Anti-smart meter protester Sharon Noble greets delegates at B.C.'s 2012 municipal convention in downtown Vancouver. Wireless meters have been blamed for bee deaths

B.C. smart meters cleared in Ontario debacle

$1 billion over budget, Ontario tried to use smart grid to shift load to off-peak hours. It hasn't worked

Ontario has become notorious for bad energy policy decisions, from leaky nuclear plants and brownouts, to a costly green energy subsidy deal with Samsung, to a pair of hastily cancelled gas-fired power plants that helped push former premier Dalton McGuinty from office.

So it was no surprise to weary Ontario electricity ratepayers when Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk wrapped up 2014 with a report condemning the province’s wireless smart meter program for a $1 billion cost overrun and failure to reach the program’s goal of reducing power consumption.

Unlike BC Hydro’s wireless meter program, Ontario used the smart grid’s real-time consumption data to offer discounts for off-peak power consumption, hoping to ease the load on its outdated power grid while giving customers some relief from soaring rates. But few embraced the incentive to run their clothes dryers late at night to save money.

Diehard smart meter opponents in B.C. jumped at the bad news from Ontario. Their theories of sudden billing surges, vague health concerns and even smart meter surveillance have all been debunked, but here they had a credible voice saying they are a waste of money.

Alas for them, Lysyk held up B.C.’s smart meter program as the model Ontario should have followed.

The Ontario government “did not complete any cost-benefit analysis or business case prior to making the decision to mandate the installation of smart meters,” the auditor wrote. “This is in contrast to other jurisdictions, including British Columbia, Germany, Britain and Australia, all of which assessed the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of their smart metering programs.”

Lysyk’s report also noted BC Hydro developed its business case in 2006, updated it in 2010 as meter technology evolved, and implemented it in 2011 with a plan to recover costs over 20 years. BC Hydro’s savings come mainly from reduced electricity theft, faster location of power outages and more accurate load management.

B.C. also responded to the anti-smart meter holdouts with an optional fee to cover manual meter readings for those who insisted the cellphone-like data transmissions are a threat to their health.

 

Just Posted

Little Shop of Horrors back in Hazelton after 22 years

Hazelton Secondary School puts on four performces starting Saturday. Tickets on sale now.

Upper Skeena Rec Centre now aiming for summer opening

Now-$20-million year-round rec centre has pilot program expanding Indigenous programs

Smithers library goes fine-free

Library board abolishes charges on all items returned after their due date to bolster patronship.

Smithers Christmas bird count results

Over 5,000 birds observed in annual count, including a couple local rarities.

Giesbrecht pleads not guilty in murder trial

Giesbrecht, 67, faces 1st-degree murder of Raymond Bishop, found May 2017 south of Francois Lake.

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

B.C. Green leader calls for long-term legislature financial audit

Andrew Weaver says trust in clerk and sergeant at arms is gone

No charges in fatal police Taser incident in Chilliwack

RCMP watchdog concludes no evidence of excessive or disproportionate force was used by officers

Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying with tax payers’ money

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Alberta youth charged over theft of $17,000 in snow equipment at B.C. ski resort

Alberta RCMP recovered $17,000 in skis/snowboards believed stolen from Fernie Alpine Resort Saturday

China demands U.S. drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

Hua said China demands that the U.S. withdraw the arrest warrant against Meng Wanzhou

Giant ice disk equipped with webcam after surviving storm

Westbrook official Tina Radel says the livestream was requested by Brown University

Ousted B.C. legislature officials say report released to further blacken their reputations

James and Lenz say release was ‘Contrary to all principles of fairness and decent treatment’

B.C. animators land Oscar nominations

‘Animal Behaviour’ by Vancouver’s David Fine and Alison Snowden among several Canadians on the short list

Most Read