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Utilities commission approves $35 monthly fee for homes without smart meters

It looks like SaskPower ratepayers will not be on the hook for the cost of replacing 105,000 defective smart meters.
It looks like SaskPower ratepayers will not be on the hook for the cost of replacing 105,000 defective smart meters. File / Global News

Hydro customers who don’t want smart meters installed on their property will be subject to a $35 monthly fee beginning December 2.

The B.C. Utilities Commission gave their ruling today, approving on an interim basis the application made by BC Hydro earlier this year.

Under the ruling, customers can also have an installed smart meter disabled for $100 – but will still be charged an additional $20 a month.

Hydro says the monthly fees are necessary to offset the cost of manually reading meters for customers who don’t want smart meters, which wirelessly transmit power usage directly to Hydro.

“These fees really ensure that the vast majority of customers who have accepted a smart meter aren’t subsidizing the choice of a very small number of customer who have not,” says BC Hydro spokesperson Mora Scott.

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Sharon Noble of the Coalition to Stop Smart Meters say they will continue the fight against the devices. A class action lawsuit against Hydro is before the courts, and tens of thousands of people have refused to install the meters.

“We don’t need meter readers,” she says.

“This is a draconian attempt to force people into taking something they don’t want in their homes.”