Smart meter installer photographs a sign opposing replacement of mechanical power meter

Smart meter refusal fees trimmed

BC Hydro customers who cling to mechanical power meters will continue to pay $32.40 a month for manual meter readings

BC Hydro customers who refuse to part with their mechanical power meters will continue to pay $32.40 a month for manual meter readings, with a refund on the balance of the $35 they’ve been paying since December.

The B.C. Utilities Commission ruled on BC Hydro’s smart meter opt-out fees Friday, after an order from the B.C. government required the regulator to approve fees covering all of BC Hydro’s costs.

A $20 a month charge will continue for BC Hydro customers who accept a digital meter with the radio transmission function turned off. The commission cut the one-time fee for disabling the meter radio to $22.60, far below BC Hydro’s proposed $100.

Most of BC Hydro’s nearly two million customers now have fully functioning smart meters, which send daily readings to a collection network and signal when power goes out and comes back on.

A few customers cling to theories that the meters present a health hazard, despite evidence that their signals are weaker than the natural background of radio frequency signals even in remote areas.

BC Hydro’s meter upgrade was exempted from review, but the commission ruled last year on similar equipment for FortisBC’s electrical grid in the Okanagan and Kootenay regions.

Commissioners rejected testimony from smart meter opponents, noting that their spokesmen were unqualified and in most cases repeating false or exaggerated claims in order to sell solutions to the purported hazards.

BC Hydro spent nearly $1 billion to upgrade its grid, forecasting savings from automatic meter reading to faster detection of outages and elimination of power theft from meter bypasses.

The commission also reduced fees for customers who move and request a radio-off meter at their new address. To switch from a mechanical meter to a radio-off meter will cost $77.60, reduced from the BC Hydro’s proposed $100. Going from one radio-off meter to another will cost $132.60, down from the proposed $155 that includes activating the meter in the former residence.

 

Just Posted

Saanich councillor open to more commercial operations in local parks

Coun. Ned Taylor had raised the issue during his election campaign

Langford’s Sarah Beckett Memorial playground opens

Life of West Shore RCMP Constable honoured with new playground

Search for missing Saanich Peninsula pair ends in tragedy

Vehicle found with two deceased occupants inside

Details remains spare as investigation into high-speed crash in Victoria continue

Police watch-dog has assumed investigation of crash that sent three to hospital

Ten candidates will run in Sooke byelection

A mixture of well known figures mix with newcomers to the field

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Most Read