NDP calls on Liberals to shelve plans for Hydro ‘smart meters’

February 16, 2009

February 16, 2009 7:01 AM

NDP energy critic John Horgan is asking Premier Gordon Campbell to be smart with B.C. Hydro’s money and shelve a proposal to spend almost $1 billion on "smart meters."

Campbell has acknowledged that the meters — which allow users to monitor how much their energy use in real time — will be expensive, but says the effect will be to save precious energy usage.

The boxes go inside the house, monitor energy costs minute-by-minute — and in theory will get consumers to switch use of high-energy appliances to off-peak times.

"If we have a billion dollars to spend on energy conservation, it shouldn’t be used for gimmicks," Horgan said. "It would be better spent on providing Hydro ratepayers with affordable options for energy efficiency such as home retrofit options."

Campbell has indicated the smart meters will be part of government’s green focus.

"It will be a major financial undertaking but it will yield huge benefits," the premier has said.

The Liberals say pilot projects showed that the average user saved 7.6 per cent on their energy bills.