Smart meters have been put on the agenda of the UBCM conference this year at the request of the City of Colwood. Attached is information which is intended to give you a general overview of the concerns that are being raised across the province, as well as across North America. For Detailed Studies and Analysis, see attached files below and second follow up article.
Under the Clean Energy Act 2010 it was mandated that every home, apartment and business in BC would have a smart meter and the BC Utilities Commission was excluded from any participation in the decision or oversight over the implementation plan
. While ITRON, the company chosen as manufacturer of the meter makes hard wired meters that can use phone or cable lines, BC Hydro has chosen to install only wireless meters.
The public is being given no choice in this matter. Even people diagnosed with serious health problems which would be exacerbated by exposure to the radiation emitted by the wireless meters, such as impaired immune systems, Multiple Sclerosis, or neurological disorders such as epilepsy, are being forced to have meters put on their homes.
Smart meters have been installed in several US states and in Ontario and we should be benefiting from their experiences. Many serious problems have been reported consistently, regardless of the location or brand of meter. It follows that these same problems will be experienced here in British Columbia if we do not take proper heed.
1) Health. Contrary to what the government and BC Hydro report, the microwave radiation that is emitted is extremely high during the signal ‘spikes’ which occur several times a minute every day all day. People are being exposed to these high doses of microwave radiation within their homes from their own meters, and from their neighbours’ meters which are signaling to distant receivers. This is the same type of radiation recently classified as a 2b carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Other 2b carcinogens are DDT, lead and industrial chemicals.
2) Increased utility bills. More than 80% of smart metered homes in Ontario report significantly higher monthly bills, often more than 50% higher than prior to smart meter installation. In California many report bills doubling and tripling. This is without any change in utilization patterns.
3) Privacy. Meters keep records of personal daily use, recording what appliance is being used and when. Companies in the US have declared these records propriety information and have sold it to marketing companies, insurers and others. This truly is an invasion of privacy in the worst way.
4) Security Wireless technology is notoriously insecure and can be easily hacked into. Hackers can access private information, determine by usage patterns when homes are unoccupied, or even interfere with the delivery of electricity.
5) Harmful interference. Smart meters interfere with household electrical appliances, even medical devices and home security systems, often causing them to malfunction or damaging the appliance itself.
6) Safety Smart meters have exploded and many smart meter-related fires have been reported, most recently a major fire in Santa Rosa, California where several businesses were severely damaged. The fires are believed related to smart meters interfering with Arc-fault circuit interrupters. Several lawsuits are pending in California. Some fires are reported to be as a result of poor installation done by inadequately trained installers. Corix, the company contracted to replace our analogue meters with these wireless meters, is not hiring electricians but rather unskilled workers, with only 2 weeks training.
7) Conservation No energy is conserved by the meter. It merely reports usage, as does an analogue meter. Unless the user is educated on conservation techniques no reduction in utilization will occur. The smart meter contributes in no way to conservation – this is a false premise. It is the educated user that is key and the same reduction could be realized with the current safe, efficient analogue meter.
8) Program cost A major concern of almost British Columbians is the cost of the program – more than $1 billion. We cannot afford a program which has no benefits and most likely no cost recovery potential. Better to spend this money on technology or products that will result in reduced energy utilization, such as better insulation, more efficient windows or furnaces, or solar panels. Not only are such investments well worth the money spent, they also would generate good, permanent jobs in our province.
9) Environmental Hazard Each meter contains up to 1000 mg of pure mercury, which the Federal Government will be banning in most products next year. The smart meters in BC will contain in total 1-1.5 metric tonnes of a bio-hazard which eventually will end up in our rivers and streams. In addition, in the event of fire, mercury vaporizes into a bio-toxin.
According to Bill 23-2008 of the British Columbia Public Health Act, section 83 (1), a municipality must take action when it learns of something that could be harmful to its residents. It must notify the Minister of Health or take immediate action. As of Aug. 28, 2011, 13 municipal and district councils have passed motions to write to the Minister of Health and, due to the potential for wireless smart meters to cause harm or to compromise security, requested a moratorium on mandatory installations of wireless meters. Most councils also requested that concerned residents be offered safer alternatives at no cost to them.
As Director of a provincial coalition comprised of persons from across BC, I am asking you as representatives of your constituents at the UBCM conference to support this motion when it comes to a vote. The united support of our local governments will send a strong message to the provincial government that, in keeping with recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions, local councils are in the best position to determine where the interests of their residents lie because they are closest to the problems.
Should you have any questions about anything included with this email, please contact me directly.
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart MetersDRAFT LETTER
Re: BC Hydro smart meter: concern and requests – Council Meeting (date)
BC Hydro will be installing wireless smart meters in every home and apartment in our community within the near future, replacing current analogue meters. Over the last two years or so, meters have been mandated in Ontario and throughout the United States. Everywhere they are in use, the same problems are encountered – security, safety, invasion of privacy and actual ill health effects or concerns. Under the Provincial Charter, local government has the responsibility to protect its residents’ health and security. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the threats associated with wireless smart meters and to ask that you use your authority to raise our concerns to the Minister of Health.
