VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Faulty smart meter or just cold weather? We are checking back in with a man trying to get to the bottom of BC Hydro bill that tripled this winter.

“It went from $160 a billing period to $515.” says Brad Hugel. “It looks like this most recent one is probably going to be similar to that from the readings taken during the breaker test.”

After frustrating conversations with BC Hydro, Hugel brought the concern to News1130.

“I think if I took all the appliances that we have in our house and turn them all on and raised the temperature to 30 degrees, I’m sure that we wouldn’t have that much energy being used,” he said. “I’m not an electrician but I’m sure we could probably go out and get that tested. We just have a small place.”

Since the initial story aired, Hugel says BC Hydro staff have been helpful working through the obscene bill.

This week, crews came to test the new smart meter.

“We passed the breaker test. So then [the technician's] response was, ‘everything is working fine, it must be the winter.’”

Hugel still isn’t convinced. Over $500 for a 900-sq. ft. apartment with high efficiency appliances?     

“When I brought that up to the technicians that came out, they refused to comment, but you could tell by the look on their faces that this didn’t really make sense, at least on the look of one of their faces.”

Because Hugel didn’t move in until April 1 he asked Hydro to check what the usage was last winter in the suite.  

“They said it is all about usage and so we don’t know if they were using more appliances than you were. What I’m being told is there’s no way to tell.”

He then requested third party testing of the smart meter. The technicians tried to convince him not to, because Hugel has to shell out for it. If the meter proves to be faulty, BC Hydro will cover the $90 cost. That won’t happen until April and it will be another month before he gets the results.