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 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.
Who is eligible?
Residential customers who did not have a smart meter at their home at the time of the announcement were eligible to make a choice. In September 2013 BC Hydro sent letters to these customers outlining the options available through the Meter Choices Program, the fees associated with those options and instructions on how to enrol.
The Meter Choices Program enrolment period ended on December 1, 2013.
If customers did not return their enrolment forms, or if they chose to keep old meters, the $35 per month fee to retain the old meter will be applied to their bills starting on December 2, 2013.
If customers choose to keep an old meter and:
- they move – they will be able to choose a radio-off meter (at cost) or a smart meter (free of charge) at their new home.
- the old meter breaks or the accuracy seal expires – BC Hydro will provide a replacement meter as long as existing stock lasts.
If customers with old meters decide that they would prefer a smart meter or a radio-off meter, they can contact a member of the Smart Metering Specialist Team at 1 800 409 8199. Any fees will be pro-rated starting on the date of the request.
Only a standard smart meter delivers the full range of benefits enabled by the modern grid. For example, customers who have smart meters and sign up for MyHydro accounts will be able to track their 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.
|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 a customer chooses a standard smart meter, there are no additional costs.
- If a customer chooses a radio-off meter – a set-up fee of $100 and a monthly fee of $20 will be added to their bills starting on April 1, 2014.
- If a customer chooses to keep an old meter – or did not return the enrolment forms – a monthly fee of $35 will be added to their bills starting on 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
Customers who were eligible to make a choice were sent a letter explaining their options and an enrolment form. The deadline for completing and returning the enrolment form to BC Hydro was December 1, 2013.
If a customer did not confirm their choice, BC Hydro will not exchange the meter at their home, and the monthly cost for keeping an old meter will be added to their BC Hydro bill starting on December 2, 2013.
If a customer with an old meter decides that they would prefer a smart meter or a radio-off meter, they can contact a member of the Smart Metering Specialist Team at 1 800 409 8199. BC Hydro will process their request and any fees will be pro-rated.
If a customer chooses a smart meter or a radio-off meter, the meter on their home will be exchanged in the coming months. Customers must ensure there is clear access to the BC Hydro meter at all times.
If a customer chooses to keep an old meter, BC Hydro may still need to exchange the meter on their home. Broken or expired old meters will be replaced 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.