1) Mr. Dix’s recent first step in identifying the fee issue is just that – a first step. Your emails to him and to your MLAs have been responsible, I’m sure, in raising this to the point where finally this step was taken. Please note that the letter is from Mr. Dix as an individual MLA, not as NDP Hydro critic. Are John Horgan and the rest of the NDP in agreement?
What is being done to help the many families having power turned off ? People could die because of Hydro’s inhumane tactics. Where is the outrage from the party that supposedly speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves?
Mr. Dix and the NDP must realize that we need more from them. The fees are wrong, they are extortion, they cause severe hardship for many who are trying to protect their families. Moreover the entire grid is in violation of our Charter Rights to not be forced by government or any government agency to accept something that we believe to be harmful. The NDP have yet to acknowledge any of this. Neither has the NDP acknowledged that the meters have failed and have caused fires. We must continue to pressure them to take the next step, and the next after that. My letter to Mr. Dix is below.
2) In some communities $mart water meters are being installed with little or no advance notice to residents. There is no need to the water authorities to apply to BCUC so people are given no chance to voice concerns and dispute the decision. I would like to suggest that we all take responsibility for getting involved in advance of the decision being made in those communities not yet $$metered. Write, call, attend meetings to make your voices heard before they decide to put a radiation-emitting device in place of your standard water meter.
3) Below is a letter from the Auditor General in response to a letter written by a member about the failures of the govt’s $$meter program. It would be good to know when the audit will be done. Hopefully it will be done sooner rather than later.
4) Please comment with your experiences to this article. The people being served by Fortis deserve the truth.
5) Non-smeter: The Liberals have pushed through another multi-billion $$ project that can only benefit themselves and their friends – Site C.
No oversight is allowed – just as with the smeter program. It’s time for major protests by the public for this twisting of the laws by this government to allow profit at any cost – the environment, people’s homes and health, and bankruptcy of the province.
6) A follow up on the meter with condensation in yesterday’s update. This from a member:
My friend (X) told me that it took 1-1/2 hours for a guy to show up to replace the meter. He tried to tell X (who used to be a building contractor) that the condensation was caused by the water running up the wires and down his pipe. He told the guy that water does not run uphill and then they talked about condensation. The installer said he could create condensation by putting his hand on the innards. The installer also admitted that he had personally replaced over 25 smart meters in Salmon Arm. It took 15-1/2 hours for a guy to show up with a chainsaw to remove the tree that fell on our power line. It took another one year and 4 months for BC Hydro to replace our pole which was leaning over at about 70 degrees after the tree had fallen on the lines. It only took 1-1/2 hours for the smart meter to be replaced. I guess that was done yesterday right after the pictures were taken and were sent to me at 9:40 am.
7) Saskatchewan’s Sensus $$meters have been found to meet all UL safety standards, yet they still burn and fail. The ITRON $$meters in BC have not been tested so we have no idea if they meet even these standards, which obviously are inadequate. The testing found moisture caused no problems. Tell that to the homeowners where the $meters failed due to condensation or leakage. These wireless devices are so dangerous that they overheat, melt and cause fires even if they pass UL standards. Obviously these should be off the market entirely.
SaskPower receives additional smart meter testing results by SaskPower – News Releases – December 17, 2014:
From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: December 18, 2014 8:33 PM
Subject: RE: New Democrats call for a reduction in fees paid by Meter Choices B.C. Hydro users
I and many others are very happy to see this, and hope that your pressure will result in relief for many who are suffering under these onerous fees. Thank you.
I do wish though that for the public’s better understanding of our concerns, that you had included a couple of other points:
1) People are paying $32.40 each month which amounts to $64.80 per reading and billing. Is this reasonable? If a regular reading is missed, some people get a minor $12 per month refund.
2) People who are billed on an equal payment basis are paying the full amount each month even though Hydro reads their meters only 1-2 times a year. No refund for failure to read meters is given to these customers.
3) Close to 50,000 smart metered homes are receiving the same service for no additional fees. This is in violation of the Utilities Commission Act.
I also wish you would have expressed outrage at the fact that Hydro is disconnecting power in the middle of winter for amounts as little as $65. Granted you complained about the inconsistent policy, but Hydro could well say their consistent policy is to turn off power for failing to pay any amount at any time of the year. I wish you would have denounced the egregious treatment given people who are fighting to feed their families, to heat their homes while electricity rates are increasing, and to pay outrageously high legacy fees to keep something they believe harmful off their homes. Turning an essential service off in the middle of winter for some people who just cannot afford their bills even after doing everything possible to reduce usage is unconscionable.
I am very grateful that the NDP is speaking to the amount of the fees, and asking for a reconsideration of them. In fact Quebecers appealed the $8 opt out fee and it was lowered to $5 (and they are allowed to keep their analog meters permanently.) This is very important and if the NDP will keep pressure on Bennett and Christy’s government, many people will be very appreciative.
Hopefully soon you will similarly express concern about the fact that smart meters are fire hazards and that Bennett and Clark are playing Russian roulette with our safety.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas, and a healthy, satisfying 2015.
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2014 1:59 PM
Subject: Rate Reduction Review & BC Hydro/Fortis
Best Christmas present ever! Thank you. One small correction on fees being charged. BC Hdyro informed me the ‘legacy” fee was a fixed daily rate of $1.065.
My total in fees plus taxes was $412 for 6 meter readings and one thug visit (failure to install fee).
As a senior, that cut heavily into my monthly grocery budget but Rainbow Kitchen provides excellent meals.
Merry Christmas and thank you for making someone accountable for this hardship and intimidation.
An email rec’d by a member in response to one written to the BC Auditor General.
Thank you for your email of December 10, 2014. You indicate a number of concerns regarding the health and safety impacts resulting from the use of Smart Meters. You also question the financial viability of the smart meter program noting that the financial benefits may not outweigh the costs. You provide documentation in support of your points. You mention, for example, the very recent report released by the Auditor General of Ontario that includes significant content relating to smart meters.
As you may know, our role is to conduct independent audits and provide advice on how well government is managing its resources and responsibilities. That role does not extend to questioning the merits of major policies or objectives of the government, of which the decision to adopt smart meters is an example.
The activities of BC Hydro continue to be an area of focus for us in our audit planning going forward, and the impacts from the policy decisions can be taken into account in such planning.
We do appreciate your views and suggestions. If you wish to stay up to date on our current work in progress, you can subscribe to news alerts on our website at: www.bcauditor.com/reach/subscribe.
Thank you for taking the time to write. Please write again if you feel new information or insights are available.
Carol Bellringer, FCA