EDITORIAL: Smart meters make sense

Reducing power use a key benefit of the new initiative across B.C.

B.C. Hydro’s plan to implement smart meters across the province will help customers understand their power usage and identify ways to conserve energy.

It’s a positive move for environmental proponents, as reduced need for energy results in fewer dams and hydroelectric plants scarring our pristine landscape.

Not to mention the money saved by individual customers on their energy bills.

Yet smart meters are facing a backlash from the community, with Nanaimo residents asking city council to help stop the meters over worries about negative health effects associated with radiation emitted from the wireless devices.

In reality, the devices are a class 2b carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization, in the same class as cellphones, cars, televisions and Chinese pickles as cancer-causing agents. A 30-minute cellphone conversation emits the same radiation as a smart meter does in a year.

Only a handful of people in Canada are currently on disability support for electrosensitivity, a disorder caused by radiation emitted from electronic and wireless devices.

But if people have a legitimate health reason – with support from their doctor – they should be able to opt out of wireless smart meter installation, using a hard-wired meter or the current analog meter.

Opting out wouldn’t be available to many people, or those who simply don’t want them, but it would provide support for people with a legitimate health concern.

The rest of the population will benefit from the knowledge of their individual energy consumption and be able to take steps to reduce their use.

That’s something that will benefit all users of electricity in the province.