Liberals need to clarify their muddled position on smart meter installations

VICTORIA – The Liberal government must clarify their muddled position on smart meter installations and tell British Columbians just what options they have when it comes to the smart meter program, say the New Democrats.

“One week customers are receiving threatening letters saying the meters will be installed no matter what. The next week the energy minister pens an opinion piece saying B.C. Hydro won’t install a new meter without the homeowner’s consent,” said New Democrat energy critic John Horgan. “Which is it? You can’t have it both ways.”

A statement issued this week from Liberal MLA Gordon Hogg’s office says “Minister Coleman advised Gordon that individual home owners, who had not yet had a smart meter installed on their home, would not have to have one.” The statement goes on to say, “You will not be ‘forced’ into having one or be in fear of it being installed when you are not home.”

Horgan said a call from his office to B.C. Hydro failed to clarify the issue. A B.C. Hydro spokesperson was not aware of any written policy regarding the energy minister’s comments.

“People in British Columbia are feeling harassed by the Liberal government and B.C. Hydro contractors,” said Horgan. “The energy minister needs to be clear, or that frustration and anger will continue to grow.”

Horgan said if the Liberals allowed the independent B.C. Utilities Commission to look into a compromise that works for everyone, much of this confusion could have been avoided.

“The smart meter initiative – a billion dollar expenditure – has been rife with discord from the beginning, and the independent utilities commission has been barred from overseeing the process,” said Horgan. “This Liberal government is tired, and isn’t up to the challenge of addressing the concerns of British Columbians.”

B.C.’s New Democrats are committed to restoring the regulatory role of the B.C. Utilities Commission, and will take practical steps to get B.C. Hydro back on its feet to bring greater stability and proper long-term planning to British Columbia’s energy policy.