Over the past year, smart meters have been a major topic of discussion in B.C. as B.C. Hydro set about modernizing the province's electrical grid and updating its aging infrastructure [“Smart-meter concerns keep coming forward”, December 1-8].
With old-fashioned analogue electrical meters—the kind most people are familiar with—an electrical utility has no way of knowing how much electricity is actually being consumed along the grid (or where) at any given moment in time. To ensure that there is enough electricity available to reliably meet consumption, utilities must therefore put more electricity onto the grid than they expect will be used. If more is put onto the grid than is being used, a significant amount is wasted. And depending upon the time of year, this ranges from eight to 14 percent.
With digital smart meters, however, electrical utilities are able to receive real-time measurement data about the electricity demands being placed on the distribution grid. This information allows utilities to gauge more precisely how much electricity actually needs to be placed on the grid (and where) at any given moment, while still maintaining reliability of service.
The result is a significant reduction in wasted electricity because better data leads to less wasted energy, while also helping to avoid the capital cost of new generating, transmission, and distribution infrastructure.
> David Field / B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
Anyone who wonders about health risks in relation to B.C. Hydro's smart meters should be much more concerned about the imminent implementation of a Wi-Fi network in Vancouver. Super Wi-Fi systems use an extremely strong signal, which can penetrate concrete structures.
There has been no relevant safety testing of the rapidly developing Wi-Fi technologies. Existing standards are based on less powerful signals, and measure their effect on adult bodies with a maximum exposure of six minutes. There is absolutely no evidence that prolonged—or in the case of Wi-Fi networks 24/7—exposure is safe. As a parent, I am profoundly concerned about the unavoidable exposure of children, whose small, rapidly growing bodies are particularly at risk of environmental health impacts.
Martin Blank, a Columbia University professor of physiology, has stated: “The scientific evidence tells us that our safety standards are inadequate, and that we must protect ourselves from exposure to EMF.”
> Katherine Taylor / Vancouver