As was the case with the Harmonized Sales Tax, the B.C. Liberal government decided smart meters were good for British Columbians and went forward with the installation program without consultation or seeking public input.
As soon as the province announced it was going ahead with smart meters, there was a public outcry about the use of smart meters because of health concerns, lack of public input and the government’s insistence every British Columbia household and business must have one.
Then, BC Hydro trotted out a dog-and-pony show that travelled around the province providing all of the “good things” smart meters would do for the great unwashed.
Those who were in opposition to the smart meters, especially those who claimed there are associated health issues or invasion-of-privacy issues, were vilified as conspiracy theorists.
In fairness, there was a mishmash of “science” being purported by both sides in the smart-meter debate.
Those who said they wouldn’t allow people on their private property to install the meters were falsely told private property didn’t carry any weight in this instance. However, Section 17, subsection 5 of the Clean Energy Act clearly states BC Hydro agents cannot go on private property without the owner’s consent.
Most recently, however, the issue of installation safety of smart meters, and BC Hydro’s claim a Mission homeowner was liable for a fire that destroyed her home one day after a smart meter was installed, surfaced.
The Mission fire department’s report noted the June 15 blaze originated in an insulating “lug” that attached the meter base to the home appeared to be cracked and “radiated heat” to combust the wall.
Shortly after Lower Mainland media published the story earlier this month, BC Hydro followed with a press release stating the “meter socket” was the homeowner’s responsibility and, therefore, the Crown corporation was off the hook for liability.
However, it also noted installers always do a safety inspection and BC Hydro gives homeowners the option to have meter electrical issues repaired at taxpayers’ expense.
BC Hydro also warns homeowners to have electricians check the wiring regularly.