Smart meters have been installed in more than 1.8 million homes and businesses throughout the province and are now standard BC Hydro equipment.
In July 2013 the Provincial Government announced the Meter Choices Program, which offers eligible customers a choice of meter.
Who is eligible?
Residential customers who do not yet have a smart meter at their home are eligible to make a choice.
If you're eligible, you will receive a letter from BC Hydro explaining that you can choose between:
- a standard smart meter at no cost;
- a radio-off meter for a one-time set up fee and monthly operating fee; or
- keeping an old meter for a monthly fee.
If you choose to keep an old meter and:
- you move – you will be able to choose a radio-off meter (at cost) or a smart meter (free of charge) at your new home.
- the old meter breaks or the accuracy seal expires – BC Hydro will provide a replacement meter as long as existing stock lasts.
Only a standard smart meter delivers the full range of benefits enabled by the modern grid. For example, if you have a smart meter and sign up for a MyHydro account you will be able to track your electricity use down to the hour and up to the previous day.
Choosing a radio-off meter or keeping an old meter means that some benefits will not be available to you.
|Smart Meter||Radio-off Meter||Old meter
|Hourly consumption information||Available online the next day||Available when meter data is downloaded||Not available|
|Automatic outage detection||Yes||Not available||Not available|
|Automatic meter reading
||Yes||Not available||Not available|
|Streamlined move-in/out processes||Yes||Not available||Not available|
Costs of each option
If you choose a standard smart meter, there will be no additional costs.
If you choose a non-communicating meter the cost of these options will be added to your bill. The costs are:
- radio-off meters – a set-up fee of $100 and a monthly fee of $20 starting April 1, 2014;
- keeping an old meter – a monthly fee of $35 starting December 2, 2013.
These costs offset the expense of adding infrastructure to ensure BC Hydro's electricity grid works as planned. The fees also cover the cost of manually performing services now automated by smart meters.
The B.C. Utilities Commission has approved these fees on an interim basis. If the final fees differ from the interim rate, then BC Hydro will adjust customers' bills accordingly.
How to inform BC Hydro of your choice
If you're eligible to make a choice you will receive a letter from BC Hydro explaining your options. You can also download a copy of this letter [PDF, 92 KB].
An enrolment form will be enclosed with the letter mailed to eligible customers. You will need to complete and sign the form and return it to BC Hydro by December 1, 2013.
If you do not confirm your choice, BC Hydro will not exchange the meter at your home, and the monthly cost for keeping an old meter will be added to your BC Hydro bill.
If you choose a smart meter or a radio-off meter, the meter on your home will be exchanged in the coming months. Please ensure there is clear access to the BC Hydro meter at all times.
If you choose to keep an old meter, BC Hydro may still need to exchange the meter on your home. We will replace a broken or expired old meter with another old meter as long as the existing stock of old meters lasts. You can read more about why we will make these exchanges in our FAQs.
Find out more about how to prepare for installation at your home.
More information about these options
For more information about installation options, please call BC Hydro's Smart Metering Specialist Team at 1 800 409 8199.