01/31/2013 04:44 EST | Updated 04/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Energy Minister Not Backing Down On Smart Meters

B.C. Gov

B.C. Energy Minister Rich Coleman says nothing is off the table when it comes to smart meters.

Speaking at the Vancouver Board of Trade on Thursday, Coleman hinted those holding out on smart meter installation may end up paying for the delay down the road.

"I think what will happen over time, if you look at other jurisdictions, they've looked at different programs so that people could make a decision based on what it may cost in the future," Coleman said.

Coleman didn't have specific details on how or when his ministry or BC Hydro would move forward with more installations.

"My plan on this all along is let's get through the whole 1.8 million customers, [then] go back and respectfully have a conversation with those customers [who refuse] about the meters, see how many more take them, and then come back to me with the real numbers and then we'll build a plan," he said.

BC Hydro said Wednesday it wouldn't go ahead with 85,000 installations where residents refused permission.

Last week, Coleman indicated his ministry would back down — at least in the run-up to the May provincial election.

All of the smart meters were supposed to be installed by the end of 2012 but thousands of customers objected, citing health, safety and privacy concerns.

BC Hydro had said all customers will have to have the meters installed because the system won't work if people opt out.