2014-06-03 Members are still getting analogs

1)   Members are still getting analogs. This from today:

BC Hydro arrived this morning without an appointment as had been requested.    The installer was very friendly and polite and had a digital meter ready to install.  I said I wanted an analog and not a digital and he said he had some in the truck.  He asked me to shut down all electronic equipment while the installation was being done.  I watched him install the analog meter.  I’m sure glad I was at home!

Obviously my registered letter to Greg Reimer requesting an appointment etc. was completely ignored and of course the employees doing the meter exchanges do not know that these requests have been made.  I’m willing to bet Reimer just throws all of our letters into the trash!

Yesterday, I received a letter from BCUC in response to the copy I sent them of my letter to Reimer.  BCUC has been rendered utterly useless, in my opinion.  They just parroted a lot of the same information we have already had from Hydro.

 

 

2)   More evidence, if we needed it, of the relationship between the telecommunications (wireless) industry and politics. It is incestuous.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/brian-mulroney-to-be-named-quebecor-chairman-1.2657954

3)   One member has obtained this information from Measurements Canada:  (my comments in red)

As we know in 2010 Measurement Canada (MC) gave special dispensation to Hydro to leave legacy meters with expired seals in place until after the implementation of the Smart Meters.  Hydro is now changing out all the legacy meters which expired in 2011, 12, 13 & 14. People with newer meters, which would not have expired by 2014)  also have received these letters. See letter below as one example.

If you have not got “the letter” yet from Hydro, it means your meter seal did not expire between 2011 to 2014.  MC audits Hydro and confirm Hydro has very accurate records on the expiry date of every meter.  Some legacy meters, if they have not been changed out, for a smart meter, have valid seals going out 7 or 8 more years ie until 2020 or 2021.

 

  1. MC understands for those customers who want to retain the legacy meter, they are changing them out with meters they have in storage which still have valid seals.

 

  1. Hydro has the franchise rights for the exclusive distribution of power and they have the right to “own” the meter.  They have the right to decide which MC approved meter they want to use, normally subject to Utilities Commission approval.  However, for the smart meter, the government passed legislation to “side step” the Utilities Commission.

 

  1.  You cannot legally put your own MC approved meter on your residence without Hydro’s approval.

 

  1. Electro-mechanical analog meters are not being made any more.  The closest alternative is a non transmitting digital meter. I don’t believe this is true. Many places in the US are still using analogs (e.g. California). They are getting them from some place. Also, if the demand is there, the market will respond.

 

  1. There are very few , if any, second hand analog meters  available on the market in Canada.  There are some refurbished meters available in the US.  If you do obtain a refurbished meter, you would still need Hydro’s approval to change out your meter.

 

  1. There are meter service organizations who re-certify meters.  Usually they test several hundred of the same type at the same time.  You could possibly coordinate with them to have your meter re-certified.  The cost could be quite high, you would need Hydro’s permission and the process will take about 2 weeks.

 

  1. If you think your meter is giving inaccurate readings, you are to first contact Hydro.  If you cannot come to an agreement with Hydro, you can file a complaint with Measure Canada.  MC will then take action to replace your meter and have it submitted for testing.  As the customer, you can request to witness the meter test. Hydro will take the $meter and replace it with another. “your” meter will be tested in a pristine lab, away from RF sources, without dirty electricity on home wiring, away from anything that could potentially cause false readings. Their findings will be that the $meter is fine and will charge $100 for the test. Better would be if Hydro or MC could test on your home, to determine if local interference could be causing the meter to run fast.

 

  1. MC confirmed, over the past few weeks they have been getting a large volume of inquiries from concerned BC residents. Good.

4)   Suggestion from a member, frustrated that Hydro is closing most avenues for communications:

This morning I have spent a considerable amount of time and effort to try and send a letter to the BC Hydro Board via fax.  Not possible BChydro refuses to provide a fax number.  They have decided that one is to use email instead of fax.  Normally that would be simple enough but as most organizations refuse to accept “serious” communications via an email and insist on fax or hard copy citing security issues (Bunch of drivel).  On principal (partially to cause more effort for BCHydro) I require them to send everything by regular mail to me.  They seem to have organised their entire customer service in a way to avoid contact with the people as much as possible.

 It is a bit more of an effort and loses the timeliness of the communication but, we should be recommending to everyone that they only communicate with BCHydro via Canada Post to the head office:

 

President & CEO, Executive Team, Board BCHydro
333 Dunsmuir Street
Vancouver, B.C., V6B 5R3

 

 

 

 

Letters:

 

Sent: May-28-14 5:53 PM
To: ‘Smart Meters’; ‘toddcontr.cannon@bchydro.com’
Subject: RE: BC Hydro Meter

Dear Todd,
For Service at:   XXXXX
Account Number:  XXXXX

The form letter below does not adequately answer the questions posed in my letter dated May 10, 2014, which was sent via registered letter.  See attached for a duplicate copy.  Based on previous, obvious deceptions emanating from the implementation of BC Hydro’s Smart Meter Program, I believe that you are either misinformed or simply lying to me in an attempt to have my perfectly good, unexpired analogue meter removed and replaced with an older model.  I find it impossible to believe that BC Hydro would replace my old meter number  XXXXX  in either December 2010 or January 2011 (see the attached bills showing a different meter number for December and January) with a meter that expired in 2011. (not included in this update).  I understand the BC Hydro maintains records of each and every meter used to measure electricity use.  I would like an exact digital, unaltered copy of the specification or data sheet for my meter number XXXXX , including the manufacture date and current meter seal expiry date.  Until such time as you provide me with this information and answer the questions contained in the attached letter, you may not send your installer to exchange my meter.

