BC Hydro denies installing smart meters

New BC Hydro meters being installed in the Parksville area are digital meters, not the controversial smart meters, according to the company.

This BC Hydro meter in downtown Parksville is not a smart meter

New BC Hydro meters being installed in the Parksville area are digital meters, not the controversial smart meters, according to the company.

While the debate over so-called smart, or wireless metres continues to heat up, BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynyk said there are none in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area and they will not be installed here until after March 2012.

During a debate for the NDP nomination for Parksville-Qualicum, candidate Leanne Salter said they were currently installing the smart metres in Parksville.

Olynyk contacted The News at that time to correct that  impression and stress that the metres are not here yet.

After Olynyk’s statement, The News received a number of phone calls and e-mails from Parksville residents who said that was not true, and that they already have a smart meter installed on their home.

However, upon closer inspection they turned out to be digital meters, which are different from the coming smart meters, Olynyk insists.

“We continue to switch out 45,000 old rotary meters with digital meters in B.C. every year,” he said, explaining they have ongoing contracts with trained people “following a committed plan,” and that the new smart meter plan doesn’t interrupt their ongoing maintenance and upkeep.

He said the new digital meters will continue to be installed as originally planned and then taken out next spring and replaced with the smart meters.

He said customers will be notified of the smart meter installation on their properties three or four week ahead of time.

The smart meters will have the “Itron OpenWay” name clearly visible, he said.

People are encouraged to contact BC Hydro at 1-800-224-9376 with concerns or questions about the meter program.

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