Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charlie01 » Aug 16th, 2012, 6:28 pm

Hi;

I'm new here. Be kind. Actually have read for a while and enjoy a lot of the posters perspectives.

So, this thread was dying it's own natural death as it appears the population loses any option it hoped to have over smart meters. As I bring it back to life, my opening comment about my smart meter isn't going to make some people very happy. You see, I like my smart meter; it's accurate...... I think. I actually do share some of the various concerns people have about the whole purpose of use of the things, but that is secondary in my personal list of concerns with BC Hydro.

For longer than a decade, I had good reason to believe that my old analog meter was inaccurate. I've lived in my current residence for almost 20 years and about 12 or 13 years ago my Hydro bills would from time to time seem out of line compared to year over year historical usage from the same billing cycles. Initially I just mentioned it to Hydro customer service. When nearly a full year was way over anything that made sense, I complained, more queried really, wondering about the possibility of power theft. I got "the best" of Hydro's typical customer service - meters are never inaccurate, if they are, they never "speed up", only slow down. If I had a power theft situation I was stupid to not be able to see it. I must have a new source of draw and on and on. I asked about having the meter tested and was told to find the problem myself. Hire an electrician if I couldn't figure out what to shut off and that kind of thing. I did hire an electrician and he also wasn't able to find anything that was causing excessive load. He noted the meter was very old and felt it could be the problem. He reported his findings and nothing happened - ever. In spite of me making numerous complaints over the years. Always the same patronization and refusal to test the meter. Funny thing is, that meter I felt was defective did eventually stop completely. For 10 months. Hydro never said boo about that. They never swapped the meter out or ever tested it. They did eventaully get the thing spinning again, I guess at a rate they liked and carried on harassing the daylights out of me for some very ridiculous bills. Frankly made life terrible for me a few times.

So, on April 25th a smart meter was installed here. Almost right away I could see the thing was proving me right. I put in a huge amount of research and documentation into my own, specific usage history. Graph, spreadsheet, the works. For many years during at least the mid-May to mid-July billing cycle, my bills have been as much as 92% higher than this past year. The current cycle is showing the same trend. It also appears the more real power I was using, the higher the amount of phantom power the old meter would accrue. I factored in things like new appliances and anything at all that would cause change in either direction of my consumption going back as far as 1999. Then I supplied all that to BC Hydro and asked them to refund me. They caused a lot of damage to me and my property over the course of time and I asked for consideration of those damages and losses. I Cc'ed the package to the BC Utilities Commission, Rich Coleman's ministry, my own MLA, Christy's office, Measure Canada, the Ombudperson's office, offices of both the other two political parties who will have some meaning in the next election. I did that almost 2 months ago. Know what I've had for a response from Hydro so far? Nothing. The Ombudsperson's office recommended I contact Hydro's "Customer Advocacy Team" (they work for Hydro) if I wasn't getting anywhere. From them, in reply to my numerous calls asking what the progress on my account is (they don't answer their phone, you must leave messages), to date the sum total of response has been one message on my answering machine saying they would look into it.

I am aware of one other person who is seeing a similar trend with their usage dropping considerably since installation of a new meter.

Anybody else have any sort of similar experience or any suggestions about how to light a fire under Hydro's butt?
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby grammafreddy » Aug 16th, 2012, 7:26 pm

Sounds like something the media would like to sink their teeth into. Have you tried that?
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Bsuds » Aug 16th, 2012, 8:01 pm

Talk to a Lawyer? Sounds like a possible class action law suit if there are enough customers with the same problems.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charlie01 » Aug 17th, 2012, 6:11 am

Thanks for your thoughts folks.

GF - After sending BC Hydro the documentation package, I felt it was reasonable to give Hydro a period of time to verify what I provided and basically pay their bill with me. Kind of the same idea as they give their bill paying customers. When that time frame became overdue, I did contact the editors of two large BC Papers and even Castanet online. I provided a summary much like what I posted although there are even more event details that make a person shake their head. I don't know if it's a lack of interest in these kind of things about Hydro, in light of all the other problems that corporation has, or just what, but no real teeth sinking so far.

I haven't made a daily crusade out of trying to get it into the media mostly due to lack of time and I may just need to find time.

Bsuds - I haven't spoken with a lawyer yet. My thinking has been that this shouldn't be too hard for Hydro to see the benefit of dealing with rather than ignoring. Apparently I was wrong. I only know of one other person so far who has put the effort into verify that year over year, billing cycle compared to same billing cycle - yup, old bills from the analog meter were out of whack. I'm in a rural area in the North Ok and I suspect my situation isn't isolated by any stretch. I don't have the $'s to talk seriously to a lawyer for just my own situation. I'm a widow and a single mom and I wasn't left with buckets of money. I also keep the ends together making a living with a small farm, not to mention paying my Hydro bills has helped keep me broke! I would need to look at class action, so it's a matter of finding the others necessary to create a class action.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby twobits » Aug 17th, 2012, 7:32 am

Sorry to have to break the bad news to ya but it is too late for you to fight this. The evidence is gone, your old analog meter. Without the ability to test it independantly, you have no way to prove your case. What is puzzling to me is that you mention sending your info off to a number of places including Measurment Canada. I am surprised you did not at least get a response from them telling you that there was nothing they could do about it now, but had you made an application with them when you first suspected your analog meter was reading incorrectly, they would have removed the meter and bench tested it for accuray. It is called the "disputed meter program" and applies to natural gas meters as well. You pay a $25 fee and the meter is removed and tested by Measurment Canada personel, not Hydro. If the meter is reading higher than a 2% error, your $25 fee is refunded and the overcharged amount is calculated based on the percent error of the device and your consumption for the previous 12 months. You are then refunded that amount. The caveat however is that it is a double edged sword. If the meter is in fact reading slower than it should, you lose the $25 and the utility has the right to back charge you 12 months worth of unpaid consumption so you want to be fairly certain the meter is reading too fast or you could get bitten in the tooshie.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charlie01 » Aug 17th, 2012, 4:25 pm

Thanks for the info Twobits. Actually in regard to non-reply, it's Hydro I refer to as having heard nothing from.

