It is clear the smart meter “options” offered by our new Minister of Energy only apply to people who don’t have a Smart Meter yet. It doesn’t apply to the thousands of people who were lied to or bullied into taking a Smart Meter against their will, nor does it apply to those who have changed their minds since installation, those who move to a new house, or those who stop paying the “fee”. And this offers no choice at all for people living in multiple housing developments with numerous microwave smart meters pulsing through their homes.

Smart meter installations have been imposed on thousands of customers despite their refusal which is not reflected in any of Mr. Bennett`s calculations. All of these people want and must have the right of choice to a safe and secure electrical meter that does nothing more than record energy use.

While we appreciate that Bill Bennett no longer wants to see people bullied into taking a microwave emitting smart meter against their will, we do not believe the options presented are fair and reasonable to the people of BC, in fact, the proposed “options” appear to be a ploy to get the remaining smart meters installed with some window dressing to hide the true nature of the plan.  Making sure that every citizen has a smart meter makes it very easy to turn the radio on, with or without the resident’s consent or knowledge, and so by sleight of hand, the microwave Smart Grid rollout would be complete.

The BC Liberals are providing scant comfort in stating that the BC Utilities Commission will oversee the charges.

They are attempting to restrict the inevitable BCUC hearings to cost alone, but the areas of contention and concern regarding this Smart Grid go far beyond financial.

We are being told that nobody will be forced any more, but now we are faced with clearly coercive tactics – we will put a smart meter on your house unless you pay money, and if you move or cannot afford to pay the extortion fee, or already have a smart meter, you are out of luck.

Every single ratepayer in BC is already paying for the Smart Grid program, whether you get a meter or not.  Smart Meters and all the infrastructure is bought using our money paid to BC Hydro in our rate charges.  If you choose to keep your analogue, BC Hydro should actually pay you a rebate check since you are already paying for a service you don`t want.  There is no need to incur the cost of meter readers except to verify readings once per year.   Many places throughout BC and Canada use a system of customer relayed information to form billings.

At a cost per microwave smart meter of $555 per household to install, when the customer says no, there is a saving to BC Hydro which should be passed along to the customer. So where’s the real and true democratic choice, Mr. Bennett? The real choice is to make the Smart Grid an opt in system, and any person who chooses not to participate in this questionable and risky program can do so without harassment or underhanded coercion.

The Human Rights case is still moving ahead, with the hearing scheduled for November. The Class Action lawsuit against BC Hydro will be filed next week on behalf of persons against whom a wireless smart meter has been imposed. Those wishing to join the class action may follow directions posted in the Smart Meter Action Kit at or the Coalition website at

Sharon Noble • Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters • [email protected] • 250-478-7892
Una St. Clair • Executive Director, Citizens for Safe Technology • [email protected] • 604-607-8601
Steve Satow • Advisory Board Member • [email protected] • 250-744-2244


Ministry of Energy and Mines

Smart meter options announced

VICTORIA – Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines, announced today that BC
Hydro will offer new options for customers who have put their smart meters on hold.
Government is responding to public concerns by providing opt-out options with
the costs borne by those customers and not subsidized by the majority, who have
a standard BC Hydro smart meter. BC Hydro customers who do not currently have a
smart meter will now have three choices:
* Choose the standard smart meter at no cost.
* Accept a digital meter with the radio off. This option will be subject to a
one-time cost to modify the meter plus a monthly fee to read the meter.
* Keep the old analog meter, which will be subject to a monthly fee that will
include both the extra cost of reading the meter and the cost of instituting
duplicate systems.
Costs and fees associated with the options will be established by BC Hydro but
will be reviewed by the BC Utilities Commission to ensure that BC Hydro is only
recovering the cost of providing and servicing the radio-off and analog options.
Modernizing the electricity grid is a critical part of BC Hydro’s plan to
provide a secure and reliable power system to support the economy, new and
emerging industries and communities all over the province. The replacement of
obsolete mechanical meters with modern smart meters is a critical part of this
Smart meters are the end-point of the electricity grid and are part of an
upgrade that will help BC Hydro improve its management of the electricity
system. They also lower costs, reduce theft, encourage conservation, and can
automatically detect outages. Over 20 years, the program will pay for itself and
will help keep rates affordable, which is a priority for government.
Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett –
“This decision finds an appropriate balance between addressing the concerns raised by
people who have put their meter installation on hold, while ensuring that the
majority of customers who have a standard smart meter will not be paying for those
who select an opt out option.”
“As we have said, nobody will be forced to take a smart meter. I believe that
this is a fair and reasonable solution for all British Columbians.”
CEO, BC Hydro, Charles Reid –
“Smart meters are now part of our standard operating equipment, just like
utility poles and wires.”
“We have been engaging with customers throughout the province about smart meters
over the past two years and we believe this solution is a reasonable
Quick Facts:
* The Provincial Health Officer, Health Canada and the World Health Organization
have confirmed that smart meters pose no known health risk or reason for
* 96 per cent of BC Hydro customers now have a smart meter – that’s 1.8 million
* 60,000 meter installations have been delayed by customer request.
* BC Hydro has been working with customers who have concerns. The majority of
people who originally held out are now taking a smart meter.
* BC Hydro will offer an enrolment period between September 1, 2013 and December
1, 2013 for customers who have put their smart meter installation on hold to
select a standard smart meter at no cost, a radio off meter at an additional
cost or keep their existing analog meter with a cost as well. The analog meter
option is expected to cost more than the radio off meter because of the need for
duplicate systems.
* Customers who choose to keep their existing installed analog meter will be
able to keep them until the meter breaks down, their Measurement Canada seal
expires or they relocate. When the account holder changes, the analog meter will
be replaced with a standard smart meter or a digital meter with the radio off.

* The set-up and monthly cost-recovery fees will offset the cost of adding
infrastructure to ensure the BC Hydro grid can work as planned. The fees will
also recover the cost of setting up and maintaining separate metering processes
and manually performing services that would be automated by smart meters.

* BC Hydro expects to complete these installations by March 1, 2014.

B.C. smart meter opponents can completely opt out and keep their analog meters — for a price

JULY 18, 2013

British Columbians opposed to hydro smart meters will be allowed to opt out of the conversion after all, but it will cost them.
Energy Minister Bill Bennett said Thursday that the 60,000 people, or about four per cent of the population, who refused to have the smart meters installed in their homes because of concerns about possible dangers of high-frequency radio waves can choose to keep their analog readers or have the radio transmitter turned off on their smart meter.
In both cases there will be monthly fees to read the meters and a one-time installation fee to modify the smart meter to disable the radio frequency.
The fees are subject to review by the BC Utilities Commission and haven’t been set yet, said ministry spokesman Jake Jacobs.
But a spokeswoman for an anti-smart meter group called it blackmail.
“It’s really coercive,” said Una St. Clair of the Citizens for Safe Technology Society. “I will put a smart meter on your home unless you pay me not to.”
“It’s just a ploy to get the remaining smart meters rolled out,” she said. “And there will be this great pulsating, microwave mesh grid over everyone in B.C.”
St. Clair, who said she suffers from “electro sensitivity” that causes her constant headaches and migraines, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, digestive disorders and sleep disturbances, said she’s being forced to move to a 40-hectare acreage outside of Metro Vancouver to escape the radio waves from her neighbours’ homes.
Bennett said he made the announcement in response to public concerns about the radio waves, which transmit data to BC Hydro computers.
But the B.C. government says the provincial health officer, Health Canada and the World Health Organization report that smart meters pose no known health risks.
St. Clair said her group is launching a class-action lawsuit against the B.C. government and BC Hydro next week.
[email protected]