Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan calls B.C. Hydro smart meters “waste of money”

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      Even though he now has a digital smart meter installed at his South Burnaby home, four-term Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan is no fan of the billion-dollar program.

      “I think it’s an absolute waste of money,” Corrigan told the Straight by phone. “It’s an expenditure on infrastructure that produces absolutely no benefit.”

      Corrigan said he has not felt any physical impacts since his meter was installed, insisting he’s been mad as hell about the cost. B.C. Hydro has said it will install 1.8 million smart meters by December 2012, and they will replace the old analogue meters still used by most B.C. homes. The utility told the Straight this week that 370,000 have been installed provincewide so far by trained employees at private company Corix.

      B.C. Hydro claims they will save taxpayers money over their 20-year lifespan, a suggestion Corrigan refuted.

      “They won’t, but they cost a lot of money to put in,” he said. “It’s another example of the kind of waste that comes from a government that purely reacts to the lobbyists who are looking for a piece of that public tax dollar. You look at these kinds of decisions and you know this is the result of corporate lobbyists. It’s the same kind of decision that went into putting fare gates on the transit system. They said, ‘We’ve got all these transit problems. Why don’t we spend $200 million on gating the system?’ And those kind of ridiculous expenditures, and when you look at one like that, you look at Ken Dobell, who was the lobbyist for Cubic [Transportation Systems]. Cubic gets the deal.”

      The reason the B.C. Liberal government has gotten away with the two major big-ticket items is because of “fear”, Corrigan claimed.

      “The idea that someone was stealing power from them was what allowed them to bring in this kind of initiative,” Corrigan said. “It was like with the fare gates. People were stealing [transit] rides from them. And so they can motivate people to believe almost anything if they make them believe they’re being ripped off. And even if what they do costs more than the amount they are ripped off, people will support it, because they want to get after who’s stealing from them. That kind of attitude is one that is consistently utilized by the right wing. Someone’s stealing from you, crime is around the corner, there’s terrorists out there somewhere, in order to justify a lot of money going into corporate pockets.”

      Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman has repeatedly refused to grant the Straight an interview on smart meters.




      Nov 30, 2011 at 4:21pm

      And he would be correct. On a list of 5 BC Hydro priorities I could list, smart meters wouldn't be on the list

      1. Uncover accounting behind deferral practices
      2. Third party review (by the empowered BCUC) of the financial viability of IPP projects along with a full long term environmental and economic assessment of IPP's and form a template as to what future contracts with IPP's and BC Hydro would look like (to avoid industry confusion).
      3. Renew and establish more efficient transmission lines in BC in house. Currently much of this work is contracted out to Albertan companies that bring in Albertan workers.
      4. Increasing efficiency across board, from generation, to transmission to management.
      5. Reinforcing existing and creating new strategic partnership with post secondary institutions. This would help students that are in anything from Business to Engineering to the Sciences and Trades.

      7 7Rating: 0

      Arthur Vandelay

      Nov 30, 2011 at 5:13pm

      @Matthew - Thanks for going out of your way to get BC Hydro's side of the story ("B.C. Hydro claims they will save taxpayers money over their 20-year lifespan"). Yes, I read the part where you asked Rich Coleman.

      I mean really, you're just gonna let Comrade Corrigan initiate a conspiracy/fraud smear-job without the slightest effort to substantiate his position? You know he and his wife are political opponents of the sitting provincial government so that he may have purely political motives to make such a douchey allegation, right? You know that many jurisdictions are introducing them, like much of the developed world and also Ontario, right? Pick up a phone and call someone at Hydro for god sakes ...

      10 9Rating: +1

      Able Seaman

      Nov 30, 2011 at 8:26pm

      “I think it’s an absolute waste of money,” ... “It’s an expenditure on infrastructure that produces absolutely no benefit.”

      Strong words? Yes! Opinionated? Absolutely! Arthur Vandelay is totally right in his comment on Corrigan, without saying anything to support Hydro, but that is fair and OK.

      But Corrigan's remarks are incredibly stupid, or naive, or plain politicking, from a card carrying NDP hack.
      If the meters allow the deferment of construction of new generating plant, that is a benefit. People with metered supplies tend to be more frugal with resources, whether energy or water, or even garbage disposal. If the metering is more up to date (is it available to the resident on-line?), it is easier to see cause and effect. In parallel with CFL usage (which has its problems too), home improvement (insulation, draft reduction), more efficient appliances and TVs, there is the possibility to delay capital expenditure. I believe that the Willamette Power Authority successfully delayed new generation installation by better use of then existing resources.
      If there is a dramatic drop in grow ops (possibly negated by a free marijuana market), that will be a benefit to Hydro, home owners, neighbours, the police, the fire department and the municipality.
      If Hydro knows exactly which homes are disconnected and when, and can ascertain the location of the damage more quickly and more accurately, that will be a benefit.

      "Corrigan said he has not felt any physical impacts since his meter was installed, insisting he’s been mad as hell about the cost."

