It’s finally happened – Smart Meters are coming to Revelstoke, with numerous people receiving letters indicating the controversial machines will be installed at their homes.
The meters, which are supposed to modernize BC Hydro’s transmission grid, have been met with opposition due for a variety of reasons ranging from health to cost to privacy concerns.
“To me it’s mostly a health issue with the radiation from the meters,” said Frank Lemay, who paid to have a flyer warning about the risk of smart meters placed in this week’s Times Review. “Then the cost, of course. The cost to install, the cost for people to have them – people are paying a lot more money for hydro.”
The Coalition to Stop “Smart” Meters has listed a number of reasons to oppose the devices. It claims the meters will lead to higher costs to consumers; as well as pose health risks due to the microwave radiation the devices emit.
“And it is not just cancer that is of concern,” the coalition’s website stopsmartmetersbc.ca states. “A growing percentage of the people in British Columbia have developed electrohypersensitivity and suffer from uncomfortable and even disabling physical reactions from involuntary exposure to wireless devices.”
On top of that, it cites privacy concerns and that the devices will allow BC Hydro to track detailed activity in the home, such as what appliances are being used and when people are home.
BC Hydro says the smart meters will make the system more efficient, provide more accurate readings and reduce waste. It says the amount of radiation emitted over a 20-year-period is equivalent to one 30 minute cell phone call, though those numbers are disputed by the Coalition to Stop “Smart Meters”.
At the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference last Fall, 55 per cent of delegates passed a motion calling for a moratorium on the installation of the devices. At the time, Mayor David Raven told the Times Review he didn’t think the meters were “that big an issue.”
“There’s much more serious things that I’m worried about.”
Last week he said council was “starting to see a swell of opposition to them.”
BC Hydro made a presentation to the board of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District last Thursday and he recommended BC Hydro do more community interaction here about the meters.
Two letters were included in the council package for April 24, one from Lemay and the other from Wanda Watson, who expressed concern about reports of rising costs, health issues and privacy issues.
“We live in a democracy as far as I know and we are extremely opposed to these meters being imposed on us without our permission,” she wrote in a letter. “There are a number of communities in B.C. that have declared a moratorium on these meters, pending further study, and I would hope that our mayor and city council would at least be willing to offer us the same protection.”
Councillor Linda Nixon said she had heard from several residents and would bring up their concerns in council. She said her husband has worked around transmitters for years and she wasn’t personally concerned about the meters.
“I think that if people are perceiving there’s a big concern about them, maybe it just needs some more education from BC Hydro and an openness on their part,” she said. “This is a hot potato elsewhere in the province so we need to be aware of it and help facilitate people having a voice. We can’t tell BC Hydro what to do as council but we can certainly encourage them to communicate with people.”
Lemay said he wants to organize a meeting and bring people to Revelstoke to talk about Smart Meters.
“I’m going to get people to wake up and get the information on this, not just what you see on the news,” he said. “Invite everybody to get the real facts. That’s what I’m going to do.”