After a decade of refusing BC Hydro’s smart meter installations, two Shuswap residents have had power cut to their home.
On Monday, Aug. 26 at approximately 10 a.m., BC Hydro workers came to Peter Kastner and Marcie Krozier’s home in Sunnybrae and asked them if they wanted a smart meter installed on their property. When they pair stated they do not want the meter, the crews confirmed with their supervisor and cut the power.
This is the culmination of 10 years worth of protesting the smart meter installation for Kastner and Krozier. Health and safety are the main reasons behind their decision to stay with what BC Hydro calls a ‘legacy meter.’
“My husband and I do a lot of research and we are well aware that it is very unhealthy to basically have dirty electricity or any kind of radiowave regularly around your body,” Krozier said. “We just don’t want this technology anywhere near us. We do not own cell phones – our phones are all hardwired, our computers are all hardwired.”
The decison to stay with the legacy meter has cost the couple a $32.50 monthly legacy fee, and they say they’ve been charged a $65 failed smart meter installation fee three times.
Although they received a disconnection notice from BC Hydro stating they must arrange for a meter exchange before Aug. 14, the pair was not told when the power would be cut. This is one of the issues Krozier has asked her ombudsperson to take up with BC Hydro.
BC Hydro has said the radio off meter does not use any radio frequency to communicate with the greater BC Hydro network – even still the pair do not trust this statement.
“Given our experience with BC Hydro, we understand they don’t keep to their word and we will never have any kind of wireless device on our property,” said Krozier. “Even if it is turned off because we wouldn’t trust them in the future to turn it on.”
“I’m quite upset, I’m shocked. I can’t believe it, still it’s just sinking in. It’s quite a drastic measure for them to do,” added Kastner.
Kastner and Krozier live on a property that is home to many chickens and ducks which they raise and use for food – a way of life threatened by the lack of power.
“We have just hatched a bunch of chicks and ducklings so last night we didn’t have any power to keep our little chicks and ducklings warm,” Kastner said. “We have freezers full of meat that are going bad now. We have a bunch of ducklings that depend on heat lamps to survive, it goes on and on.”
One of the sources of income for the pair is Kastner’s woodworking shop. With no power running to his equipment, all woodworking production has stopped. Kastner also built another residence on the property, one which is rented out regularly to Airbnb guests. So far an electric generator has provided enough power to get by on for Kastner, Krozier and their guests.
In a statement from BC Hydro, the company expresses that disconnections are not used lightly.
“Disconnections are always a last resort. We provide a number of letters and phone calls over many months to customers that have meters with expired seals to advise them of the need to exchange the meter and the potential for disconnection prior to attempting the meter exchange,” the statement read. “At this time, we advise customers that if this third-attempt meter exchange is unsuccessful, it could result in their electricity service being disconnected.”
The pair are not alone in their lack of electricity either. A Sicamous resident who received the same letter as Krozier also had her power cut on Tuesday, August 27.