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Opting out of BC Hydro’s smart meters will cost you

Gary Murphy, chief project officer for smart metering at BC Hydro, holds a smart meter unit on July 5, 2011.

Brett Beadle/The Globe and Mail

BC Hydro customers who don't want a smart meter installed in their homes will have to pay up or consider other options for partially opting out of the program.

The Crown corporation says consumers without the device will automatically be charged $35 a month as of Dec. 1.

Customers who take the meter but want the radio transmitter shut off will have to pay a one-time fee of $100, plus $20 a month for manual readings.

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Hydro has installed smart meters in nearly all homes in B.C., but is sending letters to customers who don't have them, saying they must sign and return a form indicating their option by Dec. 1.

Opponents of the smart meter claim its radio waves pose health risks, but the utility maintains they help transmit power usage data to Hydro computers and allow customers to monitor their energy use.

In July, a woman from Salt Spring Island filed what she hopes will be a class-action lawsuit against BC Hydro, saying a smart meter was installed on her property even though she refused to have one.

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