City wants to be the first to use new hydro meters

Campbell River wants to be the first community to use BC Hydro’s newest invention to measure electricity use in all community homes and buildings.

The smart meter is a brand-new product BC Hydro intends to install across the province starting this summer and city council would like Campbell River to be the first community to use the new device.

Smart meters are digital meters that record the amount of power that is consumed and when to allow customers to pinpoint at what time of the day they are consuming the most and effectively cut down on their usage.

“It allows BC Hydro to implement incentive programs to encourage people to alter their energy consumption at different times of the day and during peak periods,” said Coun. Andy Adams who made a motion to ask that council send a letter to BC Hydro within two weeks asking to be a pilot community for smart meters.

BC Hydro says smart meters will also benefit customers in the event of a power outage since they enable two-way communication between a customer’s meter and BC Hydro. According to the company’s website, it is not aware of any outages until customers call to report them. Smart meters will change that.

They are programmed to automatically determine why the power has gone out and report problems to BC Hydro, in order to get the lights back on faster.

Smart meters will not increase costs to customers but instead will deliver $520 million in benefits over the next 20 years. Those benefits mean lower rates for customers, reducing them from what they would be if BC Hydro did not invest in the program, says a BC Hydro report on smart meters.

The instrument is also supposed to reduce electricity theft that amounts to approximately $100 million a year in lost revenue.

The smart meter will replace all 1.8 million residential and commercial customers’ existing meters.