1) It’s time for us all to put pressure on our new government to rescind the unfair, reprehensible laws that force us all to have smeters on our homes. Please read the thorough and well-written letter below, written by a member, and consider sending your own. The writer has provided helpful information that can be used to ask for this action. As well, she has recommended that actual letters be sent to all of those copied as well as your own MLA. Actual letters, sent via Canada Post, are harder to ignore and are a rare occurrence these days which may lead to them getting some attention.
(click on photos to enlarge)
The mailing addresses can be found in the BC MLA Finder under BC Contact E-mail Lists in the Coalition website:
2) In Arizona, the Court of Appeal found in favor of a man who charged that essential information regarding health studies re. RF/smeters was withheld by the PUC. The BCUC ignored the scientific evidence that was presented by 6 experts and found in favor of Exponent, a company paid to defend industry – any industry regardless of how dangerous it is.
Sedona man gets new chance to prove regulators withheld information on smart meters
A Sedona resident is going to get his chance to prove state utility regulators illegally withheld information about a study of the health effects of “smart” meters.
3) A site that is new to me that is dedicated to providing information about various topics that are important to help keep kids safe and healthy. Here is one page about EMR/RF.
Moms Across America
4) In the UK, a major utility is misleading, bullying its customers re. smeters and is facing a backlash. People there have a choice to keep their analogs. Why are BC Hydro and FortisBC the only utilities that seem to be unable to manage their grid if some of their customers have analog meters? And where is our “watchdog”?
Eon under fire over smart meter bullying: Energy firm agrees to review communications after we report it to watchdog
Eon is changing the information it sends to customers about smart meters after Money Mail reported the firm to the energy watchdog.
Last week, we revealed most of the big energy companies are using high-pressure tactics to push customers into getting this new type of meter, which uses wireless signals to tell the supplier how much energy you use.
5) A middle school in Victoria has banned cell phones and the process has gone surprisingly well.
Transition to cellphone-free classrooms smooth: principal
“A virtual ban on cellphone use at Central Middle School — a first in the Greater Victoria School District — has already had an effect.
“It’s sort of surreal — you come into the building and there are no phones around,” said Central principal Topher Macintosh, noting only two phones have had to confiscated since the policy kicked in in September, although some students might have cellphones stashed in their backpacks.
A small number of Central students needing to use cellphones to contact family after school are allowed to keep them in the office during the day, but otherwise there is a ban at the 580-student facility.
“It’s gone very well in a lot of ways,” Macintosh said. “We knew we wanted that change, but we didn’t think it was going to be that challenging to implement in the building, and it really hasn’t been.”
6) A 45 minute audio interview with Dr. Klinghardt about RF, EHS, mercury and heavy metals, smeters, and 5G. A very interesting interview.
EMF Pollution and Disease – The Untold Truth.
To: Hon. John Horgan, Premier <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Hon. Carole James, Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier <carole.james.MLA@leg.bc.ca>; Hon. Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources <michelle.mungall.MLA@leg.bc.ca>; Hon. David Eby, Attorney General <david.eby.MLA@leg.bc.ca>; Hon. Mike Farnworth, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General <mike.farnworth.MLA@leg.bc.ca>; Hon. Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure <claire.trevena.MLA@leg.bc.ca>; Dr. Andrew Weaver, MLA and Leader of the BC Green Party <email@example.com>; Hon. Scott Fraser, MLA Mid-Island and Pacific Rim <scott.fraser.MLA@leg.bc.ca>
Topic: Necessity of creating a universal and permanent opt-out choice in the BC Hydro Smart Metering and Infrastructure Program.
Problem: Because of arbitrary and discriminatory legislation passed by previous Liberal governments, thousands of BC Hydro customers are or soon will be denied their right to refuse installation of a risk-prone wireless smart meter on their own homes and to keep their safe analog meters indefinitely. Many more thousands have been refused their requests to have wireless smart meters that have already been installed on their own homes against their will removed and replaced with safe analog meters. Since the legislation denying these choices is in direct violation of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees Canadians the right to make important personal decisions for themselves, it is technically illegal.
