Monthly ‘legacy’ fees are punishment
The increase in BC Hydro bills, as Brian Pettie points out in his letter to the editor (The Leader, March 25), comes as no surprise to those who have followed the advent of smart meters in other jurisdictions. It has happened everywhere smart meters have been introduced and the explanations of the utility companies are not to be believed.
In Ontario, for instance, increases were reported of up to 80 per cent and it was not just a one-time incident, as BC Hydro suggested in their explanation to Mr. Pettie.
In Gard Penny’s letter, he asks why he should have to pay for a service not being provided. All the resisters are paying for service not provided.
I, too, have opted to hang onto my analogue meter. Although there are no access issues on my property, I have been informed by BC Hydro that my meter will now be read every other month and I will receive a bill from them only every other month. However, I am being charged the “legacy meter” fee of $35 every single month.
The simple truth is – let’s call a spade a spade– the fee is not about helping to maintain a meter-reading department. It is all about punishing those of us who are resisting BC Hydro’s coercive tactics as they implement their flawed smart grid.
C.A. Archibald, Surrey
There is a cost to maintaining old technology
The installation of smart meters is resulting in fewer estimated bills for BC Hydro customers and fewer manual meter reading errors.
For customers who have elected to retain an old meter, we make every effort to obtain actual meter readings. However, there are a variety of reasons why we may need to estimate a bill including not being able to physically access the meter.
When BC Hydro has to estimate a bill, the estimate is adjusted to an actual meter read as soon as possible. If the estimate provided was over or under the actual meter read, the bill will be corrected to match the actual reading taken.
Ninety-nine per cent of BC Hydro customers now have a modern meter and 97 per cent of these customers have been transitioned to automated billing which eliminates the need for manual meter reading and bill estimates.
The decision to charge cost-recovery fees for customers who don’t want smart meters ensures the rest of BC Hydro’s customers aren’t subsidizing the personal choices of a very small number of people who want to continue using a system that is increasingly obsolete and costly to support.
The additional fees include more than just reading the meter. They also include the cost of adding and maintaining resources, equipment and systems that have been automated by new, modern meters.
We appreciate our customers’ patience as we upgrade the electricity system. If customers have questions about their bill we ask them to please contact BC Hydro’s Customer Care Team at 1-800-BC-HYDRO or 604-224-9376.
Director of Customer Care