BC Hydro have told Fernie City council that residents will not be given the option to opt out of having a smart meter installed.
Council passed a resolution in June asking for a moratorium on the smart meter program, or that customers be given an opt out option. Councils in Sparwood and Elkford did not pass resolutions. Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher said that the issue was discussed at length and some council members wanted to pass a resolution while others didn’t. In the end the council decided to let citizens deal with BC Hydro on their own. Sparwood Mayor Lois Halko said that the council decided not to pass a resolution because the precedent was already set when they accepted new wireless water meters several years ago. BC Hydro maintained its position that there will be no opt out option.
More than 50 communities throughout the province have passed resolutions requesting either an opt out option or a moratorium on the smart meters.
“They’ve spent billions of dollars to implement this program. They aren’t going to go back on it,” said Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano.
BC Hydro began installation of 10,000 meters in the Elk Valley in July and expects to be finished by the end of August. To date, 1.5 million of the proposed 1.87 million smart metres have been installed across the province.
Sarina Beran of Sparwood made a presentation to the Fernie council in June, which led to the resolution being passed.
“BC Hydro has installed a wireless meter and it invades my right to decide what goes on in my house,” said Beran. “People have the right to decide what their bodies are exposed to.”
Baren was armed with information from the Coalition to Stop Smart Meters.
According to the BC Hydro website, the smart meters are active for a total average of one minute per day, which includes the relay of information that may be required for data transmission and coordination between meters.
“In relation to health, we rely on the medical authority,” said Cindy Verschoor, communications manager for the smart metering program. ”All the medical authorities, provincial, national and international have confirmed that smart meters are safe.”
However, Sharon Noble, director for the Coalition to Stop Smart Meters, said there is not a consensus among public health practitioners.