LETTERS: Fortis responds to meters

We would like our customers to know that safety is a top priority in everything FortisBC does.

A recent article and letter to the editor in the Penticton Western News (both in the Nov. 14 issue) outlined concerns about advanced meters.

We would like our customers to know that safety is a top priority in everything FortisBC does. We base the safety and viability of our projects on the findings of experts recognized in their specific fields. In the case of advanced meters for electricity customers, we’ve relied on the conclusions of trusted authorities such as Health Canada and the BC Cancer Agency.

Before moving ahead with the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project, FortisBC went through a public approval process through its regulator, the B.C. Utilities Commission. Health and safety were discussed extensively before the commission.

The BCUC approved the AMI project in 2013, concluding the AMI meters are well within Health Canada’s radiofrequency guidelines — and well below levels from common devices like cellphones and baby monitors. Similar to other utilities around the world, FortisBC has found that advanced meters will open the door to benefits for customers.

The meters will also help us run a more reliable and efficient electricity service, an important factor as controlling the cost of supplying a safe and reliable electricity service is always on our customers’ minds.

FortisBC expects to begin safely exchanging advanced meters in the South Okanagan in mid-2015. Meter installers will take the opportunity to inspect the meter base during the exchange, allowing them to flag any existing safety issues. The new meters will wirelessly transmit electricity consumption information to FortisBC, meaning fewer bill estimates and up to date account information for customers. No personal information is transmitted by the meters.

For more information about the AMI project, visit fortisbc.com/ami or call 1-866-436-7847.

Ian Dyck, Project Director,

Electric Advanced Metering Infrastructure, FortisBC