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.