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Smart meter opponent warns Campbell River city council

People are taking serious risks if they allow BC Hydro to install a smart meter on their home, says the head of a local coalition to put a stop to the devices.

John Warn spoke to city council Tuesday night and warned that smart meters can destroy appliances in the home, are a health threat because of the emissions they emit, and a fire hazard.

A Tsawwassen man claims the installation of his smart meter blew a fuse and ruined his oven while Warn noted a woman in Nanaimo had just had a smart meter installed when it blew up and caught fire.

“There is a high risk of fires being started by smart meters,” Warn said. “They’re manufactured offshore. I don’t like those odds.”

Warn said the radiation the smart meters emit when sending signals to BC Hydro could be harmful to a person’s health and the radio waves can interfere with other signals in the household. Power surges from the smart meters have also reportedly destroyed people’s computers, fridges and other household appliances, Warn said.

The worst part, according to Warn, is British Columbians are not being given a choice to opt out.

“We’re being forced to accept something in our homes that’s been classified as a class 2B carcinogen – that scares me,” Warn said. “There are more unknowns than knowns when it comes to the long-term affects. Personally, I’d prefer to not be one of the guinea pigs if I don’t have to.”

BC Hydro has already installed 1.3 million smart meters across the province and is set to begin installation in Campbell River next month.

Ted Olynyk, spokesperson for BC Hydro, said the smart meters have several benefits including cutting down on the length of power outages and saving consumers money.

The devices, which use Wi-Fi, send a signal to BC Hydro in the event of a power outage, expediting Hydro’s response time. Although rates will not go down, the power corporation says the devices will show customers their consumption and consumers can adjust to save themselves money.

The smart meters will also eliminate the need for meter readers to come onto people’s property, as the devices can transmit a customer’s consumption directly to BC Hydro.

Olynyk said the criticism being heaped upon smart meters is not warranted.

“The Internet is a great place for information but not all of it is correct information,” he said. “There’s misinformation out there that BC Hydro will know who you’re having over for dinner...because of smart meters.”

As for the smart meters being a health hazard, Olynyk said smart meters are no more dangerous than going to a public place that uses Wi-Fi.

He noted a one-way trip on the ferry from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay is the equivalent of the amount of radiation someone would be exposed to in 35 years of having a smart meter.

Still, Warn isn’t sold and on Tuesday night asked council to impose a moratorium on smart meters, as 50 communities across B.C. have already done.

Those include Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Parksville, Gold River, Surrey and Burnaby.

The moratorium asks BC Hydro to temporarily hold off on installing the smart meters.

“They have been coming in but we feel we can force the issue and call for a moratorium,” Warn said.

Olynyk confirmed a person can also put a sign on their meter asking BC Hydro to delay installation of the smart meter, however, Hydro has yet to determine a long-term plan for customers who refuse the smart meter.

 

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