Nanaimo joins other municipalities in smart meter concerns

Nanaimo will join other B.C. municipalities and regional districts in expressing its concerns to BC Hydro and the province over the mandatory installation of Smart Meters.

Nanaimo will join other B.C. municipalities and regional districts in expressing its concerns to B.C. Hydro and the province over the mandatory installation of smart meters.

Coun. Fred Pattje last week put forward a motion “that council send  a communication to B.C Hydro and appropriate ministries requesting a moratorium on the installation of Smart Meters until further independent investigation of health, safety, and privacy concerns are addressed in a meaningful way and reasonable alternatives are found…”.

Council approved the motion 8-1.

“The main purpose of my motion is to give impetus to the so-called Colwood motion that is coming before [Union of British Columbia Municipalities] at the end of September,” said Pattje. “I know we have no jurisdiction, all we can do is nudge and suggest and this motion is part of that.”

The UBCM will host its convention in Vancouver next week (Sept. 26-30).

Pattje said he looked at more than 100 websites to gain a better understanding of the issue, but admits he is still “a little confused” on the pros and cons of the meters. He said it makes sense to move forward cautiously on an issue where potential health concerns are not yet known.

The City of Colwood prepared a resolution for the UBCM conference, asking B.C. Hydro and the province to move more cautiously on the mandatory installation of smart meters, which has already begun in B.C. If the Colwood motion is approved, UBCM members will take their concerns to the province as a group.

The Regional District of Nanaimo also recently voted to support a moratorium on the devices, noting that people’s decisions to choose WiFi in their homes is different than mandatory installation.

Barbara Ann Scott, an opponent of smart meters, said she applauds Nanaimo council’s action.

“I’m delighted they’re going to ask for a moratorium. It’s a very positive step,” said Scott. “The previous government of 2010 under the Clean Air Act and the Green Act gave B.C. Hydro carte blanche to go ahead as a business and do what they have to do. Unfortunately, the government didn’t do, I think, its due diligence and do the research on the issues well enough. So now by law B.C. Hydro can go ahead and do what it likes.”

Scott added that though municipalities have little power over B.C. Hydro, they  have a responsibility under the Public Health Act to protect its citizens and advise the Minister of Health of the perceived dangers of Smart Meters.

She estimates that five per cent of the population who suffer from electrohypersensitivity will be affected by Smart Meters, as will about 35 per cent of the population affected by a less severe version of the condition.

B.C. Hydro is spending more than $900 million to install wireless smart meters in B.C. homes to replace  analog meters.

Concerns over the mandatory meters include health issues stemming from wireless technology, security, safety and invasion of privacy. Billing policy and job loss for meter readers are also being contested.

B.C. Hydro says that more than 250 million smart meters have been installed worldwide to update power grids.

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com