Letters to the Editor

BC Hydro defends smart meters

Re: Smart meters don’t provide answer, February 8

There is a great deal of misinformation circulating about BC Hydro’s Smart Metering Program. I would like to respond to Robert Yetter’s letter to clarify some points about BC Hydro’s Smart Metering Program.

Our electricity grid has changed very little over the past 50 years. Mechanical meters are becoming obsolete and we need to replace them. Installing modern meters will improve public and worker safety, reliability and customer service. Unlike the current meters, which can only measure the amount of electricity consumed, smart meters are part of an integrated system that will play a key role in modernizing BC Hydro’s electricity grid for the benefits of our customers.

Here are the facts:

Myth: Smart meters will transfer money from customers’ pockets to big corporations through higher rates.

Fact: BC Hydro’s Smart Metering Program will pay for itself through reduced theft of electricity, energy savings and operating efficiencies, and deliver $520 million in net benefits over 20 years. Since BC Hydro is a publically owned utility, all of these savings will be passed on to our customers — keeping rates lower than they otherwise would be without the program.

Myth: Smart meters emit high levels of microwave radiation.

Fact: Smart meters do not emit any microwave radiation. They communicate using radio frequency, which is a different type of electromagnetic field than microwave.

Myth: Like a cell phone, smart meters transmit signals 24/7.

Fact: Unlike cell phones, smart meters communicate for only minutes per day and remain in a fixed location so they do not need to constantly search for a signal.

Myth: Smart meters will emit high levels of radio frequency radiation into my home.

Fact: Smart meters communicate using an extremely low, infrequent, and short signal. Radio frequency signals from smart meters are much lower than the signal from common every day devices such as radios, baby monitors and even the spark plugs in your car.

Myth: BC Hydro has not researched the health effects of radio frequency.

Fact: The potential effects of radio frequency have been carefully investigated around the world. Many reputable health authorities, such as the World Health Organization and Health Canada, have conducted thorough reviews of all of the different types of studies and research on electromagnetic fields and health and have determined that there is no cause-effect relationship between exposure to radio frequency and human health.

Myth: Smart meters will allow BC Hydro to know when I’m at home and what appliances or electronic devices I am using.

Fact: At no time will BC Hydro have access to any customers’ real-time consumption data. Only customers who choose to take advantage of in-home feedback devices will have access to real-time consumption data in the privacy of their own homes.

All personal information collected is handled in accordance with the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

BC Hydro is committed to communicating important information about the Smart Metering Program to customers in a transparent and timely manner. All current information about the program, including the business case, can be found at bchydro.com/smartmeters. Customers can also e-mail us at smartmeters@bchydro.com.

Mora Scott, BC Hydro

 

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