Independent MLA not told about smart meters decision
BC Hydro is finally giving the remaining 55,000 customers without a smart meter installed the chance to opt out.
But until recently, the constituency office of Delta South has been telling people who are opposed to the installation of smart meters that they have no choice at all.
Until, that is, MLA Vicki Huntington found out on TV that BC Liberal MLAs and the Energy Minister have been emailing constituents with the news.
"If it's going to be a provincial policy you'd hear a press release from BC Hydro or something to that effect, you wouldn't hear it from a letter to the constituent of a government MLA," she said by phone from her Ladner constituency office on Friday.
Energy Minister Rich Coleman confirmed to media yesterday that smart meters won't be forced into homes over the next few months but he denied reports the province has reversed its policy and will let objectors opt out of having the wireless devices.
"We're going back to talk to our customers," he said Thursday. "We'll not force any customer to take a meter."
Although miffed that her office wasn't informed of the switch, she said it's fair that those who don't want their meters switched over shouldn't be forced.
"What most of us have been saying is, for heaven sakes, give those people a choice," said Huntington, adding she's not personally opposed to smart meters.
But Huntington said the reprieve for homeowners is likely a temporary move.
"I would say that 55,000 votes and unhappy constituents don't make a tight election go well, and so they're trying to smooth the troubled waters," she said. "But there's some indication that BC Hydro is just saying we'll talk to you for the time being but you'll eventually have to have one installed."
The change in policy comes a little late in the game. Up to 95 per cent of BC Hydro's 1,027,706 analog meters have been swapped over to smart meters. That means there are still about 4,200 smart meters left to be installed across Richmond, North Delta, Tsawwassen and Ladner.