Activists want referendum on B.C. Hydro smart meters

Should one opponent of smart meters get his way, British Columbians might be voting to get rid of them the way they did the harmonized sales tax. “Possibly, they could be doing that,” Walt McGinnis, spokesperson for, told the Straight by phone from Victoria. “First, there are a lot of things that have to happen. We have to get our support registered and people have to find us.”


Do you think B.C. should hold a referendum on B.C. Hydro's smart meters?

Yes 91%
1501 votes
No 8%
129 votes
Don't know 2%
27 votes

McGinnis said that members of will hold a news conference in Victoria on Thursday (November 24) to announce plans for an initiative vote—the same process that led voters to reject the HST.

The event, he said, will show how the Recall and Initiative Act can be applied to the provincial smart-meter program, which was mandated under the Clean Energy Act in 2010. B.C. Hydro plans to install 1.8 million meters in homes and businesses by December 2012.

McGinnis said his group wants to assess its options before committing to overhauling any legislation. Ultimately, he wants a provincewide moratorium pending further study of the effects of smart meters.

Meanwhile, NDP energy critic John Horgan plans to present another petition against smart meters, called Occupy Smart Meters, in the legislature. Horgan did not respond to Straight messages by deadline.

Self-described smart-meter “survivor” Debi Alexander, from Cache Creek, told the Straight that she and her husband signed the petition going to Horgan and would “definitely” support the cause of

Alexander said she underwent chemotherapy last year after being diagnosed with breast cancer. A month ago, a smart meter was installed in the couple’s home, and immediately they began to feel sick. “It started doing that [making them feel ill] on the November long weekend,” she said. They successfully lobbied B.C. Hydro to send someone to remove the meter. According to her, they feel healthier as a result.

Critics such as McGinnis claim that there are too many “weaknesses” to the smart-meter program, not least relating to possible health impacts. “[B.C. Energy and Mines Minister] Rich Coleman is saying that 20 years’ exposure to the radiation emitted from a smart meter is the same as a 30-minute [cell]phone call,” McGinnis said. “Now, what we’ve been asking B.C. Hydro is for their research for their data to support that claim. They haven’t supplied us with it, and that’s because there isn’t any. There is no research to support that claim.”

The same claim is made on B.C. Hydro’s own website in the section explaining smart meters. B.C. Hydro claims smart meters will save taxpayers $70 million in lower rates over the next three years, and “$1.6 billion in avoided costs and increased efficiencies over the next 20 years”.

Coleman and B.C. Hydro smart-meter-program spokesperson Cindy Verschoor did not respond to calls by deadline.

Comments (37) Add New Comment
I thought this goverment was for families. I wonder why then they want these meters to be put in and then lay off a whole group of people who read the meters. Also something doesn't add up. They wanted a rate increase a short while ago and now they say it will save 70 million in lower rates. Figure that one out.I think it's just another TAX GRAB coming. I've talked to people in Ont. who say they have to use their dish washers and do laundry in the middel of the night as it costs too much to do it at peek times now that they have the smart meters in place.
Rating: -5
So do I it is another money scam because BC Hydro is in trouble look at all the outages in the last month, no one at bc hydro has been doing their job and get rid of Richard Coleman also!
Rating: 0
Stan Kazmiruk
What nonsense! I would bet money that if BC Hydro installed a dummy smart meter in that home in Cache Creek, the residents would also start to feel sick, and they would immediately feel better when it was removed. We need some double blind field trials. Psychosomatic illness is a well known and documented phenomenon. Illness from weak radio signals is not. I wonder if those people also use cell phones and cordless phones, and whether those also make them sick.
Rating: +1
I'd like to hear how much electricity is lost on the powerlines....
Smart Meter that FIRST !
Rating: -7
Dave Chisholm
"I've talked to people in Ont. who say they have to use their dish washers and do laundry in the middel of the night as it costs too much to do it at peek times now that they have the smart meters in place." -DS

My god! You mean they are changing their behavior to save money? That's amazing! Thanks for sharing the good news. If we all followed their example we can delay new power plants even longer.

Of course those who find changing their behavior to much of an inconvenience, still have to option of doing their laundry at dinner time. And they will be paying their FAIR share when they do so.

