You can have that alternative to a smart meter for a cost… a hefty one

The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) has approved the Meter Choices fees that will apply to customers who choose to retain an old meter or a radio-off meter. BC Hydro filed an application last fall to recover fees to offset the expense of providing meter options to eligible customers.

In a statement BC Hydro said the BCUC determined the cost for customers who have retained an old meter will be $32.40 per month while the cost for customers who chose a radio-off meter will be $20 per month.

The set up cost for a radio-off meter will be $22.60 with an exit fee of $55.00 for an overall fee of about $77. As some of the final fees differ from the interim rate, BC Hydro will adjust customers’ bills accordingly.

The fees to retain an old meter came into effect Dec. 2, 2013, and the fees for a radio-off meter were effective as of Apr. 1, 2014.

Last summer, the province of BC announced three choices for eligible residential customers who 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 stock lasts.

The BCUC’s role was to independently review the fees.

Approximately 68,000 or three per cent of customers had the option of making a choice as part of the Meter Choices Program. Of these customers to date:

  • about 49,000 customers elected to take a smart meter;
  • 460 customers requested a radio-off meter; and
  • fewer than 19,000 customers are keeping an old meter.

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

Modernizing the electricity grid with smart meters 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:

· 97 per cent of customers with smart meters are now receiving automated bills.

· Over 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.

· 2,100 pre-existing unsafe meter socket conditions on customers’ homes were repaired by a certified electrician at no cost to the homeowner.