When BC Hydro first began installing wireless smart meters in 2011, 58 BC municipal councils passed a resolution – one that was approved by the Union of BC Municipalities – calling for a moratorium on smart meters due to health and safety concerns. All were ignored. As well, approximately 250,000 BC Hydro account holders, each representing an entire household, also expressed their written concerns and their personal intentions to refuse installation based on the risks involved. They were also ignored.
Under the Charter, Canadians have the right to refuse even perceived or potential threats to their personal health, safety, security or privacy. The risks involved with wireless smart meters are proven and well documented (please see representative samples in the Appendix), with more evidence mounting daily. These include:
- Risks to health. There are many hundreds of peer-reviewed studies proving that exposure to the radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF, also known as microwave radiation) emitted by cell phones and other wireless devices such as smart meters, Wi-Fi routers, baby monitors, etc. have negative biological effects. Despite being classified as a Class 2B carcinogen by the World Health Organization in 2011, exposure to RF-EMF is not addressed by Safety Code 6.
- Grave risks to safety. The Itron wireless smart meters chosen by BC Hydro have design flaws that pose a fire hazard. They have never been certified safe, either by the CSA or by any independent professional electrical engineer licensed to practice in BC, as is required by law for all other electrical devices. See Sharon Noble’s well-documented July 2017 report of the many fires and explosions in smart meters in BC in the Appendix.
- Risks to privacy. One of the main purposes of smart meters is to collect granular personal data on electricity use that has nothing to do with billing. The consensus among analysts is that the monetary value of this data will eventually exceed the value of the electricity sold.
- Risks to security. Every smart meter is an entry point for hackers to potentially disrupt or even bring down the grid.
- Prohibitive costs. Electricity rates have gone up everywhere smart meters have been introduced, yet there is no evidence anywhere of more than negligible overall energy savings.
Current BC legislation preventing BC Hydro customers from refusing a wireless smart meter and retaining or getting back an analog meter include Section 17, Part 5 (Smart Meters) and BC Reg. 368/2010 (Smart Meters and Smart Grid Regulation) of the Clean Energy Act (SBC 2010, c 22); subsequent changes to the Utilities Commission Act and the Electric Tariff; and especially Direction No. 4 to the BC Utilities Commission (BC Reg. 203/2013), dated September 25, 2013. There may be other specific legislation linked to these regulations.
Direction No. 4 in particular is problematic, specifically demanding that the BC Utilities Commission “refrain from exercising its power…with respect to the installation and operation of legacy meters, smart meters and radio-off meters.” In other words, it forbids the BCUC from doing its job. Thus enabled, BC Hydro’s so-called Meter Choices Program arbitrarily allows some customers – but only those who had somehow managed to prevent BC Hydro from installing a wireless smart meter before December 1, 2013 – to retain their safe, harmless, secure and reliable analog meters by paying a “legacy fee” of $32.40 per month for “manual reading and infrastructure costs.” This is by far the highest opt-out fee in North America where, in many jurisdictions, such fees are more like $5.00 or $10.00 per month.
Meter reading costs have always been covered in rates, so as of October 1, 2017, customers who still have their analog meters will have paid (over and above the reading fees included in the rates) $1,490.40 each, plus GST, just to prevent installation of a wireless smart meter. Total legacy fees collected by BC Hydro since December 2013 amount to somewhere between $14 million and $20 million. There has been no description of the infrastructure supposedly needed to accommodate analog meters, no mention of the disposition of that infrastructure as the number of legacy meter holders inevitably declines by attrition, and no accounting for how these millions of dollars were actually spent.