Rating: -9
Lavonne Garnett
I don't think this should be left to a referendum, unless the referendum requests the right to choose whether or not to have a 'Smart Meter' installed or to keep the old meters. Even then, if a minority of people respond in favour of having a referendum, we are still left with the need for Choice. If a minority of people participate in the referendum and a minority chooses not to have wireless Smart Meters, again, we still might not have a choice. I think we need to find out what our constitutional rights are.
Rating: +1
Robert Goode
Smart meters may have a health issue but the big issue with them that they are a surveillance device. They can tell what kind of TV you use, computer or any another appliance and if you left your alarm on and if you are at home. They can tell if you are running a business without a license and a whole bunch of information that they have no right to.
This device is easily hacked the signal is not encrypted and the bad guys will know from your meter everything about you and your habits. Bad guys see you are driving around on your very expensive Harley that you always park out of site in your garage. All they have to do is pick up the signal and find if you are home and is the alarm set and presto you are robbed. So the rich folks have more to lose with these meters that the poor.
The police also think these meters are the best thing since sliced bread because none of your information is protected and the police without warrant can access your files at will.
You are being surveilled 24 hours a day 365 days a year and the information for police, criminals, government and corporations is priceless.
Rating: +2
Robert Goode
Here is video to show you how insidious these surveillance devices are. You are being watched by the power company, police, insurance, government and the bad guys 24/7.
The signal is not encrypted and anyone with very little equipment can watch you all the time.
They know when you are sleeping and they know when you are awake, when you turn on your computer and if you set your alarm.
Rating: +3
re: Lavonne Garnett
"I think we need to find out what our constitutional rights are."

I checked, they're gone, and were never really there in the first place, notwithstanding the heavily circulated "we have rights" myths.
Rating: -2
Marcus Schluschen
The vast majority of people have no understanding of the true dangers that pulsed radiation of smart meters poses to living organisms.

Dr. Henry Lai, professor of bio-engineering at the University of Washington has studied the biological effects of extremely low level radiation of non- ionizing radiation for many years.

Dr. Lai said this recently:" Industries claims, that most research finds no harm is totally false. Reality is quite the opposite. The vast majority of scientific research has proven considerable harm to all living things due to wireless radiation.
Biological damage of pulsed radiation is cumulative and permanent."

Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former head of the WHO, also former prime minister of Norway became a victim of wireless radiation just as Mrs. Alexander.
Dr. Brundtland developed severe electronic hypersensitivity that had live altering implications for her.
Dr. Brundtland is one of Europe's most respected personalities and by profession a medical doctor.

Electronically sensitive people will suffer almost right away from smart meters, while others will pay the cost of ill health later.

Even the most simple minded person must come to realize that pulsed radiation allowed to penetrate or bodies every 3 or 4 seconds, 24/7, year in, year out, will have negative biological consequences for any living thing.

Blanketing the entire planet with man-made radiation is pure insanity and presents an act of extreme violence against all living things.

For real scientific facts and to learn more go to:
This website is by a group of international scientist who actually have done the research and do not, like BC Hydro, indulge in wishful thinking.

Go to to sign the anti smart meter petition.

Rating: +6
Nick Wees
Minister Coleman claims that there are studies that show the smart meters are safe. Okay, Mr. Coleman: show us the studies! Cite them! Because, I can show him numerous studies by independent, professional medical researchers that clearly establish that electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) of the type used by smart meters pose serious health risks.
Rating: -5

6. The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION May 31 2011 placed the Non-ionizing radiation coming from Wireless smart meters (& some other wireless devices) on the Class 2-B Carcinogen List.

7. The NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH Feb 2011 found biological changes in the brain after only minutes of exposure to non-ionizing radiation.

 (1) Human Cell Damage
 (2) DNA Chain Breaks 
(3) Breaches in the Blood-Brain Barrier
 from levels of non-ionizing radiation lower than emitted by WIRELESS Smart meters.

9. INSURANCE COMPANIES Hired Independent Laboratory Scientists and they also observed Cell Damage and DNA Chain Breaks. Now the Insurance Companies will NOT Insure Liability damage from Wireless Smart meters and other wireless devices.
 TV Video (3 minutes)

Cell Phone use and other devices are Voluntary and can be shut off at the user’s discretion, but Smart meters mounted on homes are emitting radiation 24/7 and can not be shut off.

 Video Interview: Nuclear Scientist, Daniel Hirsch, (5 minutes)

Video Interview: Dr. Carpenter, New York Public Health Department, Dean of Public Health, (2 minutes)

 2-page Press Release

NOTE: many of the tests on non-ionizing radiation (the type of radiation emitted by smart meters) have been done using devices other than smart meters because smart meters have only been in people’s homes for a very short time.

