Smart meters in B.C. will lead to better customer service

Living in today's society, we've come to expect immediate service, results and access to information. There's virtually no area of daily life that doesn't have something to do with technology.

As consumers in an age of instant gratification, our expectations of customer service have also evolved significantly.

Need to make a phone call? Your phone is likely on you at all times and you expect full service in every nook of your hometown – even in elevators.

Need to research the life cycle of a plastic water bottle? No need to go to the library. Just get on your computer for five minutes and you'll learn that a water bottle takes an average of 500 years to biodegrade.

There's no need to wait in line at the bank anymore, either. Online banking has become commonplace. Paying bills no longer requires a stamp or a week to process – you just pay it online.

With such significant strides in technological innovation, it's ironic the industry that powers them all has not kept pace. In fact, our current electricity system has not changed in over 50 years.

That's where smart meters and a smarter grid come in. Smart meters will simplify and speed up communication with BC Hydro, and that means better serving your needs as a customer. That's just the kind of convenience customers are looking for.

A little help from our friends

If you're moving to a new home or shifting the location of your business, smart meters will mean accurate and fast account transfers, thanks to automated meter readings.

On those rare occasions when you need to contact BC Hydro customer service, smart meters mean that customer service representatives will have the right kind of information to answer your questions.

Remote access

BC Hydro will have remote access to smart meters, increasing privacy and convenience and reducing the need for onsite visits.

Rapid response to blackouts

Perhaps the best customer service advantage of smart meters, though, is that BC Hydro won't have to rely on you to notify them when there's a power outage.

Because the meters are all connected and communicating with BC Hydro's main system, the system itself will be able to identify not only when there's been an interruption in the flow of electricity, but exactly where it has occurred.

So repairs can be made more safely and quickly – no technicians will have to traverse the dark, rainy countryside, looking for a downed power line.

"Advances in technology like smart meters are key to enhancing the customer service experience," says Jim Nicholson, Director of Customer Care for BC Hydro. "BC Hydro's new smart meters provide a level of technology that will facilitate improvements in a number of areas that will allow us to communicate with our customers in new and more meaningful ways."

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