Smart meters not a bright idea

At the beginning of October, MLAs got back to work in the legislature. For the first time in a long time, we’re having a fall session.

At the beginning of October, MLAs got back to work in the legislature. For the first time in a long time, we’re having a fall session. Prior to this session the BC Liberal government had us sit for a mere 24 days out of 16 months. So as you can imagine, I am very glad to be getting back to the house to raise your concerns and address the issues important to this region.

One issue that I am hearing more and more about is smart meters. Since September 30 when the Union of BC Municipalities passed a motion calling for a moratorium on BC Hydro’s installation of these devices, the issue has really picked up steam. A major provincial organization whose membership is comprised of local leaders made a clear statement that reflects what they are hearing on the ground. Smart meters are controversial and are being instituted with no public consultation at a price tag of $1 billion. In response, local governments wisely said slow down and take a better look at this decision. The Liberals responded by saying “Too bad, we’re doing it anyway.”

I have to say that it is frustrating enough that the Liberals ignore the countless petitions NDP members have presented in the legislature and the facts we present during debates, but to see them ignore the pleas of local governments and citizens is outrageous. After the way they handled the HST, you would expect them to have learned their lesson.

Some of the issues the NDP has been raising start with the $1 billion price tag to force smart meters into people’s homes. If we are going to spend this much of your tax dollars on something, it better do something amazing. The claim is that smart meters will cause a reduction in energy consumption and reward those who use energy in off-peak hours. However, when we look at other jurisdictions, this just isn’t the case.

Last year, my NDP colleague John Horgan, MLA for Juan de Fuca and opposition critic for energy, noted in a press release that “the Ontario experience has shown that smart meters don’t work when it comes to conserving energy and saving money. Instead, they are proving to do just the opposite.” In Toronto alone, 84 per cent of residents’ bills went up as a result of smart meters.

Supporting home retrofits, public transit and stronger emissions standards have better results for energy conservation and saving people money. Just think how much we could have done with $1 billion.

Not only should the public have been consulted on smart meters since they are being forced into private homes, but there should have been some public oversight in reviewing such a major capital expenditure by our public utility. If there had, I might not be even writing this column. However, the Liberals meddled with the BC Utilities Commission and removed its ability to review such expenditures. Instead of ignoring community leaders, the premier’s response after the UBCM resolution should have been to send the $1 billion project to the independent BCUC for review.

My NDP colleagues and I will continue to raise this issue in the house. In advance, I thank you for continuing to share with me your concerns on this and many other issues.

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: L.V. Rogers sends off its grad class

Check out our pictures of the festivities

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

COLUMN: 1919 – Police chief reminds drivers of streetcar etiquette

Greg Scott takes us back to a century ago in the files of the Nelson Daily News

Nelson archers host meet

The Nelson Rod and Gun Club hosted 78 archers

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read