If you provide acceptable answers to my questions/concerns, and IF I consent to a meter exchange, it will only be via appointment and with exchange for analogue meter for analogue meter.  I will also film the proposed installation and require your installer to show me the expiry date located on my meter, which I will record.

I look forward to your appropriate reply,

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Sent: May 27, 2014 7:36 PM
Cc: smartmeters@bchydro.com; Premier@gov.bc.ca
Subject: Legacy fees

Hello BC Hydro people 

As per the statement below in red ..the meters in Johnsons Landing have seldom been read more than 5 times a year.

It was usually estimated in the winter as there are not many houses and long walks in the snow.

 Since I have paid for the last two billings I feel I have prepaid for this service. (for this bill and the next) so I will not pay the current extra charges on our hydro bills due June 4. for acct # xxxxxxxx, xxxxxx, xxxxxx

 I have 3 meters and two use less than $10 every 2 months so these charges are outrageous. 

$10 for power and $70 for your stupid fees.  I am so upset I have joined the class action law suit. 

 Second point is that:  We should NOT be paying ANY legacy fees since you do not have the equipment in place to read the $mart meters in Johnsons Landing for which I am thankful.   We are remote so perhaps we could become one of the select groups that phones in our numbers every second month.

 This technology has on a detrimental effect on our bees as well me.

 I sure hope you can find a better way to transmit information than what you are using.  

 There are many ways to educate people to use less power, but that never seemed to be the goal.

 The Panel has considered circumstances where BC Hydro reads a meter less frequently than bimonthly but bills the customer a monthly charge to recover the costs of bi-monthly meter reading and determines that making such a charge is unjust and unreasonable. Accordingly, in the event that a Program customer’s meter is read less frequently than bi-monthly the portion of the Monthly Charge attributable to bi-monthly meter reading costs, as approved elsewhere in this decision,must not be charged. The Panel directs BC Hydro to develop a solution to ensure these charges are just and reasonable, and only reflect meter reading costs for the frequency of actual meter readings. In developing its solution BC Hydro should also consider how, if subsequent to the date that the interim rates came into effect, a meter has been read less frequently than monthly, it will apply the retroactive adjustment in a just and reasonable manner. This proposed solution must be filed for review with the Commission on or before June 30, 2014.

If you, as a customer of BC Hydro, have been charged for meter readings on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, but your meter has been read on a less frequent basis, you can apply to get those charges back. When you apply for that rebate it is suggested that you cite the BC Utilities Decision and cc the Utilities Commission in any correspondence with BC Hydro:

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Subject: Re: BC Hydro Meter Replacement Notification

Date: May 28, 2014 at 10:12:53 AM PDT

To: “Complaints BCUC:EX” <Complaints@bcuc.com>

Cc: “Douglas Routley.MLA” <Douglas.Routley.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, john.horgan.mla@leg.bc.ca

Dear Mr. Wruck –

Thank you for your email of May 14 explaining to those opting for legacy meters the Commission’s view that BC Hydro is acting in accordance with the Electric Tariff, the Utilities Commission Act, and the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act in replacing existing meters, if the seal has expired or is near expiry, with another legacy meter which may be a digital meter.

While I understand and agree that meters with expired seals need to be either maintained or replaced, I would like you to explain how – given that aforementioned Tariff and Acts include provisions for fire and electrical safety – the Commission came to the conclusion that substituting a digital meter, albeit a ‘non-smart’ one, for an analog meter is in accordance with aforementioned Tariff and Acts.  In your reply please take into consideration the way I, based on 40 years experience as an engineer, see things; ie –

First, that digital meters (whether they be ’smart’, radio on, radio off, or the newly-named ‘analog type’ ) are combustible.  Comprised of electronic components mounted on circuit boards and connected directly to the 240 vac grid through a disconnect which is obviously unreliable (see for example the photo at http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/family-blames-new-smart-meter-sparking-fire-home/nSDKq/ ), they can and do catch fire for many reasons.  Analog meters, on the other hand, are not combustible.  They are simply metal discs rotating in a magnetic field (like a motor) to mechanically turn the readout dials – you couldn’t ignite one if you wanted to.   I believe that installing a combustible meter on a base designed, tested, and CSA approved for use with non-combustible meters is an unsafe practice . . . . . . the base isn’t designed, tested, and approved to prevent a fire from a combustible meter spreading to the house, in particular with 240 VAC shorting to ground through the burning circuitry.
And second, I understand I am responsible for the meter base on the side of my house into which BC Hydro inserts whatever meter we (with BCUC complicity) mutually agree on.  While I am completely satisfied with the safety of my meter/meter-base combination if the replacement meter is analog, I for obvious reasons am not at all satisfied with the idea of the replacement meter being incombustible.  I am further concerned that should I allow BC Hydro to install an electronic meter on my meter base, and should a fire traceable to the electronic meter occur, my insurance company won’t pay for the damage because I allowed a combustible meter to be installed in my meter base, thus annulling its CSA certification.

Once again, please, explain how the Commission can conclude that substituting a digital meter, albeit a ‘non-smart’ one, for an analog meter is in accordance with aforementioned Tariff and Acts.

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