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

Ottawa attack

Lower Mainland Muslim groups bracing for backlash following Ottawa, Montreal killings

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI Muslim and minority groups across the Lower Mainland are bracing for backlash in the wake of this week’s terrorist killings in…
Continue Reading »

Cold Lake Mosque graffiti

Cold Lake Mosque vandalized with spray-painted words ‘Go Home’

ALEXANDRA ZABJEK EDMONTON JOURNAL EDMONTON – A mosque in Cold Lake was vandalized Thursday night, with graffiti spray-painted on the exterior and windows smashed. The…
Continue Reading »

linda-hepnerdesi

Mayoral candidate Linda Hepner commits to operational Surrey LRT by 2018

Mayoral hopeful says Surrey residents haven’t seen an expansion in LRT for two decades  AMY REID SURREY NOW SURREY — Mayoral hopeful Linda Hepner says…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Parliament hill

Editorial Exchange: Rational responses needed

NEIL GODBOUT PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS Canada’s innocence should have ended in 1970 with the FLQ crisis but it didn’t. It should have been…
Continue Reading »

Ottawa attack

Lower Mainland Muslim groups bracing for backlash following Ottawa, Montreal killings

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI Muslim and minority groups across the Lower Mainland are bracing for backlash in the wake of this week’s terrorist killings in…
Continue Reading »

Cold Lake Mosque graffiti

Cold Lake Mosque vandalized with spray-painted words ‘Go Home’

ALEXANDRA ZABJEK EDMONTON JOURNAL EDMONTON – A mosque in Cold Lake was vandalized Thursday night, with graffiti spray-painted on the exterior and windows smashed. The…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper: Attack by ‘terrorist’ on Parliament Hill won’t weaken Canada’s resolve

JOAN BRYDEN THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA – The gunman who staged a deadly attack Wednesday on Parliament Hill was a terrorist whose despicable crime will…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-FIELD HOCKEY

Barinder Rasode announces plan to develop field hockey pitch in Surrey

Third field at Tamanawis Park would cost approximately $3 million KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW NEWTON – Barinder Rasode and the One Surrey team were at…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver-Surrey-Festival-India

Diwali celebrations in Vancouver and Surrey

DiwaliFest celebrates its 11th anniversary from Oct. 17 to 26 at various sites in Surrey and Vancouver. Diwali Celebration Friday, Oct. 24 at Firehall Centre…
Continue Reading »

India-weird news

Rudaali: India’s professional ‘weeping women’ demand higher pay

CEN AGENCY Professional mourners who are hired to turn up at people’s funerals in India, beat their breasts and wail, are going on strike for…
Continue Reading »

Abbotsford

Jag Khosa: Families pay the ultimate price of gang wars

DET. JAG KHOSA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Late into the night, the parents of a young man struggled to sleep. The mother kept tossing and…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

KANGANA RANAUT

Even my parents think I am weird, says Bollywood ‘Queen’ Kangana Ranaut

HINDUSTAN TIMES Kangana Ranaut has always made unconventional choices, be it her movies or the way she dresses. And the actor says she’s happy the…
Continue Reading »

Happy New Year-Bollywood

Happy New Year: Mandatory ‘formula’ and all those old Bollywood references

HINDUSTAN TIMES Film: Happy New Year Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah, Jackie Shroff Director: Farah Khan…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan

‘Happy New Year’ gets bumper opening: Trade experts

IANS New Delhi – Shah Rukh Khan-starrer “Happy New Year” arrived Friday and it has been tagged as “fully masaledaar entertainer”, “blockbuster written all over…
Continue Reading »