BC Hydro ended 2012 having failed to complete the installation of 1.87 million smart meters as required by the B.C. government, and the NDP is now calling on the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to step in and allow alternatives for residents who don't want the meters installed.
BC Hydro was required under the Clean Energy Act to have all 1.87 million smart meters installed by the end of 2012, but fell short by 140,000 due to shortages of qualified installers and resistance from residential customers who don't want the meters.
Most of the resistance comes from people worried about health risks associated with the radiofrequency radiation from smart meters, despite research that demonstrates the radiation from smart meters is far below that emitted by cell phones and microwave ovens.
The B.C. government has granted BC Hydro a one-year extension in order to have the remaining 140,000 smart meters installed. They must now be installed by December 31, 2013.
But the NDP is calling on the B.C. government to bring the BCUC in to help address concerns of homeowners who don't want the meters installed.
"There are a huge number of people across the province who are uncomfortable with this technology," said NDP energy critic John Horgan.
"The Liberals are clearly not up to the challenges facing British Columbians, so it's time to get some help. I'd like to see the BC Utilities Commission invited back to the table to help explore what options are out there to satisfy concerned consumers that want another choice."