Please find attached letters from Dr. David Carpenter, M.D. of the University of Albany, Dr. Olle Johansson, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden (the home of the Nobel prizes), and Dr. Magda Havas,Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, as well as comments by Dr. Daniel Hirsch, Senior Lecturer and expert in nuclear policy at UCSC. These credible, independent scientists warn of the dangers from the microwave radiofrequency radiation emitted by these meters, all day every day. This type of radiation has been studied for decades by scientists worldwide, who have produced thousands of peer reviewed and published scientific articles evidencing harm from exposure. Further, in May 2011, the World Health Organization reclassified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as a 2B possible human carcinogen risk.
Cancer is not the only health concern associated with microwave radiofrequency radiation. Exposure has resulted in a growing number of people becoming sensitive or hypersensitive to exposure. This environmental impairment is recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It is estimated that 5-6% of the population are severely affected, and another 10% are moderately affected. Mandatory exposure to wireless smart meter emissions would cause severe suffering for many in our communities.
Also attached is a briefing by Cindy Sage on additional problems experienced with smart meters in California. Many of the meters installed in California are made by ITRON, the same brand being used in BC. Most smart meters share the same problems: radiation, spiking electricity on household wires that has caused fires, security breaches, harmful interference with household appliances, and invasion of privacy. All of this, in addition to the fact that no cost savings have been realized.
The hoped for reduction in energy is dependent not on the meter, but on changes in patterns of utilization. The plan is for people to watch the meter to determine how much electricity is being used by which appliance at what time of the day. If you are working with a family to care for, this becomes difficult. For example, it would be cheaper to cook dinner at midnight but not practical. Single parents and older people could be most hard hit by cost increases, when they have no choice but to cook dinner at dinner time, or have a shower before going to work in the morning.
Premier McGuinty of Ontario admitted a few months ago that Ontario’s program would not be recovering any of the implementation costs from meter usage. There is a similar story in every jurisdiction. Some states, such as Massachusetts and Connecticut, conducted pilot programs with thousands of homes over many months and discovered there was neither reduction in energy nor in costs, so the program was halted.
The BC government approved the more than $1 billion smart meter program via the 2010 Clean Energy Act, without the protection of an oversight review and approval process by the BC Utilities Commission. This is not normal procedure. Many in the opposition have been protesting this because there was also no debate in the legislature. A major public program with no approval and no oversight.
The mandatory wireless smart meter installation for every personal residence commenced July 4, 2011, and an increasing number of people are upset as they learn about the details. No opting out of the wireless exposure is allowed,. Neither will those concerned for their security, safety and privacy be allowed an option to the wireless system. We have a choice to use other wireless devices such as WiFi or cell phones, or to turn them off. BC Hydro has stated that moving the meter off the house and repositioning it elsewhere on the property is an option they will allow. This is physically impossible for people in apartments and financially impossible for most others. The cost estimates range between $5,000 to $12,000 depending on the situation, and further, will not stop constant wireless radiation on the individual’s property.
The provincial government and BC Hydro state that the level of microwave radiofrequency radiation emitted by smart meters falls within Health Canada’s Safety Code 6. This provides no assurance of safety because, as many scientists have warned, Safety Code 6 is inadequate and obsolete. It applies only to thermal effects and not to the non-thermal effects associated with microwave radiation from wireless devices like smart meters. In addition, Safety Code 6 does not apply to the general population and neither has it been revised to reflect the recent WHO classification of microwave radiation as a 2B carcinogen.
Of important note to rural areas, is the unfolding science showing damage from microwave radiofrequency radiation to bees and other pollinators, as well as frogs, insects, birds and other wildlife. Given that Langley’s economic base includes agriculture requiring pollination, anything that has the power to disrupt or reduce pollination should be halted immediately, pending further review.
According to Bill 23-2008 of the British Columbia Public Health Act, section 83 (1), a municipality must take action when it learns of something that could be harmful to its residents. It must notify the Minister of Health or take immediate action. At its June 27 Council meeting, the City of Colwood passed a motion to write to the Minister of Health and, due to the potential for wireless smart meters to cause harm or to compromise security, request a moratorium on mandatory installations of wireless meters. The Council also requested that concerned residents be offered safer alternatives at no cost to them.
By this letter I am asking the Mayor and Council of XXXXX to fulfill its responsibility under the Public Health Act and advise the Minister of Health of the dangers associated with wireless smart meters. The municipality cannot order a moratorium because the program is in provincial jurisdiction, but that being so does not relieve the municipal government of the responsibility to bring the potential danger to the Minister’s attention and to request action to ensure safety of the municipality’s residents. Similar requests are being made of Councils across the province.
Given the health, privacy and security concerns associated with the smart meters, I hereby ask the Mayor and Council of XXXX to request the Minister of Health for a moratorium on the mandatory installation of wireless smart meters until the major issues and problems are independently identified and are satisfactorily addressed and that alternative wired solutions are provided at no additional costs to customers.
There is an obvious option for BC Hydro and the Minister of Energy – install wired meters. ITRON (brand that BC Hydro has chosen) makes, sells and installs wired meters which report via telephone lines or fiber optic cable, thus eliminating the electromagnetic radiation problem. The wired capability of ITRON meters can be verified easily in patent details.
In addition, an immediate resolution should be prepared and submitted to the Union of BC Municipalities ( http://www.ubcm.ca/EN/index.html
)for their upcoming meeting asking that this resolution be presented.
Municipalities must stand together against the smart meter program. Please consider contacting the Mayor or Councilors of Colwood, B.C., for further discussion; the City Hall phone no. is 250-478-5999 and on the City of Colwood website each member has a private phone number and email address: https://colwood.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentDisplay.aspx?ID=1688