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Claims that smart meters are dangerous to human health called preposterous by FortisBC officials
By admin on May 23, 2013
Suggestions that FortisBC is prepared to risk the health of its tens of thousands of customers across the South Okanagan are preposterous, says Corey Sinclair, the company’s manager of regulatory affairs.
“The suggestions of something nefarious have been a bit much,” said Sinclair, who, along with Mark Warren, the company’s director of customer service and Neal Pobran, manager of corporate communications, paid a visit to Osoyoos two weeks ago to meet with various media outlets.
Health Canada is in charge of setting the parameters for utility companies like FortisBC to operate under when it comes to health care standards and suggestions that advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) – more commonly known as smart meters- pose a threat to human health have never been proven and would not be approved by Health Canada officials, said Sinclair.
The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) is ultimately in charge of approving or rejecting the current FortisBC application to introduce its automated metering infrastructure (AMI) – more commonly recognized as smart meters – to its customers across the South Okanagan.
A similar application by FortisBC was rejected by the BCUC in 2008.
You could stand half-a-metre away from one of the smart meters being proposed to be installed on residential properties in Osoyoos and across the South Okanagan for several consecutive hours and not be affected at all, he said.
“The readings would be 10,000 times lower than the safety code standard approved by Health Canada,” he said. “The electronic emissions from a baby monitor are 340 times greater than those emitted by a smart meter.”
Outspoken proponents against FortisBC’s AMI project like Kelowna’s Jerry Flynn, a retired electronics expert from the Canadian military who has spent the past several months speaking to thousands of B.C. residents about what he perceives to be the serious health risks posed by smart meters, has made an impact and resulted in significant negative press against the utility, Sinclair admitted.
Canada is a free country and people like Flynn can do as they please, but none of the information he has presented to the public over the past several months has been scientifically proven, which is the only standard that counts as far as FortisBC management is concerned, he said.
“Mr. Flynn throws reams of information at you and website after website … but it’s our position none of that information he throws out there has been approved through peer-reviewed science,” he said.
“While we respect what Mr. Flynn is trying to do because we do believe he’s convinced he’s right, when you dig in you will find out most of his information doesn’t come from very reliable sources or is simply inaccurate.”
It’s easy in today’s technological age to download a seemingly endless amount of information from various websites and suggest it acts as proof on any number of controversial subjects, but FortisBC has done its due diligence in applying to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) to introduce its AMI project to its customers, he said.
Health Canada has established its “safety code 6” relating to electro-magnetic emissions based on the best science available today and would never approve any program or project that would endanger the health and safety of Canadian citizens, said Sinclair.
“We would never do anything to cause any harm to our customers and we think Health Canada has done a great job of reviewing the science,” he said.
Commissioners from the BCUC have held dozens of public hearings about the FortisBC AMI application and received thousands of comments on its website , so members of the public have been given every opportunity to voice their concerns relating to this project, he said.
The fact the BCUC rejected its application back in 2008 clearly shows FortisBC does not exert any influence over the BCUC, as some have suggested, and FortisBC has complied with every rule and regulation demanded throughout the process, said Sinclair.
If the BCUC were to reject its current application, the company would “have no choice but to accept that decision and carry on with running our business,” he said.
When asked if the company would consider an “opt out clause” if the application is successful and certain customers did not want a smart meter installed on their home, Sinclair said the company considered this option, but made a business decision that it would not be economical feasible to offer such a clause.
No time line has been set by the BCUC to make its final decision on the FortisBC application to install smart meters in the South Okanagan. FortisBC made its final submission, based on public comments and information gathered at public hearings, recently.