2014-07-20 The BCUC is not able to stop BC Hydro from acting illegally, for example, by discriminating against us

1)   In the UK, the National Audit Office questioning the plan to install smart meters in every home.

Here are some of their concerns:

  • Why have over 5 countries in Europe have determined that the smart meter program would cost more than it saves;
  • How can one believe that utility bills will indeed come down with smart meters, year after year?
  • Smart meters don’t work well in rural areas, basements, high rise buildings, and what is the solution?
  • How do the Utilities and Government plan to handle massive cyber-attacks on the distribution grid?
  • How is data privacy protected?
  • How do the Utilities plan to handle physical security?

This is an excellent article identifying many of the major issues that we are fighting, with the government attempting to do due diligence – unlike our government.


2)  BCUC has no control over what BC HYDRO is doing even if it is illegal

Below is the response I received from BCUC to my complaint that BC Hydro is discriminating against those with “legacy” meters. BCUC is consistently forced to say they have no control over the illegal acts of Hydro, whether it is safety or discrimination. This government is saying the laws do not apply to BC Hydro’s Smart meter program, or, potentially, to anything the government wishes to do. Government by Directive is not democracy.

3)  Please sign the Charter of Brussels

A week or so I gave a link to an important international petition and asked you to consider signing and sending to your contacts. It is now available on our CST site.


4)   Debunking smart meter myths.

An interesting youtube made by some people in Kelowna,

Debunking Smart Meters – Benefits by Darin Howard – YouTube – July 13, 2014:
– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy8eX9_WpDU

(video 15:00) [BC Hydro – FortisBC]


5)  Smart Meters – a big waste of money

Port Angeles is calling a halt to their Smart meter program – a big waste of money. If only our politicians would stop the flow from our pockets…..

Port Angeles City Council aims to end ‘smart’ meter project contract by Jeremy Schwartz – Peninsula Daily News – June 05, 2014:
– http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140605/news/306059990/port-angeles-city-council-aims-to-end-8216-smart-8217-meter





From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: July 19, 2014 10:39 PM
To: ‘Complaints BCUC:EX’
Cc: ‘Commission Secretary BCUC:EX’; ‘maurine.karagianis.mla@leg.bc.ca’; John Horgan. Leader NDP; CKNW Mike Smyth (msmyth@theprovince.com); Bill Bennett (mem.minister@gov.bc.ca); Christy Clark (premier@gov.bc.ca); ‘good@cknw.com’
Subject: RE: BC Hydro’s discriminatory practices


Dear Mr. Wruck,

I appreciate receiving a response, but I must admit to great frustration that the government, via Directive 4, is allowing laws and regulations to be ignored. Laws, such as the Utilities Commission Act, were written for the benefit of the public, to protect it from the over-reaching, potentially dangerous acts of a government agency, such as BC Hydro or of the government itself.

BC Hydro is discriminating against its customers, in violation of the UCA. This cannot be argued. Just because Directive 4 says that BCUC cannot take action does not mean the discrimination is not occurring. There can be no justification for charging one set of customers additional fees for the very same service another set of customers is getting for no additional fees.

This is unconscionable.

I realize the BCUC has had its hands tied, with all power taken away. This has become a government by directive. A very sad thing for democracy in British Columbia.

Signed:  Sharon Noble


From: Complaints BCUC:EX [mailto:Complaints@bcuc.com]
Sent: July 15, 2014 8:32 AM
To: ‘Dennis and Sharon Noble’
Cc: Commission Secretary BCUC:EX
Subject: RE: BC Hydro’s discriminatory practices

Dear Ms. Noble,

Thank you for your email to the BC Utilities Commission regarding your concern about the charges related to the Meter Choices Program.  In your email you express concern because you believe that the rate is discriminatory and in violation of section 59 of the Utilities Commission Act (UCA).


The Commission’s review of BC Hydro’s application for the charges related to the Meter Choices Program was limited by Order in Council No. 391, Direction No. 4 from the Lieutenant Governor in Council.  Direction No. 4 required the Commission to set rates that allow BC Hydro to recover, among other things, program costs, investigation costs, and infrastructure costs.

