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NEWS RELEASE · 26th March 2012
New Democrat energy critic John Horgan says in light of numerous complaints of people’s hydro bills showing excessive increases after their smart meters were installed; the B.C. Utilities Commission should be empowered to conduct a full independent review of the problem.

“Dozens of people have written to me with concerns about their bills, sometimes doubling or even tripling after their smart meter was installed,” said Horgan. “But the Liberals refuse to admit there’s a problem.”

Horgan has written to Energy Minister Rich Coleman to request an independent review of the complaints about excessive hydro bills by the B.C. Utilities Commission.

“As if it wasn’t enough to see hydro rates shoot up 36 per cent over the past four years, now many people who have had their smart meter installed are finding a sudden spike in consumption that is leading to hundreds of dollars in extra charges,” said Horgan. “People are concerned that these recent massive bills will be the new norm, and they’re worried about how they’re going to be able to pay for it.”

B.C. Hydro has admitted they are in the process of uninstalling 1000 of the new smart meters to send them for testing.

“If B.C. Hydro is admitting there’s a problem and conducting tests on the new meters, they should say so; they say they’re doing standard quality control, but it looks more like damage control.

“With so many questions about the smart meters left unanswered, people are losing trust in the Liberal government to look out for the public interest,” said Horgan. “That’s why I want to see it turned over to the independent B.C. Utilities Commission where experts can conduct a real assessment of the problem.”

Horgan noted that the Liberals shielded the billion-dollar smart meter program from the independent oversight of the Utilities Commission by exempting it, along with $12 billion worth of capital expenditures, as part of the Clean Energy Act. He said the Liberals are running B.C. Hydro into the ground and undermining public trust in the Crown Corporation.

“Exempting the entire program from independent oversight was a huge mistake from the start; compounding that problem doesn’t serve the public interest.”