SUPPORT THE INITIATIVE PETITION
Key Concerns Regarding the Smart Meter Program
(1) No Cost Benefits
These smart meters are the first wave of a program intended to introduce ‘Time-of-Use’ billing across BC in the near future. This WILL cause significant increases for rate-payers, as evidenced by almost EVERY other case where it has been introduced, including Ontario.
In addition, the installation program will – according to BC Hydro – cost $930 million (of rate-payers’ money) and generate $1.6 billion in financial benefits over the next 20 years. While these benefits sound impressive, they actually break down to an average of $1.20 per monthly bill. Hydro is also claiming that there will be $70 million in ‘system efficiencies’ over the next three years. However, this money comes from the lay-off of several hundred meter readers and will save each customer a mere $12 per year! (Let’s pay the little extra to keep the meter readers in work.)
(2) No Democratic Process
The installation of smart meters has been pushed through (by the Clean Energy Act) without any real public consultation and without our consent. BC Hydro (and government ministers) have stated that we – the public – ‘have no choice’ a smart meter IS going on every house by the end of 2012 whether we like it or not. Further more, the program was deliberately (and suspiciously) exempt from BC Utilities Commission oversight – the independent watchdog responsible for looking after our interests.
(3) No Health Protection
In May 2011, electromagnetic radiation (EMR) such as that emitted from a smart meter was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Class 2b carcinogen. This places everyday levels of EMR exposure in the same category as lead, dioxins and DDT. The IARC is a research wing of the World Health Organization.
BC Hydro’s assertion that the microwave radiation emitted by smart meters is well below the level set out in Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, is both deceptive and dangerous to public health. It allows for levels of exposure many thousands of times higher than what independent and peer-reviewed medical research dating back 35 years has clearly shown to be harmful. Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) causes quantifiable and significant disruption and damage to human biological systems as well as all other animals, insects and plants. Furthermore, up to 5% of the population is officially recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission as suffering from Electro Hypersensitivity (EHS), a condition that can make people very sick or debilitated. Almost ALL of us are affected by this radiation. We just don’t realize it yet.
(4) No Privacy
The smart meters being installed by BC Hydro contain a second wireless transceiver that is specifically intended to ‘provide a built-in communications pathway into the home for data presentation, load control and demand response’ (manufacturer’s literature). The purpose of this is to monitor and control the new generation of ‘smart appliances’ that are already being sold to unsuspecting customers. These appliances include virtually EVERY electronic device in the home or office. BC Hydro claim that this is for the customers’ convenience but ONLY Hydro can turn this transceiver on or off. This amounts to UNWARRANTED, 24-hour surveillance of all your household activity over which you would have NO control. This so-called ‘home-automation’ function is already available via third-parties, offering the user complete choice and control using existing technology. There is no justification for BC Hydro to provide this service through smart meters.
(5) No Security
Although BC Hydro are claiming that they will be using ‘bank-style’ encryption and security for their data transmission and storage, it is well known that wireless communications are the LEAST secure. Furthermore, the smart grid may well become highly susceptible to hackers who, if successful, could shut down the entire electricity system, causing obvious and massive disruption. This threat was recently described by a former director of the CIA as one of the greatest dangers currently faced by the USA!
(6) No Public Control
There is potential for the BC electrical grid to fall under the control of external global corporate interests
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