed out that meter technology should have no bearing on billing practices, they agreed with me. I then obtained written confirmation from BC Hydro that my smart meter will be “read” on the date when a rates change is implemented.

    Smart meters also have the ability to measure PF (power factor) which can “go out of whack” (in layman’s terms) such that BC Hydro delivers more power to a ratepayer than is actually “consumed.” A PF surcharge has been applied to “offending” industrial ratepayers for many years where PF is beyond established criteria.

    When I noted that the spreadsheets displaying my consumption records contained provision for collecting PF performance, I raised the question whether PF surcharges were being consider for residential ratepayers. The short answer was no and the spreadsheet format was changed.

    So to add to Chris’s concern re “time of use billing,” BC Hydro has, at its disposal, a powerful tool in its smart meters for other purposes.

  4. Is knowing your usage hourly worth risking your family’s life? All smart meters, regardless of the name on the plate, are basically the same. They all have lithium batteries inside a cheap combustible plastic case. It says right on the battery that it should not get hot. What happens when it sits in the summer sun? Or when the electricity surge heats the casing? No one is tracking smart meter “failures” in BC. There are no codes that the fire commissioner uses. There is no communication between the BC Safety Authority and the fire commissioner. The BCUC has been told to stay out of any smart meter discussion. There have been fires, as Bill Bennett admitted yesterday. he told Hydro to find out how many. Is there a magic number after which people will get concerned?

  5. Smart meters were brought in so the BC Hydro could charge us time-of-day-billing. BC is simply following Ontario’s lead. There was no other good reason to replace the existing analogue system. This is all about how to charge the taxpayer more money for the same service.

    We get hit with the cost of the meter plus (THE LIBERALS) will start charging us time-of day-billing. ANY Liberal stating that Hydro will not implement time-of-day-billing is simply NOT telling the truth. Just like the HST fiasco, it will be a “wasn’t on our radar” excuse.

  6. I fail to understand how a hair line fracture on the metal housing of a meter base could be the cause of a fire. The connections of the meter base are insulated from the housing.

    The University of Fraser Valley study shows a coincidental fact! No structural residential fires since the smart meters have been deployed. Comparing apples to oranges?

    B.C.Hydro has decided to destroy the r time proven reliable analog meter rather than re calibrate them. This idea is to try to make it cost prohibitive to return to the analog reliability and safety aspect.