Editor, The Times:
I read Tom Fletcher’s article (“Smart meter system finishes under budget,” Jan. 28 issue) about the BC Hydro smart meter project being “officially complete” and “$153 million below the original budget”. (The future cost of replacing all these meters, whose life-expectancy is at least 10 years less than the analog meters, is not mentioned.)
Now, I realize how figures can be manipulated, so I’m not necessarily swallowing this whole, but I find it interesting that the article notes there are still 13,320 customers who have refused to accept smart meters, “opting to pay a monthly fee.”
Well, we didn’t actually opt for the fee; we just refused to part with our safe and reliable, long-life analogs that don’t emit EMF – the fee part was imposed as a kind of extortion or punishment for not playing their game.
A little math: my $408/year extortion fee times 13,320 ‘refuseniks’ yields BC Hydro $5,434,560 a year to offset their expenses; and don’t let them tell you this is for meter readers.
Meter reading was always been included in the service provided (even though they are not really needed, with today’s communication devices), and there are countless ‘smart’ meters in rural areas still being read by meter readers.
While I appreciated the ‘privilege’ of being allowed to ‘opt out’ (though I never opted in), I resent the fact that B.C. residents ‘in the know’ are paying a higher opt-out fee than anywhere else in the country, or indeed, in North America.
Should a ‘refuseniks’ falter in his/her resolve, there is a $55 charge to ‘opt in’ to the smart meter program. And should BC Hydro decide to force the issue, there is a $65 “failed installation charge” if a customer refuses forced meter exchange or obstructs access.
BC Hydro also has demonstrated that they have the power and will to cut service (winter or not) to a customer who refuses to pay the extortion fees (despite years of loyal service payment); then, when the non-compliant customer has been whipped into submission of ‘back payments’, s/he is then charged an exorbitant fee to be reconnected – to a ‘smart’ meter!
It sure seems like a David versus Goliath story; I hope it ends the same way.
I never thought our government would allow its citizens to be subjected to such obvious extortion when trying to protect their privacy, security, safety and health.