Without power by choice

A handful of FortisBC customers have chosen to be without power after refusing to select the type of smart meter they wish installed at their home.

Utility spokesman David Wylie said a few customers in Trail and a few more in Kelowna had their power cut off after ignoring repeated requests to choose either a Standard Advance Meter or an advance meter with the wireless signal disabled.

"They are customers we have been working with for more than six months to try and address their concerns regarding having their electricity meter exchanged," said Wylie.

"Despite our on-going attempts we have had to disconnect a few who have continually refused to make that selection."

Wylie said several customers have contacted Fortis and made a decision once push came to shove and power was cut off.

"We did have a few customers who were disconnected after they continued to refuse the meter exchange or weren't home at the time of our last visit. The majority of customers in those cases have since called us to have their meter exchanged and their power restored."

The cost of reconnection will run the customer between $100 and $339.

"It's important for customers who haven't made a decision to contact us at 1-866-436-7847."

Wylie said more than 100,000 customers have already switched over to the new meters. The switch is substantially complete in Kelowna, the South Okanagan, Boundary, Similkameen and Trail areas.

Parts of the Kootenays still have to be completed.

Wylie added the upgrade is for all customers. There is no option to keep the old meters.

That was a decision approved by the BC Utilities Commission. Customers who have concerns about the wireless connection can choose the radio off meter.

"We want to remind our customers that obstructing an electricity meter with any device that is intended to prevent access or sending us a letter indicating you don't want an advance meter isn't going to prevent having to make a choice about which type of meter you select," said Wylie.

"We recognize some of the actions taken by our customers are costing them money and we want to be clear that we've met all of our legal and regulatory requirements."


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