This Direction is available at: http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/SpecialDirections/2013/OIC-391-SD4-BCHSMI-Options.pdf

As stated in the Commission’s Decision, “…Direction No. 4 was issued under section 3 of the UCA.  Therefore, by virtue of section 3(1) and 3(2) of the UCA, the provisions of Direction No. 4 take precedence over all provisions of the UCA relating to the matters to which Direction No. 4 applies.”  (page 11).


For more information, the Utilities Commission Act can be viewed online at the following link:  http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96473_01

The Commission Panel issued its Decision and Reasons regarding the BC Hydro Application for Approval of Charges Related to the Meter Choices Program on April 25, 2014.

For additional information, you can review the Commission’s Decision on our website at: http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Decisions/2014/DOC_41269_04-25-2014_BCH%20Meter%20Choices_Decision_G-59-14_WEB.pdf


As the Commission has reviewed and approved the charges related to the Meter Choices Program in accordance with Direction No. 4 and the Utilities Commission Act, we will not be investigating your complaint.  Thank you for contacting the Commission.


Patrick Wruck
Customer Service Specialist
British Columbia Utilities Commission
6th Floor, 900 Howe Street, Box 250
Vancouver, B.C.  V6Z 2N3
Website: www.bcuc.com
Phone: 604.660.4700 | Fax: 604.660.1102 | Toll Free: 1.800.663.1385


From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: Monday, July 7, 2014 11:00 PM
To: Commission Secretary BCUC:EX; Wruck, Patrick BCUC:EX
Cc: Horgan.MLA, John LASS:EX; Minister, MEM MEM:EX; Weaver.MLA, Andrew LASS:EX; Farnworth.MLA, Mike LASS:EX
Subject: BC Hydro’s discriminatory practices


Dear Ms. Hamilton and Mr. Wruck,

Please accept this as an official complaint about BC Hydro’s discriminatory practice of charging some customers different rates than it does others. This is clearly in contravention of the BC Utilities Commission Act, section 59.

Discrimination in rates

59  (1) A public utility must not make, demand or receive

(a) an unjust, unreasonable, unduly discriminatory or unduly preferential rate for a service provided by it in British Columbia, or

(b) a rate that otherwise contravenes this Act, the regulations, orders of the commission or any other law.

(2) A public utility must not

(a) as to rate or service, subject any person or locality, or a particular description of traffic, to an undue prejudice or disadvantage, or

(b) extend to any person a form of agreement, a rule or a facility or privilege, unless the agreement, rule, facility or privilege is regularly and uniformly extended to all persons under substantially similar circumstances and conditions for service of the same description.


The basis for this charge is that BC Hydro is charging some customers who are having meters read manually a monthly fee while it is reading other customers’ meters and not charging them a fee. This is discriminatory, offering those with smart meters a service without additional charges while assessing their neighbours who do not have a smart meter, a substantial monthly fee. There is no difference in the service  to justify these additional cost other than the type of meter. In fact, in its testimony in support of the legacy fees, BC Hydro said that it takes longer to read a smart meter than it does to read an analog.

Until every smart meter in the province is attached to the grid and is being read remotely, then no one who must have the meter read manually should be treated any differently – no one should be charged for a service that is already included in our rates.

BC Hydro acknowledges that the BCUC has the duty and responsibility to ensure that BC Hydro treats its customers fairly and equitably:

 “BC Hydro is regulated by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC). Under the Utilities Commission Act, the BCUC is responsible for ensuring that customers receive safe, reliable and non-discriminatory energy services” 



I ask the Commission to do its duty and tell BC Hydro to cease charging legacy fees until all smart meters are connected to the grid and none are being read manually. All fees that have been collected to date must be refunded.

Yours truly,

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

“We will never have a perfect world, but it’s not romantic or naïve to work toward a better one.”
(Steven Pinker (b. 1954), Award-winning, Canadian-born U.S. Intellectual and Scientist (Cognitive Psychology))


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