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The GSX Story

Four communities switch to Hydro grid

By Kim Pemberton, Vancouver Sun February 10, 2012

Four B.C. first nations com-munities that were relying on diesel generation for their power will be converting to electrical as part of BC Hydro's new smart meter program.

Media gets it wrong

 Hello Kim,

Your opening paragraph really makes no sense at all. What do you mean "converting to electrical"??? The community had electricity before, from diesel, and it's all being upgraded, but it's still all diesel.

Our firm is currently constructing the new hybrid diesel power plant for Elhlateese, under contract of BC Hydro, to go online in 6 weeks. This new power plant is more efficient, but it's still 100% diesel. We have been working on this for 3 years now with Hydro.

If you want to have any more clarifications on this project, or other parts of the BC Hydro RCE program I'm happy to give you some facts.

Kevin Pegg
EA Energy Alternatives Ltd.

The Uchucklesaht Tribe, known as Elhlateese Indian Reserve 2, located in Barclay Sound on Vancouver Island and the Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola will be converting this spring. This fall the Kwadacha Nation, at Fort Ware, approximately 570 km north of Prince George, and the Tsay Keh Dene Band in Prince George will follow.

Three Lower St'at'imc Nation Bands have already received Smart Meters - the Douglas, Skatin and Samahquam - located between Pemberton and Harrison Hot Springs and were hooked up to the grid in 2011.

Meanwhile, The Lower Nicola Indian Band near Merritt is considering preventing the installation of the smart meters on the reserve's public buildings.

Chief Victor York said some of the band members complained of headaches around the time BC Hydro started replacing the digital and analog power consumption meters with the wireless-enabled smart meters on their homes. He said the band will discuss whether to allow BC Hydro to install the meters at public buildings at the next general meeting later this month.

"We can't tell people, when they are paying their own heating bills, whether they can have smart meters (installed on their homes) or not. But for the public buildings it will be discussed," he said.

Last summer, BC Hydro began the process of replacing more than 1.8 million analog meters throughout the province with smart meters, which are capable of providing hourly information about electricity consumption.

The upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of December.

BC Hydro spokeswoman Cindy Verschoor said there is a dedicated team at BC Hydro working with first nations in B.C. and providing information about the change. So far the Lower Nicola Indian Band is the only one that has expressed concerns.

"The bottom line is: if any customer has a concern all they have to do is contact us and we'll delay installation until we address their concern," she said.

kpemberton@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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