Anti-smart meter protester Sharon Noble greets delegates at B.C.'s 2012 municipal convention in downtown Vancouver. Wireless meters have been blamed for bee deaths

B.C. smart meters cleared in Ontario debacle

$1 billion over budget, Ontario tried to use smart grid to shift load to off-peak hours. It hasn't worked

Ontario has become notorious for bad energy policy decisions, from leaky nuclear plants and brownouts, to a costly green energy subsidy deal with Samsung, to a pair of hastily cancelled gas-fired power plants that helped push former premier Dalton McGuinty from office.

So it was no surprise to weary Ontario electricity ratepayers when Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk wrapped up 2014 with a report condemning the province’s wireless smart meter program for a $1 billion cost overrun and failure to reach the program’s goal of reducing power consumption.

Unlike BC Hydro’s wireless meter program, Ontario used the smart grid’s real-time consumption data to offer discounts for off-peak power consumption, hoping to ease the load on its outdated power grid while giving customers some relief from soaring rates. But few embraced the incentive to run their clothes dryers late at night to save money.

Diehard smart meter opponents in B.C. jumped at the bad news from Ontario. Their theories of sudden billing surges, vague health concerns and even smart meter surveillance have all been debunked, but here they had a credible voice saying they are a waste of money.

Alas for them, Lysyk held up B.C.’s smart meter program as the model Ontario should have followed.

The Ontario government “did not complete any cost-benefit analysis or business case prior to making the decision to mandate the installation of smart meters,” the auditor wrote. “This is in contrast to other jurisdictions, including British Columbia, Germany, Britain and Australia, all of which assessed the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of their smart metering programs.”

Lysyk’s report also noted BC Hydro developed its business case in 2006, updated it in 2010 as meter technology evolved, and implemented it in 2011 with a plan to recover costs over 20 years. BC Hydro’s savings come mainly from reduced electricity theft, faster location of power outages and more accurate load management.

B.C. also responded to the anti-smart meter holdouts with an optional fee to cover manual meter readings for those who insisted the cellphone-like data transmissions are a threat to their health.

 

Just Posted

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Most Read