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.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dale family was prominent in Summerland’s past

Ruth Dale taught for many years

Penticton Vees comeback for overtime win to end regular season

The Vees were down 3-0 to start the third before putting together an epic comeback.

PHOTOS: Celebrating diversity in Penticton

Seventh annual OneWorld Festival celebrates the worlds of different cultures in the South Okanagan.

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

WATCH: Van, tools stolen from Penticton company facing third theft in one month

An Eckert Electric Ltd. van was stolen this morning at gas station with employees close by

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase from Kelowna to Abbotsford

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Most Read