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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke council approves new funding for chamber of commerce

A $16,000 service agreement to be created

Sooke council delays vote on Whiffin Spit memorial wall

Sooke district council has again delayed a decision to erect a memorial… Continue reading

VIDEO: Langford man battling cancer honored with hot rod, motorcycle procession

Friends and family support Patrick O’Hara on his 73rd birthday

Langford Fire calm mother and daughter after being trapped in elevator

Three-year-old girl given stuffed animal to calm nerves

Langford businesses can expand onto sidewalks, public spaces

Council passes new bylaw supporting business expansion

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

Most Read