B.C. Hydro finally owns up to defective smart meter

Published: April 9, 2012

One day in early March, Trapper Cameron’s father-in-law came home from walking the dog to find B.C. Hydro workers on his lawn and up on his roof.

They had come for Cameron’s new smart meter, which they had ripped off the wall of his home.

“The meter just kept going around and around and around,” the Kamloops resident told me. “They told me it was ringing up about five or six times the actual power I was using. I guess they thought I had a grow-op or something.”

The workers took the smart meter away and installed a new one.

And now B.C. Hydro is admitting — for the very first time — that one of its celebrated new smart meters was grossly over-charging a customer for electricity.

“It wasn’t working properly — it was very strange,” customer-care director Jim Nicholson told me, adding B.C. Hydro has launched an investigation into the “anomaly.”

The smart meter was installed at Cameron’s house Jan. 5 and removed March 9. During that two-month period, the smart meter measured 48,285 kilowatt hours, which works out to a bill of more than $4,800.

“It’s outlandish — just crazy,” Nicholson said. “It was running at an incredible rate.”

Nicholson said B.C. Hydro discovered the malfunctioning meter and removed it before Cameron received an inflated bill.

But that’s not what Cameron says. The trucking company employee told me he got a bill from B.C. Hydro at the end of March for more than $1,000 — about six times higher than his usual bill.

“I thought, ‘Holy crap! I’m not paying this!’” Cameron said. “I called B.C. Hydro right away and they cancelled the bill.”

He said B.C. Hydro sent him a new bill for around $180.

Hundreds of Province readers have contacted me with stories of B.C. Hydro bills that doubled, tripled, quadrupled or spiked even higher — all after receiving a new smart meter.

But B.C. Hydro has insisted its smart meters are working perfectly and have fiercely denied widespread customer complaints of over-billing.

B.C. Hydro said anyone with a high bill must have consumed more power during the winter, and Energy Minister Rich Coleman called stories of over-billing smart meters “an urban myth.”

But now that B.C. Hydro admits Cameron’s smart meter was over-charging him in Kamloops, the spin is changing.

“Like any kind of electronic equipment, you’re going to get some that just go weird,” Nicholson said. He said Cameron’s smart meter is the first with a confirmed malfunction out of one million meters installed so far.

Nicholson said Cameron’s one-in-a-million meter is now undergoing an electronic autopsy at a Vancouver lab. He said B.C. Hydro has alerted Itron, the American manufacturer of the meter, which is tracing records at its South Carolina factory.

But NDP energy critic John Horgan said that’s not enough.

“This program is off the rails,” Horgan said. “We need an independent investigation.”

I’m personally not surprised B.C. Hydro finally admits its smart meters are capable of over-charging customers. There have been way too many stories of hyper-inflated bills that defy explanation.

Now it’s time for the B.C. Utilities Commission to get involved, before any more B.C. Hydro customers get ripped off.


Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

tallest man-India-desi

India’s tallest man spends his days in a cage-like structure posing for photos at an amusement park

VANCOUVER DESI Life is not easy for India’s tallest man Dharmendra Singh, who stands at 8-ft 1-inch, his height being the biggest barrier for his career and…
Continue Reading »

TK

Four hospitalized after apparent Surrey street race ends with car wedged under semi-trailer

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY — A 16-year-old girl and her passengers are lucky to be alive after the grey Honda Accord she was driving…
Continue Reading »

BC politics scam

Maybe next year for trial related to the B.C. Liberals’ ethnic outreach scandal

Brian Bonney, a former Liberal government employee, and Mark Robertson, an active B.C. Liberal Party worker, face several charges under the Elections Act CASSIDY OLIVER…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

TK

Four hospitalized after apparent Surrey street race ends with car wedged under semi-trailer

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY — A 16-year-old girl and her passengers are lucky to be alive after the grey Honda Accord she was driving…
Continue Reading »

BC politics scam

Maybe next year for trial related to the B.C. Liberals’ ethnic outreach scandal

Brian Bonney, a former Liberal government employee, and Mark Robertson, an active B.C. Liberal Party worker, face several charges under the Elections Act CASSIDY OLIVER…
Continue Reading »

crime-Surrey

Surrey Mounties hunting three suspects after five cabbies robbed

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY — Five Surrey cab drivers have been robbed over the past months and Surrey Mounties are asking for the public’s…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Vancouver Ross Street Sikh Temple

Media-savvy Narendra Modi’s one year in photos as India’s prime minister

VANCOUVER DESI Check out photos of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he completes one year in office. Modi is one of India’s most social…
Continue Reading »

Desi cop viral video

Video shows a young cop being thrashed by four men for drinking on duty

VANCOUVER DESI A video clip showing a cop being beaten up for drinking on duty in India is going viral, according to newswire Press Trust of…
Continue Reading »

Best city to live in North America

Vancouver is one of the world’s most livable cities — but it’s also ‘mind-numbingly boring': The Economist

NATIONAL POST STAFF Vancouver is among the world’s most “mind-numbingly boring” cities, The Economist has declared. Check out photos of the World’s most livable cities 2015…
Continue Reading »

Alberta Securities Commission

Alberta securities regulator fines Energy TV producer Neil Chandran $400,000

DAN HEALING POSTMEDIA NEWS CALGARY — The independent Calgary television producer who put Energy TV on the air says he “deeply regrets” losses suffered by…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Shooting

‘This is really close to home’: Two cars exchange gunfire in Surrey neighbourhood

CHERYL CHAN VANCOUVER DESI Another bout of gunfire rocked a Surrey neighbourhood Sunday evening. Newton resident Doug Elford tweeted about hearing gunfire outside his home…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood designer-actress

Shraddha Kapoor visits ‘Baaghi’ set ahead of shoot

IANS Mumbai – Actress Shraddha Kapoor, who will be seen playing the lead in Sajid Nadiadwala’s “Baaghi” starring Tiger Shroff, took time out from her…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood movies

Playing Kashibai in Bajirao Mastani emotionally draining for Bollywood beauty Priyanka Chopra

IANS Mumbai – Actress Priyanka Chopra who will be portraying the role of Maratha warrior Peshwa Bajirao’s first wife in “Bajirao Mastani”, says her character…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

U.S. dancer turned Bollywood actress Lauren Gottlieb has “fallen in love with acting”

IANS Mumbai – A successful dancer from the US, Lauren Gottlieb has been trying her luck in Bollywood. Ahead of the release of her next…
Continue Reading »