In just turning circumstances over in my mind, I would think that Hydro would have an obligation to disclose avenues of remedy when faced with a customer who is saying something is not right and bills varying far from historic usage to support that statement. At very least, when a customer has a decade of history telling Hydro "Hey guys, this isn't right", usage history so all over the map it creates a graph that looks like a healthy person having a heart attack including 10 months of flatlining and a miracle resurrection; for Hydro to not hang onto that meter just doesn't seem very prudent. More so, destroying the meter might look plain bad, circumstances considered. Even worse when Hydro's own website states they handle these anomalies this way :

"If a bill cannot be explained by referring to past use, our customer service agents will check to see if there could have been a human imputting error during the meter reading – right now we are reading meters manually and sometimes a mistake can be made when entering the number. The agents will also check if there was a bill estimating error, which can sometimes be the case for people on Equal Payment Plans.
If we can’t identify the source by checking billing information, we will work with the customer to explore other possibilities like the addition of new major appliances or home renovations. Whether the meter is an older analog meter or a newer smart meter, if there is a possibility that the meter might be a source of the problem, we will pull that meter for testing and check the customer's bill for any anomalis"

This sure wasn't the case with me. To give you an idea of how out of whack my bills have been, from April 25th to now I still have not clocked as many kW.hs of usage as I was being billed for from mid-May to mid-July (generally 62 days) in recent past years. I found other information that states when a meter is pulled to be tested, a temporary replacement is installed. Meters are identified by ID numbers. I can not find a single bill that shows a reading from any other meter until the smart meter was installed.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby madadam » Aug 21st, 2012, 1:46 pm

So about 3 weeks ago Hydro contacted my parents by phone to tell them a summer cabin they have will be getting the meters switched over, after a very pleasant conversation with the person we were told that for now they would be put on the no list. At the same time they also asked to have their main house in Lake Country also put down on the no list, which the person said it has now been added.

Now this morning we get a knock on the door, guy is letting us know that power will be going off so they can switch the meters and if you have a computer on you should turn it off, etc. and he goes off towards the meter. So my Mom goes out and says I know we are on the no list, have you checked about this? He says nope you are not, she replays the conversation she had with hydro over the phone, he goes to the truck, comes back and says sorry about that, you are on the list. So we ask him if we were not home and being on the no list they switched the meters would they have to switch us back or what would they do about this. Never did get a clear answer out of him between his umms and awws, finally he apologized for the inconvenience and drove off.

Now if someone hadn't been home we would have come back to the meter switch, so if you are on the no list, better make sure you or someone else is home when they are in your area doing the switch out.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby NAB » Aug 24th, 2012, 4:14 pm

No complaints here so far.... Over 10% reduction in metered usage compared to same periods last year.

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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Al Czervic » Aug 25th, 2012, 7:45 am

NAB wrote:No complaints here so far.... Over 10% reduction in metered usage compared to same periods last year.

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Is that with a smart meter Nab ?????
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby NAB » Aug 25th, 2012, 9:15 am

As noted on the graph Al, my smart meter was installed April 27th this year. The graph shows the daily consumption as measured by my old analog meter per 24 hours for a period before that (back to about the beginning of March) and since to date. On average I am going through 10 - 15 KWh's per day with the average on my last two month bill 11 KWh's per day.

Edit: Everything I run is electric, including hot water. No space heating is involved during that period however.

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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby 5VP » Aug 25th, 2012, 11:49 am

I've been on an alternate power source (solar, microhydro, wind) for about 10 years now. My Bosch on-demand hot water heater runs on propane.

My average daily use of power amounts to about 3-4 KwH/day and the system more than adequately produces enough power to cover that and still store extra electricity in batteries for the evenings and rainy days.

One gets very power smart when living off-grid. I don't have the extra power requirement issues that urban folks seem to think are necessary to normal living.

Power users in the Okanagan are losing out on a prime opportunity to reduce their power costs simply by not demanding that a solar grid-intertie system to be installed throughout the region but alas; we've been duped into thinking that BC Hydro is our best and only power source buddy...

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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Glacier » Aug 25th, 2012, 1:05 pm

There are lots of grid tie systems in the Okanagan. Just sayin'.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby NAB » Aug 25th, 2012, 7:26 pm

5VP wrote:One gets very power smart when living off-grid. I don't have the extra power requirement issues that urban folks seem to think are necessary to normal living.


IMO that's the crux of it when living "on grid" as well. It's there, so we use it without giving much thought to what we are doing. Still, I culd never justify the investments required to go fully off-grid. The payback just isn't there.

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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charles Whitman II » Aug 30th, 2012, 6:48 pm

Charlie 01 is a disinformation agent......
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charlie01 » Aug 30th, 2012, 9:34 pm

So Charles, are you able to put a little meaning to that comment or are you just out trolling to see what you can drag in?
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