Posted on 17 October 2012 by Keith Lacey
Judy Nicholas doesn’t profess to be an expert on smart meters, but nothing she has heard or read about them is good news.
That’s why she has organized a public meeting and applied to speak at a public hearing set for Wednesday, Nov. 7 in Osoyoos sponsored by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) in relation to an application by FortisBC to bring smart meters to this region.
“I’m not an expert, but I have read a lot of stuff about these meters and I’m really upset these things are being pushed down the throats of a lot of people,” said Nicholas, who lives in Oliver and is the founder of the Smart Meter Awareness Group.
“I’ve been following this subject since Hydro BC first applied to bring these smart meters into the province and there has been nothing but controversy since.”
Nicholas has organized a meeting in Oliver on Wednesday, Oct. 24 and invites everyone from Osoyoos and area who has questions about smart meters to attend.
She wants “local residents to become more knowledgeable about smart meters and their potential impacts,” said Nicholas.
The public meeting will be held at Medici’s Gelateria starting at 7 p.m. The guest speaker will be Jerry Flynn, a retired veteran from the Canadian Armed Forces, who will talk about the type of radiation emitted by smart meters. FortisBC recently filed an application with the BCUC for an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) “smart meter” project.
The BCUC denied FortisBC’s application in 2008.
Last week, the BCUC ran a large advertisement in the Osoyoos Times, providing details about the public meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Spirit Ridge Resort and Spa.
Nicholas has applied for and been granted permission to speak at the public hearing.
“The experts are very concerned with the health problems related to smart meters,” Nicholas said, noting the World Health Organization has declared this type of radiation as a possible level 2B carcinogen, the same category as asbestos and lead.
Considering the number of people who have joined her group and the many comments she has heard from residents she has spoken with in Osoyoos and Oliver, Nicholas expects very vocal opposition to FortisBC’s plan to bring smart meters to this region of British Columbia at the public hearing.
“The BCUC needs to hear from the public and the only way we can stop this from going ahead is for members of the BCUC to realize just how upset people are,” she said. “The BCUC turned down the bid by FortisBC to bring smart meters here in 2008 and they will again if enough members of the public speak out.”
FortisBC is not being genuine when it states for the public record that smart meters will save consumers money, said Nicholas. If their application to the BCUC is granted and smart meters are installed, the reality is anyone who consumes electricity during “peak hours” between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. will pay much higher fees than they currently pay, she said.
“This is all about money, which is no surprise,” she said.
The evidence is clear the average monthly bill for consumers has skyrocketed in jurisdictions where smart meters have been installed, she said.
Flynn is an excellent speaker with no hidden agenda but to share information he has acquired over more than 30 years in the Canadian military, she said.
“He’s not a politician and he is not about choosing sides, but he has a lot of good information about radiation and electricity and exactly how these meters work,” she said.
In January, Oliver town council passed a motion to write BC Hydro and provincial ministers asking for a moratorium on the installation of smart meters until an “opt-out” option is made available to residents, who would prefer a hard-wired, analog meter. That council’s motion cited growing evidence that wireless smart meters may have negative health impacts on the public. It also stated these meters will be placed on homes without consultation or consent of local residents.
Osoyoos town council has written a letter to FortisBC, asking an opt-out clause be offered to all local customers should their application with the BCUC be granted.
However, a FortisBC spokesperson said three weeks ago, no opt- out clause is being considered should the company be successful with its application.
Nicholas urges people to continue writing to the BCUC with their opinions and concerns.
Anyone who attends and asks to speak at the public hearing in Osoyoos on Nov. 7 will be granted standing to speak if they register 15 minutes before meetings scheduled from 3-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. at Spirit Ridge, said Nicholas.
People can email the commission at email@example.com or write to Box 250, 900 Howe St., Vancouver, V62 2N3.
Each presentation on Nov. 7 will be limited to 15 minutes in length and all parties making submissions at the input sessions are encouraged to provide a hard copy of their submissions for filing.