Energy Minister Bill Bennett issues order on BC Hydro meter fees

Fees must cover cost of reading old meters, turning radios off in smart meters and "failed installations" where technicians turned away

Energy Minister Bill Bennett

VICTORIA – Energy Minister Bill Bennett has issued a cabinet order to the B.C. Utilities Commission to make sure it approves fees high enough cover the costs of customers opting out of BC Hydro’s smart meter program.

The order in council, signed by Bennett and Environment Minister Mary Polak, instructs the independent regulator to approve extra fees sufficient to meet the cost of manually reading mechanical electricity meters that remain in use, or collecting readings from digital meters that have their radio transmitter turned off on request of the customer.

The order also directs the BCUC to approve fees to cover the costs of “failed installations,” either because the customer refused or because an obstacle was placed in the way of the installer.

A spokesman for Bennett confirmed that the BCUC may still decide to lower the opt-out fees proposed by BC Hydro, or it may increase them if costs warrant.

BC Hydro sent letters in September to about 60,000 residential customers who have refused wireless meters, giving them until December to choose. If customers insist on keeping their old meter, a $35 monthly fee applies effective Dec. 1.

If they accept a smart meter with the “radio off,” a $100 setup fee is proposed, followed by $20 a month to collect readings starting April 1.

If customers do not register a choice by Dec. 1, their meter will be left as is and the $35 monthly fee will be added to their bill.

As it does with rate increases, BC Hydro will start charging its proposed fees as it prepares to defend them before the BCUC. If the commission orders changes, bills would be adjusted accordingly, with refunds or extra charges added.

 

Just Posted

“No excuse” for killing of two young grizzly cubs

Reader hopeful someone will come forward with information

UPDATE: U.S. firm fined $2.9M for fuel spill that soiled B.C. First Nation territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

No delivery services hard on local families

New parents Candace Knudsen and Bjorn Samuelsen spent five weeks away from home

UPDATED: Vehicle strike likely caused death of grizzly cubs

The cubs were discovered on June 30 on Thorsen Creek Road

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Rare white ravens spotted again on Vancouver Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

Most Read