Ontario hydro users smartening up

Russell Irwin, 91, has been fighting Hydro One over the installation of a smart meter at his...

Russell Irwin, 91, has been fighting Hydro One over the installation of a smart meter at his Orangeville farm. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

Simon Kent, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

TORONTO – Angry and profoundly misled.

That about sums up the feelings of increasing numbers of Hydro One customers in Ontario who are finding out more about their newly installed smart meters.

Sold by the politicians as a means of itemizing the domestic or business power bill, users now realize they are capable of much more than that.

The provincewide program to replace relatively simple and inexpensive residential electric meters with a hi-tech version started in 2005. Critics maintain it is a potential cash cow for utilities and meter companies that takes yet another bite from ratepayers and, some say, raises health concerns.

Frank Clegg says enough is enough. He is the CEO of lobby group Canadians For Safe Technology (C4ST) and wants Ontario to follow the lead of B.C. in giving consumers a choice to opt out of smart meters.

Clegg has followed the fortunes of Russell Irwin in his battle and agrees that the wireless grid that will be built on smart meters is increasingly understood as an over engineered, ill-advised, financial boondoggle that comes fully-funded by taxpayer wallets.

"The people of B.C. saw that and lobbied government to back down on the mandatory rollout," Clegg said. "They didn't want the information gathered by smart meters to be taken and shared without consent.

"They also wanted the option to say 'No.' They knew as long as the analogue meters were working they should be left alone. Those who already (have) wireless-enabled smart meters wanted the option to have that component disabled.

"They won on all counts."


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