Voices

Smart Meters are faulty

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BC Hydro is denying it, our provincial government is avoiding it, and the ombudsman appears to be wrapped so tightly in muffling red tape that we’re going to have to call on a superhero with scissors to come to the rescue. Despite BC Hydro’s (or should that be Hydra?) head-in-the-sand efforts to blame the failure of so-called Smart Meters to take accurate energy readings on the public, the evidence is becoming increasingly clear that there is a crucial flaw to these devices.

In short, they don’t work.

The top energy bosses can pop their braces and cough ‘bullshit’ into their cupped hands as loud as they please, but the proof is in the energy bills. Before the installation of a Smart Meter on my own home, my monthly electricity bill sat consistently around $150/month in the winter. The month directly following the installation of the Smart Meter, that bill jumped to $300. Nothing had changed inside the house: no new electronics, we still wear slippers and cuddle under blankets on the couch instead of turning up the heat, and we didn’t start growing medical marijuana in the basement.

So why the $150 jump? Well, according to Hydra, it’s not the meter’s fault, and we have to take their word for it because they refuse to check it. The bosses have said the meters work, so the underlings have to spout the same company rhetoric even though I’m sure they’ve noticed nasty jumps in their own personal energy bills.

In the same month, my neighbour’s hydro bill tripled — on just one-half of the duplex he owns. The other half it appears has remained mostly unchanged. After being given the runaround by Hydra, who told him that it would cost an unrefundable $90 to have someone come out, he flipped all the breakers off on the energy-sucking half of his duplex and went to see how much money he was saving by not using any electricity at all. The newly-installed Smart Meter was still spinning faster on the side with all the breakers off than on the other half that was drawing power.

Hydra still refuses to send someone to look at the meter, insisting that they all work perfectly.

So now it’s my turn to call ‘bullshit’ — only I’m not coughing it into my hand. This is a fiasco that is going to blow up in not only BC Hydro’s face, but also in the weeping maw of the already-weakened Liberals who are refusing to stand up for the hard-working families of this province who cannot afford for their utility bills to suddenly and unfairly spike.

Once these Smart Meters begin ripping off corporate clients to the same level that they are stealing from the general public, a class-action suit won’t be far behind — and the rebate bill will be enormous. But most of us can’t wait that long; it’s time for the province to investigate and halt this blunder now. M

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