Many Peachland homeowners will have received notices from BC Hydro this week advising them of plans for replacement of their electricity meter with the so-called Smart Meter. This has prompted some residents to contact me about their options if they do not wish to have the new meter installed.
I will answer that question here, but first some background information.
BC Hydro’s authority to implement the Smart Meter changeover is mandated by Provincial legislation and is designed to provide for the installation of Smart Meters in every home throughout B.C.
The new meters use wireless technology to communicate information to BC Hydro about homeowner power usage, thereby providing a more effective way to bill customers, monitor consumer demand, manage the distribution system and zero-in on the location of power outages.
At a recent public meeting held at the request of Peachland District Council, representatives from BC Hydro provided information about the program, answered questions from council and the public, and attempted to address concerns. Among the information provided was the following:
- the wireless signal emitted by a Smart Meter is similar to that emitted by a radio or television receiver
- the signal is active for approximately 20 seconds, three times per day
- the radio frequency emitted by a Smart Meter over a 20-year period is equivalent to one 30-minute cell phone conversation
- customer data privacy is guaranteed in exactly the same way that applies now under the existing metering system.
When in receipt of this information, most BC Hydro customers, including myself, are willing to embrace the new technology seeing it as safe, non-intrusive, and having the potential to keep BC Hydro rates stable and competitive: a view that is clearly shared by the Provincial Government who have legislated the introduction of the technology.
However, what of those who are not convinced? Will they have the opportunity to refuse to have a meter installed?
What BC Hydro have said is that Smart Meters will not be installed against a homeowner’s objections until the customer’s questions and concerns have been satisfactorily addressed. While that statement leaves open the question as to who has to be convinced that the concerns have been satisfactorily addressed, it is clear that BC Hydro have no wish to force installation against a customer’s wishes.
Residents who want more information about the program can visit the BC Hydro website www.bchydro.com/smartmeters and, anyone who, having informed themselves about the program, still does not want to have a Smart Meter installed should either telephone BC Hydro at 1-800-224-9376 to tell them so, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting that a meter not be installed. That, we have been assured, will stop installation and trigger a “conversation” between BC Hydro and the customer.
I have no wish to encourage objections to the installation process because I do not believe that there are safety, or privacy, issues to be concerned about. However, I know that some others do not share that view, and I trust that the foregoing contact information will be of assistance in addressing their concerns.
I am always happy to respond to questions and comments, and can be reached by email at email@example.com