Keep your old power meter, for a fee

People who insist on refusing smart meters can keep their old mechanical meter as long as it lasts, cost to be determined

A smart meter installer photographs a sign posted to refuse replacement of mechanical power meter

VICTORIA – People who insist on refusing new wireless electrical meters can keep their old mechanical meter as long as it lasts, if they pay a monthly fee, Energy Minister Bill Bennett announced Thursday.

Customers can keep their mechanical meters until they break down, their Measurement Canada accuracy seal expires or the customer relocates, the ministry said in a statement.

The mechanical meter option is added to an earlier compromise with BC Hydro customers who still don’t have a digital smart meter, which transmits power consumption and status via radio signals. Customers can have a digital meter with its transmission function turned off, or keep their old meter, as long as they pay the cost of having the meter read manually.

Bennett said the cost of meter reading will be about $20 a month. Customers who accept a deactivated smart meter will also pay a fee of about $100 to have it adjusted.

The fee to keep a mechanical meter will be higher, because it will require a separate system to manually record and bill for power consumption, Bennett said.

NDP energy critic John Horgan said he is pleased that the proposed fees will be reviewed by the B.C. Utilities Commission before being implemented. The opt-out provision should have been made available from the start, instead of rushing to meet the government’s artificial deadline to install smart meters, Horgan said.

BC Hydro reports that 60,000 smart meter installations have been delayed due to customer requests, while 1.8 million or 96 per cent of customers now have a functioning smart meter.

Some people persist in the belief that the radio signals from smart meters are a health hazard, despite the fact that the periodic meter signals represent a tiny fraction of the radio frequency exposure from a mobile phone call.

Bennett said mechanical or “analog” meters are obsolete, and eventually every customer will have a smart meter, whether it is set to transmit or not.

“Bear in mind, when somebody’s analog meter wears out, stops working or comes to the end of its useful life, there are no analog meters to reinstall,” Bennett said. “You can’t buy them anywhere.”

 

Just Posted

“Huge disappointment” as BCVT learns Northern Sea Wolf will not sail this summer

The Nimpkish is arrriving near-empty as frustrated travelers can’t get to Bella Bella for transfer

Protection order issued after Bella Coola bear attack

Fruit trees to be removed after sow grizzly defended cubs and sent man to hospital

Bella Coola enjoys 33rd Annual Valley Ridge Riders Rodeo

Sunny skies on Monday added a welcome touch to an otherwise damp weekend

First Nation pipeline protesters erect ‘tiny homes’ in B.C. Park

Kanahus Manuel and Tiny House Warriors say more homes being constructed in park

Greyhound to end bus service in B.C., Alberta

Company axing passenger bus and freight services in Prairies, and cutting all but one route in B.C.

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

Most Read