Re: “Hydro softens stance on smart meters”, Jan. 30
Here is a suggestion for B.C. Hydro: Just leave the 140,000 smart-meter holdouts alone. This would save $20 to $25 million in smart meter and installation costs alone and these customers could just read their own meters.
B.C. Hydro has already acknowledged that the system can be activated to receive data without 100 per cent meter coverage and last year they dropped the idea of bringing in time-of-use billing. That removed the only really good reason to justify a requirement for 100 per cent coverage of British Columbia by smart meters.
Letting the customers read their own meters is a simple and no-cost option. I did it for many years in Ontario and it worked just fine. My hydro and water meter were both in the basement, so every two months I read the meters and phoned them into an automated system. B.C. Hydro could verify the accuracy of the readings annually if they wished. Hydro already has the data processing/billing system set-up for the whole province, so there is no cost involved in that. All the added costs are to set up the smart meter system.
To receive the readings, B.C. Hydro would then just have to set up a web page for customers to enter their reading every two months. It could then generate an invoice which the customer could also pay online. For those without Internet access, an automated phone system would work.
If B.C. Hydro is really serious about looking at alternatives, then this straightforward and proven approach should be considered.
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