Skip to content

Smart meters coming to Bowen in spring 2012

Whatever you might think of BC Hydro's new wireless smart meters, they are coming to Bowen Island, though not until 2012.

Whatever you might think of BC Hydro's new wireless smart meters, they are coming to Bowen Island, though not until 2012. The digital meters are being attached to homes throughout the province and will send information on your energy consumption to BC Hydro four to six times daily.

Cindy Vershoor, manager of public affairs at BC Hydro, told the Undercurrent that there was a need to "modernize the grid" that was operating with decades old technology. She said that doing so will save money.

There are 2,173 meters on island and Vershoor said the installation process it's essentially unplugging the old and plugging in the new - takes about 10 minutes. There have not been any smart meters installed on Bowen yet and BC Hydro won't get to the island until next spring; to date about 150,000 have been installed in the province out of the 1.8 million that will be installed.

There is opposition to the smart meters. Some fear they will be capable of learning personal information and pose a health risk. According to Vershoor, smart meters take no personal information and, she says, talking on your cell phone for 30 minutes will expose you to more radio frequency than a smart meter exposes you to over its entire 20-year life span.

They will transmit for less than one minute daily, Vershoor said, adding that they will detect power outages quicker and will help minimize outages on Bowen. They will also help catch electricity-stealing pot growers. BC Hydro also feels they'll encourage uses to be more energy efficient.

Some opponents fear that down the road BC Hydro will use the meters for creating a time-of-use pay structure, requiring that power users pay more at peak times in order to even out the power burden. The potential is there but BC Hydro denies there is any plan to do so.

There is no opt-out program, Vershoor said, and BC Hydro is on record as saying that less than 0.1 per cent of customers have contacted them asking out of the program. Residents can, at their own expense, relocate their meter elsewhere on their property.

BC Hydro said they are not heeding signs that tell them not to install the smart meters as they have no way of knowing who placed them there. B.C. Hydro will be running ads for 3 months before smart meter installation to inform customers of their arrival; they'll also meet with Islands trust and first responders in smart meter information sessions.

Anyone with concerns,Vershoor, said, can contact BC Hydro by emailing smartmeters@bchydro.com.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks