Landlords divided over Hydro smart meters

A landlord in B.C. is facing a hefty lawsuit from B.C. Hydro for denying its attempt to install smart meters despite tenants allegedly requesting them for their units in two Vancouver buildings.

B.C. Hydro says there are 114 accounts at the two properties and 67 of them registered to have smart meters installed in two buildings owned by a company called Puppy Holdings, according to court documents.

In addition, 29 accounts are vacant or new, B.C. Hydro said, and those must have smart meters installed. B.C. Hydro filed legal action against the owner of the two properties.

B.C. Hydro tried twice to install the meters at the properties, but were denied access by the property manager, Miro Jackanin, who shooed officials in their first attempt to install the smart meters.

The public utility company also alleges that during the second attempt, a vehicle was parked in front of the meter room, preventing access by staff, and Jackanin allegedly refused to budge even when police were called.

The case highlights a hot-button issue for landlords when it comes to smart meters and how it affects energy costs, as well as the health risks smart meters impose.

Some landlords have also publicly been opposed to the smart meters because many believe they don’t save money or power, as advertised, among other issues. In July 2013, following significant opposition by customers, the provincial government directed B.C. Hydro to provide an opt-out program (with associated charges), available only to those customers who did not already have a smart meter.

The B.C. Utilities Commission allowed for some to keep their analog meters on the condition that they pay a monthly operating fee of $32.40. That follows an order from former B.C. premier, Bill Bennett.

David Hutniak, CEO of Landlord BC, told CREW, “It’s a unique case and something else must be going on there, but in general embracing technology is a good thing that we encourage and have never really had an issue with.”

That may be true, but not everyone feels it’s a non-issue. Most recently, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen called for a complete stop to the installation of smart meters because of a science report that said the technology poses a health risk due to electric signals.

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  • by Gina McLean 2015-06-18 2:18:44 PM

    I find this quite interesting as I have often wondered about the accuracy of our "smart meter".

    We have a townhouse is Invermere, B.C. that is vacant quite often, especially in the winter.
    Our usage fluctuates when we're not there with the thermostat set at 15.

    Any time I have called B.C. Hydro they tell me I have to prove that the reading is wrong?!
    It's vacant! The usage shouldn't change much at all!
    It would have to be quite cold outside to get the inside temp "back up" to 15C I would think?

    We have the same bills as our neighbours that live there?!

    If anyone else has some insight in to this I would love to hear from you!


    Gina McLean

  • by JMaxwell 2015-06-18 2:20:47 PM

    Gina, email me.

  • by 2015-06-25 8:56:16 PM

    Santa Cruz County, CA Board of Supervisors directed its public health officer to prepare an analysis of the research on the health effects of Smart Meters in December 2011. Poki Stewart Namkung, M.D. M.P.H., prepared this report: Health Risks Associated With SmartMeters which recognizes:

    Smart Meters transmit pulsed radiation (RF) 24/7
    There are evidence-based health risks of RF
    RF exposure can be cumulative and additive
    The massive increase in RF public exposures since the mid-1990’s
    The controversy between independent and industry science, including lack of funding for independent research
    Evidence to support an Electrical Sensitivity (EHS) diagnosis
    The public health issue is that Smart Meters are involuntary RF exposures
    FCC thermal guidelines are irrelevant for non-thermal public exposures.
    The lack of relevant safety standards for chronic pulsed RF
    The report summary calls for more government vigilance towards involuntary RF public exposures because, “…governmental agencies are the only defense against such involuntary exposure.”

    The report also provides examples of strategies to reduce RF including minimize cell and cordless phone use, use speakerphone when possible, use wired internet connections, avoid setting a laptop on your lap, and more.

    Excerpts: “The public health issue of concern in regard to SmartMeters is the involuntary exposure of individuals and households to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation.”

    “There are numerous situations in which the distance between the SmartMeters and humans is less than three feet on an ongoing basis, e.g. a SmartMeter mounted on the external wall to a bedroom with the bed placed adjacent to that mounting next to the internal wall. ”

    “…SmartMeters emit frequencies almost continuously, day and night, seven days a week.”

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