Letters: Hydro responds

Ted Olynyk outlines BC Hydro's response to smart meter concerns

I want to thank to our BC Hydro customers for their patience as we move to modernize our electrical system so we can better meet the growing demand for safe, reliable power. Over one million smart meters have been installed — about a 60 per cent completion rate for the province.  With a project of this size, it’s not going to be perfect; we acknowledge that and appreciate your patience.

The new meters provide a lot of benefits: faster power restoration when there’s an outage, new tools to help save energy and money, and reduced costs with savings passed to our customers.

Customer feedback is very important to us, including the tough questions. A colder winter coupled with a rate increase at the time new meters were installed caused some to ask if the higher bill is a result of the new meter. All concerns brought to our attention are investigated. What we are finding is that bills are often consistent with past use; or there has been a manual misread of the meter. If neither of those are the cause, we look at every other possible sourceincluding the meter. Over half of the inquiries regarding high bills this year havecome from customers with the old meters, not new smart meters.

Like the millions of mass-produced electronic devices we power, there will be a small number of meters that might not work properly. The old meters had the same shortcomings.  Out of over a million new meters installed to date, a very small number experienced any problems.  The beauty of the new meters is that the vast majority of these problems are being caught by system checks and do not affect customer bills. When our smart grid is operational, it will be easier to detect problems and fix them much faster.

To learn more about the new meters, visit bchydro.com/smartmeters. To find out more about your bill, sign up for an online account at bchydro.com or call our customer service team at 1-800-224-9376.

Ted Olynyk

Mgr., Community Relations

Vancouver Island

BC Hydro