For Immediate Release
Oct. 4, 2010
VICTORIA —The B.C. Liberals’ plan to force B.C. Hydro to rush into spending $1 billion to install “smart” hydro meters in every B.C. home by 2012 is a disaster waiting to happen, says New Democrat energy critic John Horgan.
“Recent evidence from Ontario’s smart meter experiment show more than 80 per cent of people are actually paying more, not less, under time-of-use billing using smart meters,” said Horgan. “We are poised to make exactly the same mistakes here in B.C.
“By rushing to finish the project by 2012, we lose the ability to make sure we get it right by learning from the mistakes of other jurisdictions. If this really is a good idea, let’s see best practices put in place with a studied, measured approach.”
More than four million smart meters have been installed across Ontario, allowing for a time-of-use billing scheme to be implemented that is intended to reward users with lower rates for using electricity in off-peak hours. But recent numbers from Toronto Hydro show that 84 per cent of people’s electricity bills have gone up, not down.
“The Ontario experience has shown that smart meters don’t work when it comes to conserving energy and saving money. Instead, they are proving to do just the opposite,” said Horgan, noting the billion-dollar price tag to install the meters in B.C. could be better spent elsewhere.
“Just imagine how much good a billion dollars could do to stimulate the economy and save energy if it was directed to home energy retrofits. Energy efficiency measures like upgrading heating systems, proper insulation, and other home upgrades are a proven way to manage electricity demand.”
Horgan noted that the B.C. Liberals don’t have a business plan that shows how smart meters will be implemented or how they will save electricity, nor is there an independent review process to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
“Now that the B.C. Liberals have exempted all major energy projects from the purview of the B.C. Utilities Commission, all decisions are being made at the whim of the embattled premier with no one but his head-nodding cabinet ministers to question their validity or value,” said Horgan.
“B.C. families will be the ones who have to pay for the B.C. Liberals’ reckless decisions through increasingly higher bills.”
The Carole James New Democrats are holding the B.C. Liberals accountable for their HST doublecross while working with British Columbians from all walks of life, all corners of B.C., and all sectors of our economy to build a better British Columbia for the people of this province.



Press Releases

New data proves smart meter scheme costing everyone more

Queen’s Park – Andrea Horwath, Leader of Ontario’s New Democrats, says data from Toronto Hydro confirms that Dalton McGuinty’s so-called smart meters have raised rates for 80 per cent of consumers and aren’t producing any conservation gains for Ontario.

“Dalton McGuinty’s so-called smart meters make eHealth look like a bargain. For a billion and half dollars we have a scheme that leaves 80 per cent of people paying higher rates without shifting usage patterns,” said Horwath. “There’s nothing smart about Dalton McGuinty’s smart meters when it’s hiking people’s hydro bills.”

A Toronto Hydro study looked at ten thousand households in Toronto that have been billed using so-called smart meters since 2009. The study confirmed that after a year of operation:

• On average 80 percent of households have been paying higher rates than before smart meters were installed and there has been little if any shift in household energy consumption.

• In one billing period – from June to September, 2009 – ninety-two per cent of households paid more.

• On average, households seeing an increase were paying anywhere from 2 to 7 per cent more.

• These increases are separate from the added cost to households for the cost of the smart meter itself. Across Ontario, consumers will be paying $1.25 – $4.45 a month for decades to recover these costs.

“The McGuinty Liberals have spent billions on a scheme that leaves people paying more and leaves Ontario falling behind in our conservation goals,” said Horwath.