B.C. Hydro is getting close to the end of its installation of 1.7 million wireless electricity meters, but the “smart grid” won’t be functional until next spring.
Until then, meters will still be read manually or consumption estimated for billing purposes. And for one more winter storm season, people will still have to call B.C. Hydro to report a power outage, before the grid begins automatic metering and reporting of electrical failures.
Cindy Verschoor, B.C. Hydro’s communications manager for the smart meter program, said about four per cent of the meter installations remain to be done, mainly on the Gulf Islands. Some of the old meters remain in locations around the province, either because they are inaccessible or because owners have refused new ones.
Manual meter readings will be checked against automatic readings during the testing phase, to verify accuracy. Verschoor said there have been six meters replaced due to inaccurate readings or other defects, but generally the new meters are more accurate, and they eliminate human errors in reading or entering data required for mechanical meters.
Verschoor said only two customers out of more than one million have opted to have the meter located away from their home.
Those who refuse for whatever reason have their installation placed “on hold” while their concerns are addressed by B.C. Hydro.