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Thursday dedicated to protests against smart meters

A group of local residents opposed to BC Hydro’s controversial smart meters are taking their message to the streets this week.

This Thursday has been declared International Day of Action to Stop Smart Meters in order to demand an immediate ban on further smart meter installation across B.C.

In Campbell River, smart meter critics plan to congregate in front of the BC Hydro building on Evergreen Road in the early morning, and then move on to city hall.

Tim Benoit, spokesperson for the Campbell River branch of the Stop Smart Meters Coalition said the demonstration is “to protest the continuing installations and to demand our rights.”

Smart meters have already been installed outside the majority of Campbell River homes, but the coalition hopes to stop BC Hydro from replacing the old meters with smart meters.

The group insists smart meters, which are wireless and run on Wi-fi, pose security and health risks.

There has been ongoing research into potential health and environmental effects related to radio frequency signals emitted from the smart meters.

The World Health Organization has classified those radio frequency electromagnetic fields as a Class 2B – a possible human carcinogen, which has been known to cause cancer.

Karle and Laurie Granlund, who own Granlund Firearms in Campbell River, worry the smart meters could lead to security breaches.

“Given that BC Hydro will allow your information to be accessed online, the meters pose a significant security risk as hackers could easily get access to this information and determine when a house was vacant, thus when it would be easy to break in and steal,” said the Granlunds in a letter to city council.

BC Hydro has spent much of the past couple of years defending the devices, saying they pose less of a health threat than cellphones or Wi-fi in public places.

The smart meters have also been touted by BC Hydro for getting the lights back on quickly in the event of a power outage because the devices will send a signal to BC Hydro indicating when and where an outage has occurred.

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