Readers angry at meters

Monday polled its online readers to ask if they had noticed a sharp increase in their hydro bills — they did

Last week, following the publication of my column that called for an immediate investigation into the wallet-sucking unreliability of BC Hydro’s Smart Meters, Monday polled its online readers to ask if they had noticed a sharp increase in their hydro bills immediately following the installation of the new meters.

With over 80 individual responses to our website poll, 77 per cent of the voters picked: “Yes, it’s outrageous.”

Only 11 per cent didn’t notice any change, while another 11 per cent weren’t sure.

In addition to the poll, I received countless phone calls and emails from readers, telling me how their bills doubled or even tripled in the month following the installation of a Smart Meter.

In my mind, this means that either a large percentage of the old meters weren’t working properly and were under-reporting usage (hard to imagine considering the size of the bills) or a large percentage of the new meters are faulty and either over-reporting usage or getting their signals mixed with every other wireless device out there.

Either way, how the Liberals and BC Hydro can ignore the issue and claim that an independent investigation into this $900-million farce isn’t needed, is beyond me.

To get a handle on what the Liberals are thinking by ignoring all calls for a full review to be conducted by the utilities commission, I called up Energy Minister Rich Coleman. Now Rich is a busy man with a good haircut, but despite assurances he would try to fit me in for a chat, I was left pining by the phone, popping my gum and twirling my hair.

NDP Energy Critic John Horgan, however, returned my call to say he wasn’t surprised by the outpouring of complaints from Monday readers over the Smart Meter program that was put in place “without any rationale explanation” or oversight. Horgan, himself, has received over 8,000 emails from individuals who are angry about the meters. (For more, read Brian Kieran’s column on Page 7). And, he adds, at every event he attends now, regardless of the original purpose or topic, everyone wants to talk to him about their hydro bills — and, just to be clear, they’re not smiling while they’re doing it.

Like Horgan, I haven’t seen a groundswelling of discontent bubble this strongly among the general public since the HST debacle, which tells me that, if it continues to be ignored, there may not be a single Liberal MLA left in office after the next provincial election.

If the Liberals want to learn from history, they should look at Pompeii. That black smoke circling the top of the mountain isn’t something that’s just going to float away. The voters’ collective temperature is rising and, unless you do something to cool it down, the resulting eruption is going to bury you. M

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