Power struggle leaves Mission couple in the dark
Jonathan Glasgow and Kendra Mangione, CTV Vancouver
Published Friday, October 28, 2016 5:50PM PDT
A couple renting part of a home in Mission has spent several days in the dark after BC Hydro cut them off.
Tanya and Robert Eely have been living without electricity for four days thanks to a power struggle between the Crown corporation and their stubborn landlord.
"We don't have heat... we don't have lights," Tanya told CTV Vancouver on Friday.
"We're going to have to throw out our food that's been spoiled. That's going to cost money to replace it," Robert said.
The newlyweds rent the top level of a home, and the homeowner lives in the basement suite. The owner, Ewa Gryz, is in the middle of a dispute with BC Hydro over the home's expired meter.
Mora Scott, a spokesperson for BC Hydro, said the company has to replace Gryz’s meter, but it’s located inside the home and she’s refused to let their crew inside.
The property has a legacy meter with an expired Measurement Canada seal on it, and the company is legally obligated to replace any meters when the seal expires.
Unable to do so, crews showed up on Tuesday and physically cut the power lines.
The Measurement Canada seals are made of nylon line or metal wire, and lock the meter's case so they can't be tampered with. All meters installed by utilities in Canada have an expiry period of between six and 12 years, and must be replaced before the end of the expiry date, according to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
Gryz has the option of choosing a new smart meter or a radio-off meter.
Smart meters are installed for free, have no monthly fees, and include automatic reading and next-day consumption information. Some people have expressed concern about the possibility of health effects from exposure to the radiofrequency emitted by the meters. More information is available through Health Canada.
Radio-off meters do not feed a signal out, and can be installed for a $22.60 set-up fee and $20 monthly fee. The fees cover the costs of resources, equipment and systems that are automated with smart meters.
But Gryz has refused the mandatory replacement. She told CTV News that she's concerned the new meters the corporation installs will cause health issues.
She said she wants a third choice – a digital meter like her son has – but BC Hydro says the device is being phased out.
Caught in the middle, Gryz's tenant Robert says he understands where BC Hydro was coming from when they decided to cut off the power.
"They are wanting to do their jobs. But at the same time, you shouldn't be forced to make people suffer," he said.
The sides are at a stalemate, and the home will stay dark until a decision is reached.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Jonathan Glasgow