The installation of smart meters will begin in Kelowna next week.
FortisBC has announced that the controversial meters, new high tech devices intended to more accurately measure electricity use, will begin the installation process with homes in the Joe Rich, Black Mountain and parts of Rutland areas.
Fortis says customers may see their crews and the private utility’s authorized meter installers from Corix Utilities in their neighbourhoods in the coming weeks and months, as the exchanges continue in Kelowna through the first few months of 2015.
Meter installers will carry identification and be easily identifiable as FortisBC contractors.
“We’re notifying our customers by mail a few weeks before the electricity meter is to be exchanged at their property,” said a FortisBC news release. “We have been safely installing advanced meters in the Trail-Salmo area since September.”
The smart meter determines digitally through use of wireless technology how much electricity a customer has used in a time period. Opponents of smart meters said the cumulative effects of low-level radiation can increase damage to the nervous system, cause electro-sensitivity, have adverse reproductive effects and a variety of other effects on different organ systems.
While the health hazards have been a matter of debate in recent years, particularly with BC Hydro’s initial campaign to switch over to the new devices in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island communities, Fortis says its project is expected to be complete in late 2015 with the new meters able to open the door to benefits its customers are asking for— fewer bill estimates, up to date electricity use information and a more efficient response to power outages.
For more information on advanced meters, visit fortisbc.com/ami.
Fortis has also posted a video walk-through of the meter install process at fortisbc.com/kelowna.