Province grants smart meter extension for BC Hydro

The province has given BC Hydro a one-year extension to get the final seven per cent of their smart meters installed.

BC Hydro has installed 93 per cent or 1.73 million of 1.87 million smart meters. To ensure the final seven per cent of smart meters can be installed, the province is extending the deadline under the Clean Energy Act from Dec. 31, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2013.

Shortages in qualified labour, equipment and specialized meters, plus customer concerns, prevented BC Hydro from fully installing all smart meters in 2012.

The additional time will enable BC Hydro to complete the work and address as many customer concerns as possible before finalizing smart meter installations.

There has been a tremendous amount of resistance to smart meters in British Columbia, and in Golden in particular.

Citizens for Safe Technology, an international group that aims to educate and protect the public from unsafe wireless technologies, has been one of the groups leading the charge against smart meters, and gained quite a following in Golden.

Citizens and businesses in town placed “No Smart Meter” signs on their buildings, and even locked up their current meters, to prevent the new technology from being installed.

The concern being that the smart meters emit dangerously high frequencies, and can be detrimental to your health.

The Town of Golden council even sent a letter to BC Hydro, requesting an “opt out” option for the residents of Golden.

BC Hydro is insisting that the meters are safe, and that they are expected to pay for themselves by delivering $1.6 billion in benefits over 20 years. These are savings that BC Hydro will not have to collect from customers.

Their research has shown that some of the new tools available through smart meters will enable customers to conserve up to 15 per cent in energy costs.

Smart meters will make possible new conservation tools like secure online customer accounts and optional in-home devices that will provide homeowners with up-to-date information about power use.

Also, once smart meters are fully installed and operational, they will also let BC Hydro know of an outage immediately, so power can be restored faster.