Editor, The Times:
Re: “Regulator’s reading on smart meters,” by Tom Fletcher, Sept. 26 issue
Black Press (aptly named) wants to believe, “The end is near” to the smart meter controversy.
The recent mass mail-out to Hydro customers implies that the customer has ‘choices’ (“These options are not available to customers who already have smart meters or to commercial account holders.”) The letter informs the recipient (in bold print), “This form must: be signed by the account holder; and returned to BC Hydro by December 1, 2013.” The envelope says “Your reply is required.”
This, despite the fact that the BC Utilities Commission hasn’t yet ruled on it. Does this seem to you like the BCUC decision is a foregone conclusion? Is it, too, under the duress of corporate pressures and financial manipulation?
The fact that the BCUC approved the application by Fortis for wireless smart meter installation in the Okanagan based on Fortis’ expert – who relies on this 17-year-old safety measure for his findings – seems to answer my question. Further evidence that the BCUC approval is just a rubber stamp is obvious from the directive signed by the Lieutenant Governor and Bill Bennett, Sept. 25. It states in detail the restrictions the BCUC has – namely: no power to amend the provisions added to the electric tariff (if those with a smart meter think they won’t be hit, they are mistaken; BC Hydro has mandated it will recover, “… from all customers, costs incurred with respect to the installation and operation of, and services related to, smart meters”).
No power to require BC Hydro to install a “legacy” (analog) or “radio off” meter at a business location, or where there is a smart meter already installed (whether by stealth or otherwise; you snooze, you lose.)
In case of any loophole, the blanket directive regarding the BCUC’s powers in Section 4, (1) has it covered: “The commission must not exercise a power under the Act in a way that would directly or indirectly prevent the authority from installing, operating, or providing services in respect of legacy meters, smart meters and radio-off meters.”
The purpose of BCUC seems to be simply a tool of BC Hydro to assuage the public angst: all is well; it has passed the BCUC review. How many realize the restrictions placed on the BCUC and what a farce it all is?