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Controversial smart meter issue heats up

BC Hydro’s confirmation it is not going to install smart meters without the permission of residents could give ammunition to an effort to derail FortisBC’s intent to install the technology on West Kootenay homes, says a Trail smart meter opponent.

Roger Catalano said FortisBC’s application before the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) could be compromised by BC Hydro spokesman Greg Alexis’ admission the company “will not install a new meter for these customers unless we have their permission.”

“We are going to use it, no question,” he said about mounting an opposition to smart meter installations should the application be successful.

And how that opposition will play out could be strategized this Saturday (2-4 p.m.) at the Royal Canadian Legion as one of the premier advocates against the installation of smart meters will be speaking.

Jerry Flynn, a former captain in the Communications Electronics Engineering Branch of the Royal Canadian Navy, has marked Trail for an anti-smart meter presentation.

BC Hydro said Wednesday it has already installed 95 per cent of the smart meters, and it is going to take some extra time to work with the remaining 85,000 customers who have refused the new meters.

According to a CBC story, the delay means no smart meter will be forced upon people before the upcoming provincial election in May.

But it was not specified what BC Hydro’s long term plan for the hold-outs would be.

A provincial mandate from BC Hydro to affix smart meters to the sides of West Kootenay homes is still being aired by the BCUC.

FortisBC has filed an application to bring the technology into 115,000 West Kootenay and Okanagan homes July 26.

The project has an estimated capital cost of approximately $47.7 million and is expected to commence in late 2013 and be completed by 2015.

FortisBC has requested the deadline for the approval of the application be July 20, 2013.

A timetable for the review of the FortisBC application can be found at www.bcuc.com.

Opposition NDP party leader John Horgan is reiterated an NDP promise to ask to take the smart meter program to the BCUC for analysis if the party wins the May provincial election, something the Liberals have refused to do, according to the CBC.

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