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Smart meters may not be so smart

Any day now a B.C. Hydro person will come to your door wanting to install a smart meter.

Any day now a B.C. Hydro person will come to your door wanting to install a smart meter.

According to the power company, these meters will make the grid more efficient and modern. This will result in “immediate” savings, and provide safe, reliable, and more affordable power for decades to come. Sounds good?

There is a flip side, of course. Critics say the smart meters could actually increase power consumption and endanger both the environment and public health (radiation).

Some question the $950 million cost of installing the meters. Opinion 150’s Peter Meisner calls them B.C.’s newest slot machines.  Others call it a boondoggle. Privacy is another issue. The wireless meters can transmit a radio signal from each user to a central area more than 40 times a day, obviously an intrusion into our lives.   I don’t know where the central area is, but the meters come from a U.S.-based company and B.C. Hydro contracts out its billing.  Grid security, job losses, and more speculation on the energy markets are among other issues being raised.  Maybe the smart meters will be the best thing in the world for B.C. Hydro and its consumers.

Maybe not. Maybe time will prove the critics are right.

That seems to be happening a lot lately.

Nobody seems to know if it’s possible for a consumer to refuse the smart meters.


Personal crime report.

My van, which is usually parked in my driveway, is kept locked and clubbed. No valuables are kept in it, unless someone covets recyclable grocery bags. But how do you thwart thieves from stealing licence plates? Last week someone pinched both of the van’s licence plates.

It was a simple matter to get new plates, but is there a vehicle out there somewhere wearing the stolen ones? If so, how likely is it for the perp to get caught?

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.