Residents upset by smart meter installations

Merritt resident Judy Gray’s new smart electricity meter after she had posted a refusal sign warning BC Hydro.

NOVEMBER 26, 2011  JOHN O’CONNOR NEWS EDITOR

A resident of the Sunnyview trailer court in Merritt’s east end says she was intimidated into accepting BC Hydro’s smart meter Friday morning.

BC Hydro has been installing smart meters in the Merritt area for about the last month, as part of its provincewide rollout of the two-way wireless electricity readers, and said it would honour residents who refused meters. The smart meter program is based on implied consent.

But Sunnyview resident Judy Gray, who had a refusal sign posted at her analogue meter, says a Hydro/Corix installer threatened her when he came to the door.

“He told me if I didn’t have it installed, he would shut the power off—hydro would.”

Fearing losing her electricity, Gray says she accepted the meter. She says she has concerns over health effects from the meter as well as concerns over power costs.

“I asked him if the power would go up; he said no.”

Neighbour Millie Mitchell also posted a refusal sign and a smart meter was not installed.

“He knocked on my door and I said I do not want a smart meter on this place,” says Mitchell. “I was aggressive. He asked me if I was refusing it and I said ‘yes’.”

A B.C. coalition to stop smart meters has developed letters of refusal for residents to send to Hydro. At citizensforsafetechnology.org and stopsmartmetersbc.ca, residents are instructed to post no trespassing, meter refusal signs at the site of their meters as well.

Sunnyview owner Rosemary Gorcak posted her own refusal sign at her meter and says several other residents at the 16-trailer court also posted refusal signs.

“I’m overwhelmed the way democracy is doing things these days,” she said after learning what happened to her tenant. “Pretty soon, they’ll want to know everything you’re doing.”

Anti-smart meter neighbourhood “watches” have sprung up in parts of B.C., especially on Vancouver Island, where there is strong opposition to the B.C. Government’s “Clean Energy” program.

The coalition claims two smart meter installations have been reversed by residents in Cache Creek and on Vancouver Island; however, BC Hydro deputy project officer Fiona Taylor told the News Monday that no meter installations have been reversed.

Hydro says the wireless emissions from their smart meters fall well below Industry Canada’s Safety Code 6 limits.

B.C. Energy Minister Rich Coleman says there are no plans at this time for time-of-use billing as part of the smart meter program.

http://www.merrittnews.net/article/20111126/MERRITT0101/111129812/-1/merritt/residents-upset-by-smart-meter-installations

 

2 Responses to “Residents upset by smart meter installations”

  1. Clay says:

    Residents taking steps to prevent smart meter installation

    People are leaving notes and even barricading the devices

    Published: Thursday, December 01, 2011
    Kim Goldberg hopes that a metal strap, a piece of plywood and some screws will keep her old hydro meter where it is.

    The Nanaimo woman has barricaded her analog meter in anticipation of the changeover to smart meters and has told Corix Utilities installers to keep away.

    “I’ve also posted my signage and sent the relevant letters to B.C. Hydro and to Corix,” Goldberg said Wednesday.

    “But the reason I went to the extent to post a barricade is that all over Vancouver Island and beyond there are cases of Corix installers ignoring the posted signs, even when they’re placed right beside the meter, and I just didn’t want to take any chance.”

    Dave Aune of Cedar recently put up a sign on his analog meter expressing his wish to not participate in the new system, but said a Corix installer put in a smart meter anyway.

    He said that two days after he received a notice in the mail, he saw a Corix employee walking away from his neighbour’s house.

    “I didn’t realize he had done mine. I looked over and I saw the neighbour’s. And the next day I realized he’d done mine, too. It only takes a minute to do them, it’s a clip in and clip out thing,” said Aune. “My sign is still hanging there.”

    Aune’s is concerned the new smart meters are an unnecessary expense, that they will put meter-readers out of work, and that the installation is an invasion of property.

    Goldberg’s main worry is what she sees a possible health hazard created by the meter’s wireless connectivity.

    Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro manager of community relations for Vancouver Island, said utility company would work with customers who refuse smart meter installation on an individual basis.

    “We’d call them up and go through

  2. Clay says:

    concerns. . . . Some may have issues regarding privacy, some may have issues with radio frequency. There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” said Olynyk, who wasn’t familiar with Aune’s case.

    Olynyk said that under no circumstances would Corix installers proceed with a smart meter if a homeowner informs them not to, whether by signage or in person.

    He also stressed the importance of keeping meters accessible for safety reasons.

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