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Grassroots opposition to smart meters begins to grow

Smart meters aren’t a smart choice for people in B.C., according to new group organizing to stop their spread.

Called StopSmartMeters.ca, the Nanaimo-based group asked BC Hydro to instruct Corix, the installers of the new smart meters, not to dispose of the existing analogue electrical power meters they are removing.

Corix has announced it will begin disposing of all the analogue meters it has collected while installing smart meters.

“As each fully functional and dependable analogue meter is disposed of a little piece of democracy is lost,” said Walt McGinnis, spokesperson for StopSmartMeters.ca.

“One by one, as the analogue meters are replaced by a microwave emitting surveillance device, our rights and our freedoms are being stolen.”

He felt there was undue haste to get rid of the analogue meters and was a plan by BC Hydro and Corix so British Columbians would have no option but to stay with the new wireless hydrometers.

Currently, StopSmartMeters.ca has announced it will be applying for an official initiative petition under the BC Recall and Initiative Act with the chief electoral officer, and their website (www.stopsmartmeters.ca) will allow people to pre-register for the vote. As of Dec. 11 there were 2,324 people pre-registered.

Like the HST before it, the petition will require signatures from 10 per cent of all registered voters in the province in each riding before a question can be formulated and a referendum vote held.

A referendum vote can only happen once every three years. In 2010 the HST vote was held, meaning, if enough signatures were gathered, a vote on the smart meter program cannot be held until 2013.

But through a new petition, Citizens for Safe Technology (CST) has collected 15,528 signatures against the installation of smart meters, with a goal of 100,000 by Feb. 14. On Nov. 24 CST presented the petition at the legislature in Victoria, asking Energy Minister Rich Coleman to halt the program until the BC Utilities Commission could conduct a review.

Citing reasons of health, privacy, cost, security and safety, John Horgan, NDP energy critic, spoke to the petition that called for a moratorium on the smart meter program (http://citizensforsafetechnology.org/).

McGinnis said some people believe the province has pushed ahead on the program without due diligence or public education, using "implied consent" as the basis of moving ahead with the program.

“There have been many of reports of adverse health effects associated with exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted from smart meters in other jurisdictions,” said McGinnis.

To register your refusal of a BC Hydro wireless smart meter, a form letter from the CST may be useful at: http://citizensforsafetechnology.org/alerts-and-updates-in-news-and-developments,85,0.

The CST said the letter was not a guarantee BC Hydro would not install a smart meter, but it eliminated the "implied consent" argument they use to justify the installation of the meters without notification or permission. 
According to the website, it is recommended that you keep copies for your files, and perhaps post one by your meter.

People can send their letters via electronic mail to: smartmeters@bchydro.com and info.utilities@corix.com.