UNCOMMON SENSE: Smart meter reprieve too little, too late
If you’re a resident of B.C. there’s a near statistical certainty your home has a smart meter on it.
All except for about four per cent of homes in the province have had analog meters removed in favour of the modern, more accurate and “smarter” variety.
But that retrofit has come at a severe price, both in terms of the $1 billion capital costs and the immeasurable political costs.
Forcing people to take smart meters they didn’t want has generated significant anger toward the BC Liberals and BC Hydro.
And when Energy Minister Rich Coleman told British Columbians two weeks ago that mandatory retrofits were being halted, it was a lot like closing the barn door after the horses have already escaped and a fire incinerated the rest.
Whatever goodwill the government was hoping to achieve was lost a long time ago. Those who felt forced to switch have already grudgingly done so and the damage is done. Those who haven’t are so entrenched in their position that they trust the government to keep its word about as much as Pinocchio.
Look, in every objective, scientific, and rational analysis, smart meters are a good and logical move. They’re more energy efficient, can save a homeowner money, and will alert BC Hydro to problems before they arise.
But just because something is good for someone doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the right to refuse it.
Take the HST as a perfect example. There’s every indication the tax was a good economic stimulus, good for businesses, and fairer for consumers. But people got it into their heads it was a bad tax and that was that. No amount of convincing helped, and the more it was forced on people the more they hated it.
The fears behind smart meters don’t really wash for me. I don’t believe they’re dangerous, and even if they were, I can’t imagine it’s any worse than a thousand other things slowly killing me paper cut by paper cut.
But ridiculing and ignoring the fears of people who think they’re dangerous isn’t just irresponsible, it’s outright cruel.
Would you lock a person who is afraid of the dark in a closet? Would you shove a tarantula in the face of a person terrified of spiders? Would you take someone rock climbing who’s afraid of heights?
So why would the government force people who are convinced smart meters are dangerous to put them in their homes, the one place we all have a right to feel safe and secure?