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

Column: themes from the 2017 B.C. Flood and Wildfire Report

Columnist Jim Hilton offers an overview of the new fire and flood report’s 14 Strategic Shifts

Big victory for Quesnel’s U16 girls softball team in Kamloops

Unstoppable bats and a gem from Musselman propelled the girls to the win

Local athletes impress on Day 1 of Zone track and field event

CSS, QJS students showed off impressive skill as Quesnel hosts North Central Zone Championships

Tsilhqot’in community names officially recognized by Province

Tsilhqot’in names will now appear on provincial government resources, maps and databases

Editorial: respect where it’s due

Quesnel’s youth are impressive in their maturity and eloquence

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Most Read