The confusion Minister Rich Coleman has caused over smart meters in the past couple of weeks is wholly unsurprising. His own colleague MLA Gordon Hogg claims that Coleman told him there would be an opt-out for homeowners who didn’t want smart meters, while Coleman now denies that.
If it’s true, it’s not the first time Coleman has done something like this. Almost 400 meter readers in communities across B.C. are facing layoff due to smart meters. Rich Coleman told meter readers in a CKNW interview that B.C. Hydro would look after them through re-training them into other jobs, but two years later they’re still waiting. These workers and the union that represents them have been unable to get Minister Coleman or Premier Christy Clark to agree to meet on this issue, despite repeated requests. The ones that have not already received layoff notice continue to live in uncertainty and disappointment at this broken promise.
The entire smart meter process has been characterized by the government’s complete unwillingness to listen to the concerns of British Columbians. If they want to change that they have to make sure that they live up to both promises: to ensure homeowners have the right to refuse smart meters, and to re-train meter readers so they can continue to support their families and communities.
Vice-President, Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union local 378 (COPE 378)