Letter: ‘Humungous’ electric bills since smart meter installed

[Since smart meter installation] a sudden 400 kW.h increase has been reported in the billing period.

To the editor:

Further to letters from Dave Hamilton and Nicholas Swart (Capital News Jan 14 and Jan. 9/15 respectively) regarding electricity rates going up as smart meters come on stream, investigation by gov’t officials into the operation of these meters is obviously required.

While residing in Kelowna 1.5 years ago Fortis swapped our community’s hydro meters out twice in upgrade to smart meters. Humungous hydro usage bills followed for everyone, which would appear to imply the usage measurement to be different on these machines from the old versions.

Follow up with Fortis proved futile, but assistance from the BC Utilities Commission on my account determined that Fortis could produce no concrete evidence for the readings and adjustments were made.

Now this month the same fiasco has occurred in my new home with BC Hydro smart meters. Usage had been consistent and even took a 200 kW.h drop per billing period to account for the elimination of a hot tub that was in operation the whole of last winter.

Now a sudden 400 kW.h increase has been reported in the billing period. BC Hydro was contacted regarding the discrepancy, pointing out the elimination of this high usage piece of equipment, as well as significant home improvements from last winter including a totally drywalled interior, replacement of old badly leaking patio doors to coincide with previously installed all new windows, upgrade to low energy efficient light bulbs – all the things Hydro says will result in savings.

It was also pointed out that the home has had an electrician certified inspection, is maintained with a new gas furnace & hot water tank, and there have been no modifications/life style changes to substantiate the reported increase in power usage. All they could say is do a breaker test and wait for your next billing.

These meters are a disaster!

I have been a hydro customer for many years and have never encountered unsubstantiated spikes in hydro power usage with the old style meters. These meters appear to be a licence for power suppliers to gouge their customers, and the public needs to request the gov’t conduct proper investigations into their use.

I certainly intend to do so!

D. Samson, Westbank



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