The union representing meter readers at BC Hydro is campaigning to help nearly 400 people whose jobs will be rendered obsolete because of smart meters.
The Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union Local 378 has tried to ensure a transition plan for workers since the smart meter initiative was introduced. The union, however, claims the province and BC Hydro refuse retraining.
In a Monday presentation to Cumberland council, Local 378 president David Black said COPE is looking for a practical transition to a new line of work for the employees.
The union also suggests those opposed to smart meters need a better opt-out provision.
Last year, BC Hydro awarded Corix the meter installation contract. The first meters were installed in the summer. Costs have so far run about $1 million.
“The long-term costs are even greater,” Black said.
Advocacy groups claim wireless meters emit radiation, increase the likelihood of structure fires and — by recording details of power usage — violate privacy rights. B.C. Hydro says the meter initiative is a conservation effort that enables customers to see their usage and adjust electricity consumption accordingly.
According to the union, other jurisdictions have suffered higher electricity rates through time-of-use billing where meters have been installed.