Skeptic doubts B.C. Hydro's math on smart meter rejections
The number of British Columbians not complying with B.C. Hydro's mandatory shift to digital smart meters is far higher than the 9,779 claimed by the utility, one critic says.
"I think that they are manipulated in favour of B.C. Hydro, and a lot of people are not corresponding with B.C. Hydro," Una St. Clair, founder of B.C. Citizens for Safe Technology, told the Straight by phone. "They're not telling them; they're just putting up the signs and locking up their meters. That's what we're finding."
On January 31, B.C. Hydro's manager of freedom of information, Scott Macdonald, responded to two separate requests filed by the Straight regarding noncompliance with the mandated smart meters. According to the information Macdonald provided, the utility is mandated to install 1.94 million smart meters in homes and commercial properties provincewide by the end of the year. As of December 14, 2011, 483,506 had been installed.
On the issue of noncompliance, B.C. Hydro received 9,779 "installation-hold requests" between July of last year and December 14, 2011, according to the same information. Of that number, 1,034 installations were resumed "after conversation with customer", leaving 8,745 remaining official cases of noncompliance.
Also, the information released noted that B.C. has had 180 requests to remove an installed meter in that same time period. The utility did not state what form of communication the requests took in each case.
B.C. energy and mines minister Rich Coleman would not grant the Straight an interview.
St. Clair claimed that the correspondence she has received amounts to "twice the number that they [B.C. Hydro] have", at around 20,000.
"It's definitely growing; that's all I can tell you from my end of things," St. Clair said. "This definitely isn't going away."
So far, the B.C. Liberal government has not directed B.C. Hydro to allow an opt-out program for those not wanting smart meters.