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

Blaney warns fraudulent CRA tax calls are on the rise

“We are asking people to please be careful.”

Students ‘wow’ at Annual Regional Science Fair

Kids from accross the North Island show off their science projects

Port Hardy Fire Rescue celebrates 50th anniversary

Port Hardy Fire Rescue (PHFR) is gearing up for a big anniversary… Continue reading

Lack of security: why Vancouver Island food production is on the decline

Big Read: agriculture a big, expensive commitment as advocates push to make us more food secure

Port Alice CAO says goodbye for Sayward

“This decision was by no means an easy one to make.”

Toronto van attack suspect faces 10 counts of first-degree murder

The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Apirl/May Hot Spots!

Find out what’s going on in the North Island (April 25 - May 2)

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

B.C. Hells Angels invited to rally by anti-SOGI organizer

The Culture Guard group has helped Hells Angels in the past, said its executive director.

Most Read