I write in response to the story published in The Leader July 23 in which we are told that fees will be levied on the 60,000 households that have refused a smart meter. These fees are to offset the costs of having the old meters read manually. Energy Minister Bill Bennett considers this a concession to demands for an opt-out option.
However, this option only applies to those households that have not had a smart meter installed. What about the thousands of people that were bullied into taking one against their will? What about the people who have moved and now live with a smart meter they do not want? What about people who live in strata complexes who have to live with multiple microwave smart meters pulsing through their homes? All of those people must also have the right to choose a safe and secure electrical meter that does nothing more than record energy use.
The Liberals plan to have the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) oversee the fees offers us little comfort. Restricting the BCUC hearings to cost alone does not take into account the many other issues which people have with smart meters.
Every ratepayer in B.C. is already paying for the Smart Grid, whether they have a smart meter or not. Smart meters and all their infrastructure, plus future upgrades, are bought using the money all ratepayers pay in our rate charges.
In actuality, if you keep your analogue meter BC Hydro should pay you a rebate because you are paying for a service you don’t want. There is no need to incur the cost of meter readers except to verify readings once a year. Other constituencies in Canada use a system of customer-relayed information in order to form billings. At a cost per microwave smart meter of approximately $555 per household to install, when a customer says ‘no’ there is a saving to BC Hydro which should be passed along to the customer.
A true opt-out option would be to allow any British Columbian who wishes not to have a smart meter, to do so without harassment or underhanded coercion.