Hydro reveals customers’ meter choices

BC Hydro today submitted to the BC Utilities Commission the enrollment figures for its Meter Choices Program.

A statement from BC Hydro said the Commission is in the process of independently reviewing fees for the choices to ensure BC Hydro is only recovering the additional cost of providing and servicing the radio-off and analog options.

The Meter Choices fees were approved on an interim basis by the BCUC in October. If the final fees differ from the interim rate, BC Hydro will adjust customers’ bills accordingly.

About 68,000 customers had the option of making a choice as part of the Meter Choices Program. Of these customers:

  • 48,240 customers elected to take a smart meter;
  • 6,270 customers elected to retain the old legacy meter;
  • 450 customers elected to take a radio-off meter; and
  • the remaining 13,110 customers did not contact BC Hydro and will retain the old legacy meter by default.

In total, about 19,380 customers will now have a monthly legacy meter fee – this represents one per cent of the total number of BC Hydro customers. Those fees were effective Dec. 2, 2013. Customers who requested a radio-off meter will see the fees applied April 1, 2014.

BC Hydro expects the enrollment numbers to evolve over the coming months as the utility continues to confirm customers’ choices.

Adding another 48,240 smart meters to the system will bring the number of BC Hydro customers benefitting from the modernized grid to 99 per cent.

Modernizing the electricity grid plays a crucial role in BC Hydro’s plan to provide a secure and reliable power system for customers all over the province. Once complete, a modernized grid will help BC Hydro improve its management of the electricity system, lower costs, reduce theft, encourage conservation and automatically detect outages.

Examples of benefits already being provided by the modernized grid include:

  • 95 per cent of customers with smart meters have been transitioned to automated billing;
  • 90 per cent of customers with smart meters can view their detailed energy use through their secure online MyHydro account – helping them to save energy and money; and
  • 2,100 pre-existing unsafe meter socket conditions on customers’ homes were repaired by a certified electrician at no cost to the homeowner.

Last summer, the provincial government announced three choices for residential customers who still did not have a smart meter installed:

1.    a standard smart meter at no cost;

2.    a radio-off meter for a $100 set-up fee and $20 monthly fee; and

3.    keeping an old meter for a $35 monthly fee as long as stocks last.

The fees to retain an old meter or choose a radio-off meter ensure the vast majority of customers who have accepted a smart meter are not subsidizing the choices of a very small number of customers.