On July 18, Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, announced that BC Hydro will offer new options for customers who have put their smart meters on hold.
This decision was made by the government as a response to public concerns, and will provide opt-out options with the costs borne by those customers and not subsidized by the majority, who have a standard BC Hydro smart meter.
BC Hydro customers who do not currently have a smart meter will now have three choices:
* Choose the standard smart meter at no cost.
* Accept a digital meter with the radio off. This option will be subject to a one-time cost to modify the meter plus a monthly fee to read the meter.
* Keep the old analog meter, which will be subject to a monthly fee that will include both the extra cost of reading the meter and the cost of instituting duplicate systems.
“This decision finds an appropriate balance between addressing the concerns raised by people who have put their meter installation on hold, while ensuring that the majority of customers who have a standard smart meter will not be paying for those who select an opt out option,” said Bennett.
The costs and fees associated with the options will be established by BC Hydro but will be reviewed by the BC Utilities Commission to ensure that BC Hydro is only recovering the cost of providing and servicing the radio-off and analog options.
“Smart meters are now part of our standard operating equipment, just like utility poles and wires,” said CEO of BC Hydro, Charles Reid.
“We have been engaging with customers throughout the province about smart meters over the past two years and we believe this solution is a reasonable compromise.”
“As we have said, nobody will be forced to take a smart meter. I believe that this is a fair and reasonable solution for all British Columbians,” Bennett added.