Smart meters protested by “small and vocal” community: B.C. Hydro

“First and foremost, there is no opt-out,” said Gary Murphy, chief project officer for the smart meter program. “Every customer will get a smart meter.”

Smart Meters are on the way and everyone in the province will have one by the end of 2012, regardless of whether or not they post signs of protest, according to a B.C. Hydro representative.

“First and foremost, there is no opt-out,” said Gary Murphy, chief project officer for the smart meter program. “Every customer will get a smart meter.”

A customer does, however, have the option of contacting B.C. Hydro and relocating the meter elsewhere on their property at their own expense, he said.

“We’re saying opt out. They’re saying delay installation,” said Sharon Noble, chairperson of Citizens Against Unsafe Emissions and co-ordinator of the national Wireless Radiation Safety Council.

Noble organized a rally at the Legislature Sept. 18 that drew more than 200 people asking the B.C. government to impose a moratorium on the meters.

“I do not have a Smart Meter and I will not have a Smart Meter,” Noble said. “As many people at the rally said, I will call the police first.”

Armed with a petition of 4,000 signatures from B.C. residents opposed to the meters, Noble said the group is ready to fight the program any way they can.

“They can take me to court. They can fine me. I am not going to have a wireless meter,” she said.

B.C. Hydro has not yielded to any yard signs requesting to stop the replacement of analog meters, Murphy said. The Crown corporation has no way of identifying if such signs have been posted by residents, or by the less than 0.1 per cent of customers who have contacted B.C. Hydro with concerns, he added.

Yet signs affixed directly to meters have resulted in B.C. Hydro contacting individual homeowners prior to the installation of Smart Meters.

“There’s a very small and vocal activist community out there that has been responsible for publishing a great deal of this information,” Murphy said, estimating the actual complaints lodged at B.C. Hydro to be around 100. “They’re getting their neighbours and other folks spun up about it and folks have tried to take steps to opt out of the program.”

Customers with concerns over smart meters can contact B.C. Hydro by emailing SmartMeters@bchydro.com.

nnorth@saanichnews.com