An Errington resident who has ripped a Smart Meter off his house claims he’s been “degraded” by BC Hydro.
Michael Meszaros contacted The NEWS last week, claiming BC Hydro disconnected his power without any explanation Wednesday.
“I wasn’t given notice that my power was going to be terminated until they were there cutting the line,” Meszaros said in an e-mail.
“I had talked to a supervisor at BC Hydro and he assured me that there were no problems with my account or threat of termination of the utility service and then a couple days later BC Hydro came to my property and cut my power line.”
But BC Hydro manager of community relations Ted Olynyk said “this isn’t a billing issue.”
Olynyk confirmed power was cut off from Meszaros’ residence along Elmdowne Road. Olynyk said it was because “he took his (smart) meter off and mailed it to us (BC Hydro) and put on another meter.”
Olynyk expressed irritation about what he called “tampering with BC Hydro equipment,” and he said he believed Meszaros’ actions are illegal. Moreover, Olynyk alleges the company had been in contact with the customer and gave him “several notifications in writing and by phone” prior to cutting off his power supply.
“It’s a bit disingenuous (for Meszaros) to say ‘I’m surprised Hydro did that,'” Olynyk said. “You can’t just go buy a meter — it has to be approved by Measurement Canada.”
Olynyk said this incident would be akin to “bringing your own scale to a grocery store or bringing your own gas pump to a gas station … you just don’t do it.”
He said the accuracy of the individual’s meter is unknown and replacing BC Hydro’s meter could lead to safety issues if it’s not wired properly.
“I can’t emphasize enough the safety that was compromised,” said Olynyk. “In essence (Meszaros) is tampering with the grid, putting himself at risk and unnecessarily putting neighbours and first responders at risk.”
BC Hydro started introducing smart meters in the summer of 2011 and spokesperson Greg Alexis said 99 per cent of customers are now on the smart meter system. According to BC Hydro’s website, smart meters measure and record the amount of electricity used at your home on an hourly basis and form a two-way communication system with the company. Smart meters send a customer’s electricity use information to BC Hydro three times per day.
Regional District of Nanaimo director Julian Fell, who represents the area, said Errington is “one of the strongest areas in opposition to smart meters.”
Fell, who has historically been vocally against BC Hydro’s smart meter program, said Meszaros is “perfectly legitimate in opposing smart meters.”
He said “I don’t like the idea of people having the intimate ability of tracking what you are doing at your house.”