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

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

Grads at Riverside Park in Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof celebrates 2021 graduates

NVSS grads got together at Riverside Park on Friday, June 11 in… Continue reading

Singing and drumming was heard in downtown Vanderhoof on Monday, June 14. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Photos: Honour Walk held in Vanderhoof

An honour walk was held Monday June 14 in Vanderhoof, remembering the… Continue reading

Emergency crews responded to the scene of a suspicious fire at the southeast corner of the OK Café in Vanderhoof Friday, June 11. The historic building is 101-years-old. (BC RCMP photo)
OK Café in Vanderhoof alright after suspicious fire

Damage kept to a minimum by firefighters

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Most Read