“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.