In order to continue with renovations, my neighbours needed to have their electric service relocated. A few weeks ago they asked BC Hydro (BCH) to do the switch-over and BCH said they would, but they’d be replacing their robust/reliable analog meter with a so-called ‘Smart’ Meter. My neighbours said they didn’t want a Smart Meter – they’ve been on BCH’s Do Not Install list from the getgo – and the representative basically said the choice was either switch-over and Smart Meter or no switch-over. (Blackmail if I ever saw it!) Because they needed the switch-over, my neighbours booked an appointment.
We thought about organising a demonstration but decided against it because of concern the crew would see it and turn around without doing the switch-over, thus bringing renovations to a halt, no doubt for a long time. Instead, the neighbour and I met the crew and told the well-informed-and-spoken clean coveralled spokesman (BCH management in disguise I suspected) that lots of people are very upset about Smart Meters in general and this blackmail attempt in particular, and is there any way they can leave the analog meter? Answer - no … a Smart Meter has to be installed or else no switch-over. With that confirmed, we then had what I considered a decent discussion – us saying our local governments and 630 Gabriolans in a petition had called for a moratorium on the Smart Meter program and why so many are upset etc., and him saying he and BCH are well aware of all that, but have no choice, orders are coming from the government … that’s where we need to put the pressure. We said BCH had promised not to force a Smart Meter on any customer until concerns were addressed and he said that applied to existing services but not new ones and this was a new one. We said it wasn’t a new service, it was an existing service being moved, and he said no, it was a new service because the replacement of a B+ analog meter* (which this was) had been deemed to be a new installation by higher ups (!).
When we asked who decided this so we could refute the claim, he said he couldn’t say – the info had come during a conference call and he couldn’t say for sure who was speaking (!).
He assured us the new meter wouldn’t be transmitting – the pole-mounted transceivers haven’t been installed on Gabriola yet. We told him electromagnetic radiation is only one concern – there are many others such as democracy, privacy, grid security, etc.
I asked if his bosses know there’s apt to be trouble if Corix comes back to Gabriola and he said they do – with a chuckle which to me indicated they’re well aware of what Gabriolans are capable of. (As well as the Corix greeting last October there was the gas-fired generating plant duke-out in 2002-3.) We then thanked him for the conversation and left. Shiny new Itron meter now in place.
Rest assured we’ll be pursuing this.
The BC government and BCH appear determined to complete the Smart Meter installation program by the end of 2012 despite the public outcry. With 1.6 of 1.9 million BC Smart Meters now installed, Corix will be back soon. For those who only want basic information on this issue, I recommend What’s Wrong with the Wireless Smart Meter in the Sep-Oct 2011 Watershed Sentinal (www.watershedsentinel.ca). If your interest goes beyond that, I recommend Joyce Nelson’s Plans for Renewable Energy - Spin and Lies for a Global Energy Grid in the same issue, and the Coalition to Stop Smart Meters website (www.stopsmartmetersbc.ca).
To join a Gabriola list-serve in which Smart Meter matters are discussed by e-mail, send an e-mail to GabNoSmsemail@example.com. More information about the list-serve, including how to un-subscribe, will be available once you sign up.
* Customers enrolled in the B+ program were given an analog meter that recorded consumption according to whether it took place during high or low demand time of day. Customers would get a lower rate for consumption during low demand time – a simple but effective way of reducing peak demand and hence the need for new generating facilities – no Smart Meter required.
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