Activists want referendum on B.C. Hydro smart meters

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      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.”

      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.


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      Nov 24, 2011 at 7:39am

      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.


      Nov 24, 2011 at 9:48am

      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!

      Stan Kazmiruk

      Nov 24, 2011 at 12:04pm

      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.


      Nov 24, 2011 at 1:54pm

      I'd like to hear how much electricity is lost on the powerlines....
      Smart Meter that FIRST !

      Dave Chisholm

      Nov 24, 2011 at 4:40pm

      "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.

      Lavonne Garnett

      Nov 24, 2011 at 4:51pm

      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.

      Robert Goode

      Nov 24, 2011 at 5:51pm

      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.

      Robert Goode

      Nov 24, 2011 at 6:02pm

      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.


      Nov 24, 2011 at 6:44pm

      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.

      Marcus Schluschen

      Nov 24, 2011 at 8:25pm

      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.