      If he really said he has not felt any physical impacts, he should run, not walk to his doctor. What effects did he expect to feel? Floating on air? If he meant that he cannot 'feel' the data being transmitted, then he is agreeing with Hydro, against the tinfoil hat brigade, (headquartered here in Vancouver) who believe that the meters are a government plot to fry what's left of their brains.

      Insisting he’s been mad as hell, well that's just Brother Corrigan. After so many re-elections he is naturally proud of himself, and the weight that his voice carries. Hubris anyone?

      That's nothing to do with Transit fare gates, which he adds to bash 'the right'. They won't pay for themselves, but there are many initiatives that don't. If they make the paying riders FEEL safer and BE safer, that is an uncosted benefit. They may reduce the number of suicides. They will probably reduce somewhat, the use of the Skytrain as an enabling factor for some crimes. They might even, hypothetically, prevent or deter an act of terrorism or a murder. We would never know, of course.
      His sneering "there’s terrorists out there somewhere" is par for the NDP, who would sooner make a deal with The Taliban to be consumed last.

      12 7Rating: +5


      Nov 30, 2011 at 9:48pm

      If you are the mayor, pass a by-law that says no smart meters in my city
      and that's the end of it.

      9 10Rating: -1


      Nov 30, 2011 at 9:56pm


      How are they going to save $1 Billion ++ over 20 years?

      Power theft has NOT amounted to $1 Billion in the last 20...

      Grow-Ops won't disappear because of "Smart" Dumb Meters...

      $1 Billion sure would buy a lot of Education & some Health-Care.

      Add that to the Off Balance Sheet Debt in the Billions by Hydro & you get a BC Ferry forced rate hike situation.

      Add that to the Billions by the Neo-Cons Lie-Berals + that Drunk Driver...

      Yes we the gullible BC public get to pay for it all, Thanks.

      13 4Rating: +9

      Parry Smith

      Dec 1, 2011 at 2:46am

      In addition to the entire smart meter program being a totally anti-democratic $1B tax, on our tab...

      And on top of it being a blatant eradication of the rights and in-home privacy of every BC resident, directed by foreign power corporations and governments...

      BC Hydro is flat-out LYING about the amount of radiation and how often the meters will be on. There is ample footage on YouTube now, people testing smart meter radiation bursts being so much radiation, they are higher than the maximum most devices can test (they've been shown on some to be radiating 70+microwatts/cm2.... and millisecond-bursting every few seconds), just YouTube it for God sakes

      There are whole electrical rooms full of them in apartment buildings, each one emitting this radiation EVERY FEW SECONDS. There could be a pregnant woman or a child 1 foot on the other side of that wall with 30 smart meters on it. This amount of radiation has never been human-tested before - short or long-term - as far as we know.

      People are already having sleeping issues, headaches, rashes and some even having to move.... now, what happens when we're all saturated in this grid for 10 years? Science knows this amount of radiation can cause cancer.


      Look at this... hundreds of people getting sick, unreported:

      All of the scientific studies that are now being even considered, ALL of which show massive health problems at the cellular / DNA level with the radiofrequency radiation levels:

      And the actual smart meter radiation levels, versus international standards:

      Better wake up, BC... Otherwise, the same cartel that controls the Banking and Medical industries will make you even MORE tired, sick and broke.

      Take back your power

      7 7Rating: 0


      Dec 1, 2011 at 9:00am

      Straight, I'm sympathetic to the fact that Rich Coleman won't talk to you guys. Maybe he's too busy to talk to you, or maybe he's a dick. Who knows?

      ...but could you PLEASE stop printing statements made by people who can't or don't back up what they say with some kind of verifiable fact(s)?

      This is the seminal sentence for me with regards to the smart-meter issue:

      "B.C. Hydro claims they will save taxpayers money over their 20-year lifespan, a suggestion Corrigan refuted. "

      You don't have any information in this article to help people decide who's correct aside from Corrigan's tirade. How will they save us money? Does the math check-out? Did you call ANYBODY at BC Hydro?

      Surely you could find SOMEONE aside from Coleman to comment on the smart-meter issue? SOMEBODY in this city has to know more than the rest of us ignorant savages. I'm getting really sick of reading all these appeals to emotion that get printed by our local papers.


      Dec 1, 2011 at 1:24pm

      While California is removing these assault meters due to
      the appalling health consequences they've had - including
      severe insomnia, headaches, ringing ears, heart palpations, eye problems etc. - Hydro and the powers that be in the BC government are rolling out the red carpet for these meters - in the face of NO public input whatsoever....

      Get angry folks... your health is at much at stake as your
      pocketbook... Contact your MLA and demand a moratorium.

      10 7Rating: +3

      K R O

      Dec 1, 2011 at 4:57pm

      The only "money saving benefit" from installing these meters that I see is that they'll be laying off a whole slew of gainfully employed meter readers. More people whose job security is now threatened. I thought we needed more jobs in this province, not less. also those meters apparently have a contactor in them so they can turn off your power at will, remotely. A real "nice" feature for financially strapped families in the winter time.


      Dec 2, 2011 at 11:05am

      Do the calculation... with a fraction of the $1B we could change all incandescent light bulbs in the province to the more efficient and SAFE dimmable LED lights. The energy saved would be the equivalent building a power generation plant.