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Cowichan smart-meter installation rates near the provincial level

Olivia Waugh, 10, gets the attention of motorist during a Smart Meter protest near the Forest Discovery Centre on Saturday April 21. - Andrew Leong/file
Olivia Waugh, 10, gets the attention of motorist during a Smart Meter protest near the Forest Discovery Centre on Saturday April 21.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

Smart-meter installation rates in Cowichan almost matches the success level across the province.

BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk said 27,416 of the controversial meters have been installed on Duncan and Cowichan homes and businesses since early 2012.

"That's about 87% of valley users. That's compared to over 93% across the province.

"The other 13% of those (in Cowichan) that don't have a new meter also includes commercial installations, customers we couldn't access the first time we came to install, and people who've asked us to delay installation."

Some local folks fear claims of radiation emitted from the meters — being installed by Corix for the Crown corporation to replace digital units Hydro says are less efficient and more expensive — and have refused to have a smart meter installed.

"We're still working with those customers to address their concerns," Olynyk said.

"We know there's a lot of misinformation and fear that's been promoted. No decision's been made about how we'll deal with customers who've said they don't want one installed, irrespective of having the correct information."

He pointed to corporate progress propelling the new meters.

"They'll be standard equipment, like utility poles and power lines."

And Corix staff can cross a citizen's property to install a smart meter, unless folks attach a signed note, with their customer account number, to their old meter.

"As part of a customer's contract with Hydro, Corix can access property as they're allowed to access the meter.

"The meter is our property that's attached to the house," Olynyk explained. "We need unfettered access."

Smart meters, he said, will help crews restore power "faster and safer during outages because we can see where the outages are occurring exactly."

Customers can call 1-888-poweron will questions or outage concerns.

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