Renters charged fee after manager opted out of smart meters

Vancouver residents were billed an opt-out fee even though they approved smart meter. (FILE...

Vancouver residents were billed an opt-out fee even though they approved smart meter. (FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)

Jeremy Nuttall, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:07 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- Residents of a west-end apartment building say B.C. Hydro is harassing them for payment after their building manager refused to allow smart meters to be installed.

Each of the tenants was charged $65 for opting out of the smart meter program -- even those who didn't want to opt out.

Anne Atwood is a senior on a fixed income and said she told B.C. Hydro they could install the smart meter, but the building manager wouldn't let them.

She's been trying to get B.C. Hydro to stop pursuing her for the money, and wants to know why the power authority was allowed to bill renters for the new meters.

"During the initial phone calls they were very rude," Atwood said. "It felt like they were reading a script...they were not really sympathetic."

B.C. NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert has penned a letter to be sent to the utility Monday over the matter.

Chandra Herbert has been advocating on behalf of the residents and said many fear the outstanding charges will affect their credit rating. He said B.C. Hydro said it would not attempt to collect the fee or show it as a balance owing.

"It distresses me to report to you that B.C. Hydro has not followed through on these promises," reads the letter.

In a statement to QMI Agency, B.C.Hydro insisted it is doing everything it can to help the residents, calling it a "difficult situation."

"Once the meters have been installed, B.C. Hydro will review each customer's situation to ensure the fee was applied fairly," the statement said. "Failed Installation Fees can be reversed for a number of reasons -- including if the customer did not know a third party had blocked access."

According to the statement, the company has taken steps to protect the credit rating of the affected customers, but Atwood said that hasn't helped her stress levels and the charge never should have been on the bill in the first place.

jeremy.nuttall@sunmedia.ca


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