By Kelly Hayes

August 25, 2015  6pm
Video Journalist  Global News

Time is running out for a Kelowna man who is in a standoff with FortisBC. The man refuses to have a smart meter installed in his rental home. He says he wants to keep his old analog meter but FortisBC says that’s not an option. Kelly Hayes has the story.

“And then finally they sent me the disconnection notice.”
Jamie Dale Walraven is one of a few hundred Kelown residents
holding out from FortisBC from installing a smart meter.

“Health Concerns, Privacy Issues” Fortis and Walraven have been going back and forth with letter but Walraven has run out of time. Fortis says if he doesn’t get a smart meter, they’re going to turn off the power.

“They said the reason they are cutting off my power, is that the meter is obstructed.
Its not obstructed, I don’t have a fence, I don’t have a dog, theres no lock on the meter, all I have is this sign”
Complicating matter, Walraven doesn’t even own the home, he rents.
Walraven might be fighting a loosing battle, because he doesn’t own this place, the decision whether or not a smart meter goes into the home is really up to the landlord, and if Walraven doesn’t agree with that decision, he could end up being evicted.
Russ Godfrey of Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (Trac) say that the landlord has the lawful right to install a smart meter. The tenant has not got a lot of options if they don’t want it because the landlord can insist. Tenants can be evicted for getting in the way of the safety and rights of the landlord. Then the tenant would have to dispute that notice, and if they loose they are evicted.
“Disconnection is a last resort” says FortisBC.
Fortis says the renter could accept a smart meter – or pay Fortis an extra monthly fee for a new meter with no transmitter.
There is no option to keep the old e meter
“Might have to move. But where will I go? There are smart meters everywhere
Meanwhile the meter is running. If the meter doesn’t relent, his power could be cut off as soon as tomorrow.
Kelly Hayes Reporting, Global News, Kelowna

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Get a smart meter or face eviction

Posted: Tuesday, August 25, 2015 9:13 pm Andrea Peacock

A renter in Kelowna must consent to having a FortisBC smart meter installed or risk eviction.

On Tuesday, Jamie Dale Walraven received a phone call from FortisBC telling him his power was going to be cut off on or after Aug. 27 if he did not have a smart meter put in.

“As a renter, I have no say. It comes down to the owner,” said Walraven. “But Fortis is talking to me. The bill is in my name.”

For customers who do not want a smart meter, which electronically transmits usage data to the company, FortisBC offers a radio-off version, which requires a FortisBC employee to manually download data from the meter.

Walraven said he would not mind paying extra for the radio-off option, but he believes those meters still transmit information, despite what FortisBC says.

“I’ve sent (FortisBC) registered mail on three occasions, expressing concerns, and they’ve told me on the phone my concerns are unwarranted. I want that on paper, but they won’t.”

Walraven said he wants someone to be accountable for what he considers safety concerns of the meters.

“I’ve got three letters from them saying I have to take the smart meter. I’m not saying no, I’m saying here’s my rebuttal, answer my questions,” said Walraven. “If they take full liability, then great.”

Walraven said he would like to go off the grid, but that does not seem to be an option.

There is a wood fireplace in the house, but Walraven said he needs to install an insert so heat can be distributed throughout the house.

However, insurance will not cover the insert, he said.

“I could get permits and the insurance would go up, but even then I still couldn’t get it, because the property owner doesn’t want to mess with the insurance premiums.”

Walraven said his property manager requires the house to be heated in the winter, so if his power is shut off and he cannot heat the house with the fireplace, he suspects he will likely be evicted.

He said his landlord is sympathetic to the situation, but does not wish to incur any extra costs himself.

“I am painted into a corner here. Either I accept the meter or I have no place to live,” said Walraven.

“A corporation apparently has more autonomy than a human being living on the earth. To me, that’s just wrong.”