Hydro responds to critics

Gary Murphy of BC Hydro responds to last week's criticism on smart meters.

Dear editor,

I would like to respond to some misinformation that was recently published about the safety of BC Hydro’s smart meters.

The installation of new meters is nearing completion around the province. To date, our installers have identified over 2,000 cases where homeowners had pre-existing unsafe meter socket conditions. All of these potential safety hazards have been repaired by a certified electrician at no cost to the homeowner.

Addressing broken meter sockets mean a safer electrical grid and this has been confirmed in a report authored by the President of the B.C. Fire Chiefs.  The report shows electrical related fires in residential structures are rare and have actually declined in British Columbia since we started installing new meters in July 2011. The report is available on line at www.ufv.ca.

BC Hydro has to meet rigorous safety standards for all of our grid equipment – including meters. Our meters are regulated by Measurement Canada, and are compliant with the American National Standards Institute, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the International Electrotechnical Commission.

Further, the cost of the smart metering program is budgeted at $930 million and the program is tracking to be on or below budget.

We’re committed to working with customers who have concerns about the new metering system. We know this could take multiple conversations and in the meantime we will not install a new meter without the homeowner’s agreement.

We’re finding when we talk to people many will accept a new meter because we are able to provide them with the facts about the program.

The reality is we must modernize our aging system and the old meters are becoming obsolete.

The new meters will get the lights back on faster and safer during power outages,  provide customers with tools to conserve energy and save money, reduce wasted electricity and keep rates amongst the lowest in North America.

Gary Murphy

Chief Project Officer, Smart Metering and Infrastructure

BC Hydro