2014-09-05 BC Hydro’s explanation for extortion fees confirms lack of justification.

  • A response by BC Hydro to a question re. the legacy fees is in the “letters” section. Please note the reasons, all of which apply to smart meters that are manually read. How is this not illegal discrimination under the Utilities Commission Act??

 

  • I spoke with a meter reader (anonymous) the other day who said that from what he has seen there are lots more than 20,000 analogs still out there. He said people feel very strongly about wanting to keep them. YES!!!

 

  • A member who is refusing to pay the extortion fees asked what others are doing. What I can say is that many are telling me they are not paying, even though they are being threatened with loss of power if they don’t pay.   Many are saying they will go off the grid, switch to gas appliances, etc. rather than either pay the extortion or have a Smart meters. What I can say is that the fees are due, according to the Tariff, but I believe that the fees are illegal under the Utilities Commission Act which says that all people are to be charged the same rate for the same service. There are many $meters being read manually and require the same “service” as ‘legacy’ meters. There is no justification for this illegal discrimination.

 

  • A video on privacy/surveillance which a very knowledgeable member recommends. (I have not had the chance to watch it – 54 min.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTjNkbLBEqg

 

  • 110+ communities in Quebec oppose Smart meters!!

http://www.takebackyourpower.net/news/2014/09/05/more-than-110-municipalities-in-quebec-opposed-to-smart-meters/

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Letters:

 

From: Relations Customer <customer.relations@bchydro.com>
To:  XXXXXXXXX
Cc: Greg Reimer <Greg.Reimer@bchydro.com>, Relations Customer <customer.relations@bchydro.com>
Sent: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 13:47:20 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: RE: Hydro Bill

Dear XXXXXXX

I am in receipt of your emails dated August 19 and September 3, 2014 addressed to Greg Reimer, with a request that I respond to you directly. In your email you have enquired about a year end adjustment as a result of legacy meter charges and enquired about
who ‘sets’ BC Hydro’s fees.

The Missed Meter Read Credits will apply on bi-monthly basis if the scheduled bi-monthly meter reading is missed. Unlike your Equal Payment Plan, annual adjustment the credits do not need to be reconciled and will apply automatically if the meter is not
able to be read.

The full amount of the analog meter fee is not refunded because the Meter Choices Fee includes more than meter reading.  In addition to meter reading the fee recovers the cost of maintaining resources, equipment, and the systems that have been automated
by smart meters. More specifically, the fees include:

 

  • Adding additional infrastructure needed to ensure the smart grid can work as planned.

Smart meters work together to create a communications network that supports the electricity grid. Non-communicating meters create gaps in this network and BC Hydro will have to install additional telecommunications equipment
to bridge the gaps so that the modern grid can work as planned.

 

  • Setting up and maintaining separate metering and billing processes.

BC Hydro’s metering and billing processes are now set up to process information from smart meters. In order to accommodate non-communicating meters, we have to set up and maintain additional processes. For example, trucks, equipment
and people must be retained to read the meters and manually input the data back into the billing system.

 

  • Manually performing services that are now automated by smart meters.

There are a number of other systems that are automated by smart meters including: outage management, grid-load forecasting, voltage alerts and equipment maintenance alerts. For example, the new system automatically sends a voltage
alert when equipment needs upgrading because it is overloaded. The new system also enables us to address billing enquiries on the spot because we can now view the bill-to-date while the customer is on the phone helping to resolve billing enquiries.

All BC Hydro’s rates and charges are subject to independent review by the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC).  In April 2014, the BCUC approved BC Hydro’s application to recover the costs of offering customers non-standard meters through the Meter Choices
Program.

The fees were reviewed by B.C. Utilities Commission, and approved in April 2014. A copy of this decision can be found at:

http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Proceedings/2014/DOC_41266_04-25-2014_BCH%20Meter%20Choices_Decision_G-59-14.pdf.

These fees are now part of the BC Hydro Electric Tariff, which governs the terms and conditions under which service is provided by BC Hydro. The monthly fee to retain an old meter is $32.40.

Since manual meter reading is scheduled every two months, $27.90 of the $64.80 fee will be refunded.

I trust that the information provided addresses your concerns.

Sincerely,

Daren Sanders

Senior Manager, Customer Service Operations

—————————-

—–Original Message—–

From:  XXXXXXXXX
Sent: 2014, September 03 2:45 PM
To: Reimer, Greg

Cc: Complaints BCUC:EX; Dennis and Sharon Noble; Jane Jae Kyung Shin.MLA; premier@gov.bc.ca; perry.kendall@gov.bc.ca;
jerryjgf@shaw.ca; john.horgan.mla@leg.bc.ca

Subject: Hydro Bill

Dear Mr. Reimer,

Since I inadvertently paid the Legacy Meter charge on my August Hydro bill, your billing department has apparently decided that I would be willing to pay it again on my September bill.

I wish to assure you that such is not the case. My payment of this charge was due to a conditioned reaction to bill paying which I and my parents before me have always done, especially in regard to paying our BC Hydro bill. However, that was at a time when we felt
we were being billed fairly and equally, as BC Hydro is mandated to do.

Now we are being charged an extra $32.40 per month (plus tax) in order to protect ourselves from the well documented dangers of smartmeters. If we had to pay a monthly fee to a gang of hoodlums in order to keep them from destroying our business premises or doing us bodily harm, this would be called protection money or extortion. You choose to call it a Legacy Meter Fee for the alleged purpose of reading the meter.

You also refuse to allow the customer to read his or her own meter. Meanwhile the customer has no record of whether or not someone actually did read the meter. By way of correcting this situation, I think it would be a good idea for the meter reader to leave a calling card the next time they read my meter. This would be the least you could do to help restore a level of trust which no longer exists between the customer and BC Hydro. My latest meter reading was said to have occurred on or about Aug. 20/’14. But what proof do I have that it actually happened?

Signed XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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