But as a Wireless smart meter emits 100 times more radiation than a cell phone, it is not difficult to project. If a machine gun (smart meter) fires 100 bullets in the same time that a pistol (cell phone) fires one bullet, it is not difficult to project the harm that the machine gun can do, even if the tests were done with the pistol.
Rating: 0
James Smith
As for the people who read meters put out of work unfortunate for them but that is due to new technology , ( Which most people use )Ever since the wheel was invented this thing called technology has meant there is less physical work to do. Hopefully those people can be re-trained to do something that takes some more thinking,If they are they will be better off , than most unskilled workers who lose work due to technology and / or mechanization, Likely will get severance or some kind of paid training opportunity .
Should we go back to land line pnones only , to keep more lineman working, and get rid of the wireless telephone and all those signals in the air ,that to some people are considered harmful ? Personally I do not think so.
And what is the difference between an EMF from a cell phone or any other kind of radio signal? If we ban all EMF will that make the smart meter opponents happy? Just Imagine a world without any electomagnetic frequencies at all . Back to the stone age !
Rating: -4
A class action lawsuit in California has brought the following issues in front of the Administrative Judge Amy C. Yip-Kikugawa, who ordered PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, and Southern California Gas Company to explain Smart Meter transmission details.
• misleading representation
• public exposure to pulsing RF radiation
• UL misrepresentation
• failure to disclose smart meter defects
• misrepresentation concerning FCC guidelines
• unlawful use of customer property
• excessive conduction
• excessive RF radiation
• failure to investigate customer complaints
• Americans with Disabilities Act Violation
• customer discrimination
Rating: +1
Jacqueline Little
What Rich Coleman and Christy Clark are doing to us is criminal. It's classified as crimes against humanity and they can't plead ignorance. They've received tons of letters from concerned citizens asking them to stop this smart meter madness, and yet they continue. The municipalities voted for a moratorium, and they don't care. There's enough scientific evidence out there from non-industry sponsored scientists that they should know better. For starters they should have checked out:
I'm thankful to Joyce Nelson from the Watershed Sentinel for keeping us informed on this smart meter fiasco, and the countless other resources being made available to us. Forcing this on people who don't want microwave strength pulsed radiation transmitting into their homes and through their bodies is criminal.
Rating: +3
Eva Lyman
Hitler and Stalin would have loved smart meters! How easily they could be adapted to watch your every move and hear every word you speak in the privacy of your home!

Also a sick population is less likely to fight against a government/corporate dictatorship, and finally it will quietly kill off those less strong among us, so reduce world population. It's worse than "1984" and the Brave New World!

And I thought I could have a healthy and quiet old age!
Rating: +3
Felicia N Trujillo, ND
In the US, Maryland, Idaho, Connecticut and Hawaii have refused the SmartMeters rollout; Connecticut because no provision is made for those on life support systems at home...for more:
Idaho has wired SmartMeters. They also do not sell customer data:
There have been many fires reported due to smart meters. Some, like this
one, are right at the meter itself.

Older homes are especially vulnerable to this arcing caused by very high electricity bursts during communication with appliances. People who have been at home at the time of these fires have reported flames shooting from the outlets.

In Texas, lawmakers actually did something good related to the smart meter debacle– they included in the law that the data about your electricity usage belongs to you, the customer.

Hawaii regulators scuttle plan for expanded rollout of smart grid technology
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii regulators have rejected plans for a broad expansion of smart grid electric technology that would have been paid for by residents and businesses. "Our office was concerned that the investment would be made but ratepayers wouldn't see the benefits," said Dean Nishina, executive director for the state Division of Consumer Advocacy.

Rejected from Stimulus Funding, Dayton Power & Light Says No to Smart Meters In a surprising move, DP&L asked the Public Utility Commission of Ohio to be allowed to withdraw its Advanced Metering Infrastructure and Smart Grid business cases that were approved in June 2009.

DP&L’s caution is not unfounded given the ongoing drama facing PG&E and its smart meter program, which is still reeling from a revolt by a segment of the public wary over possible privacy intrusions and misplaced fears of physical harm.

Xcel, the pioneer of SmartGridCity in Boulder, Colorado, also was dealt a setback recently by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission that temporarily slashed its smart grid cost recovery slashed its smart grid cost recovery by roughly a third. And in Westerville, Ohio, the city cancelled its smart meter plan last year amid fears by skeptics that smart meters will erode privacy. However, the city council this week approved the installation of smart meters for businesses and some schools.
Rating: -2
Freedom of choice, we are the consumer.
Rating: +4
I'm going off-grid in the suburbs because of smart meters.
Rating: +3
Steve Y
Pro: putting over paid meter readers out of business
Con: jacking up the price of electricity regardless of the savings...
Rating: +2


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