Energy Minister Bill Bennett issues order on BC Hydro meter fees

Fees must cover cost of reading old meters, turning radios off in smart meters and "failed installations" where technicians turned away

Energy Minister Bill Bennett

VICTORIA – Energy Minister Bill Bennett has issued a cabinet order to the B.C. Utilities Commission to make sure it approves fees high enough cover the costs of customers opting out of BC Hydro’s smart meter program.

The order in council, signed by Bennett and Environment Minister Mary Polak, instructs the independent regulator to approve extra fees sufficient to meet the cost of manually reading mechanical electricity meters that remain in use, or collecting readings from digital meters that have their radio transmitter turned off on request of the customer.

The order also directs the BCUC to approve fees to cover the costs of “failed installations,” either because the customer refused or because an obstacle was placed in the way of the installer.

A spokesman for Bennett confirmed that the BCUC may still decide to lower the opt-out fees proposed by BC Hydro, or it may increase them if costs warrant.

BC Hydro sent letters in September to about 60,000 residential customers who have refused wireless meters, giving them until December to choose. If customers insist on keeping their old meter, a $35 monthly fee applies effective Dec. 1.

If they accept a smart meter with the “radio off,” a $100 setup fee is proposed, followed by $20 a month to collect readings starting April 1.

If customers do not register a choice by Dec. 1, their meter will be left as is and the $35 monthly fee will be added to their bill.

As it does with rate increases, BC Hydro will start charging its proposed fees as it prepares to defend them before the BCUC. If the commission orders changes, bills would be adjusted accordingly, with refunds or extra charges added.

 

Just Posted

Fernie Family Housing receives much needed funding for affordable housing

BC Housing funds new affordable housing in Fernie

Woman found in Cranbrook park pronounced deceased

Attempts to revive woman in hospital were unsuccessful, police say

Kootenay employers ready to meet job seekers at Black Press career fair

Dozens of companies will attend the event on Nov. 15 at the Ktunaxa Nation Building in Cranbrook

Woman taken to hospital after being found in Cranbrook park

RCMP say she may possibly be suffering from hypothermia

Youth strap on skates in memory of Hugh Twa

On Saturday, November 3, teams from around the Elk Valley and abroad… Continue reading

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Most Read