Companies should err on the side of caution

Are smart meters safe?

To the Editor,

Are smart meters safe? I don’t think anyone knows for sure. But considering past regulatory approvals of thalidomide, UFFI insulation and aluminum residential wiring, the record for agencies getting safety issues right is less than stellar. Therefore, if some B.C. Hydro customers want to err on the side of caution, they should have the right to do so.

The claim that mechanical meters are no longer being made is a red herring since the supplies of old removed meters should last indefinitely, if they were refurbished rather than destroyed.

As well, the consumer benefits from smart meters seem highly overrated. There are still many hydro customers who can figure out that lights and appliances that are turned off use less power than those that are turned on.

What this really boils down to is a customer’s right to choose against a monopoly’s right to do as it pleases.

In virtually all other cases customers have the right to buy or not to buy a product, whether their reasons are sound or frivolous.

Unfortunately hydro is marketed by an unavoidable monopoly, at the request of the government.

For practical reasons, there cannot be competition.

Therefore, it is important that customers have the right to refuse what they feel is unsafe technology and the government should force B.C. Hydro to accommodate these customers’ wishes.

Even if some day it is proven that smart meters pose no health hazards, in the meantime, forcing citizens to constantly live with a device that causes them stress and anxiety definitely is a health hazard.

S.I. Petersen

Nanaimo