Direction No. 4 also stipulates that all analog meters must be replaced when their Measurement Canada seals expire. Since BC Hydro simply refuses to stock or refurbish any more analog meters, even customers who have thus far retained their analog meters by paying exorbitant “legacy fees” will eventually have them replaced by wireless smart meters, with or without a functioning transmitter. This stipulation is again totally arbitrary, since new analog meters are still being manufactured and can easily be procured. It is also highly misleading, since Measurement Canada absolutely does not require that meters with expired seals be replaced; only that they be re-certified, which they are perfectly willing to do if requested. Also, Measurement Canada does not stipulate which type of meters can be used – only that they be accurate – and has no objection at all to the use of analog meters. Many thousands of analogs are in use Canada and all across North America, and all mesh perfectly well with smart grids.
In short, Direction No. 4 prevents the BCUC from exercising its legal and proper duty of oversight. It discriminates against the many thousands of BC Hydro customers who were unable to prevent unwanted installation of a wireless smart meter before December 2013, or who could not afford to pay nearly $400 yearly to keep their analog meters, or who ran afoul of one or another of the other arbitrary rules of Direction No. 4 and were forced either to accept a wireless smart meter or be denied service. Direction No. 4 also effectively mandates, sooner or later, a wireless smart meter on every household taking service from BC Hydro. Because of the well-documented risks to health, safety, security and privacy, this is undemocratic, arbitrary, unfair, and a violation of Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Standard opt-out meters
To those relatively few customers who qualified for the Meter Choices Program by still retaining their analog meters as of December 1, 2013, BC Hydro currently offers the option of a wireless smart meter with the transmitter disabled (“radio-off” smart meter) as their standard opt-out installation once the seal of a qualifying customer’s analog meter expires. This is unacceptable. Radio-off meters still emit small amounts of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (proven in Utility Commission hearings on opt-out meter types in California). They are still fire hazards made of cheap plastic – unlike solid metal-and-glass analogs – and have never been certified safe by any independent body or, as required by law, by a professional electrical engineer in BC. They can still be hacked. They are still an invasion of privacy, as they still collect granular information about energy use far beyond that necessary for billing, and by which a household can be identified. Itron radio-off meters can also be turned into radio-on meters remotely, without the homeowner’s knowledge or permission.
In addition to these valid customer objections, it makes no financial sense for BC Hydro to use radio-off smart meters instead of analogs for the standard opt-out meter.
- Whether the transmitter is disabled or not, the initial Itron smart meters chosen by BC Hydro cost $555 apiece, more than in any jurisdiction in North America. An analog meter costs less than $50.
- Even with the radio off, smart meters are essentially small computers and must have their software upgraded often. Their usable life (as opposed to a claimed 20-year shelf life for the actual hardware) thus averages seven years or less. A mechanical analog meter needs no maintenance whatever and performs reliably for 35 to 50 years.
- A radio-off smart meter can only be read with a special digital probe. An analog meter can be read by anyone, including homeowners, with a few minutes of training.
- A radio-off smart meter collects data that is unnecessary for billing and, since it is as old as two months before being collected, is useless for load-balancing analysis. An analog meter provides BC Hydro with every bit of information necessary for billing.
Conclusion: The only safe, harmless, secure, non-invasive electrical meters that exist are mechanical analog meters. Analog meters also have the lowest initial cost, zero maintenance costs, the greatest reliability, and by far the longest life. Whether looking at the problem from a standpoint of safety, legality (and potential liability), Charter rights, fairness or simple right and wrong, the inescapable conclusion is that mechanical analog meters should be made available to all BC Hydro customers upon request and without having to pay blatantly extortionist fees.
Any of the concerns outlined above – indefensible costs, risks to health, risks to privacy and security, and most alarmingly the proven risk of fire and explosions – are reason enough to recall all Itron smart meters in BC and replace them with safe, reliable analogs. However, doing so will require a long time, a lot of red tape, and considerable expense. Even if all current Itron wireless smart meters are recalled as fire hazards – as they should be – there is an urgent need for a true, universal opt-out upon request for BC Hydro customers who may find unacceptable risks in their replacements. As things stand now, there is no choice whatever except to be exposed, by law, to the risks of whatever meter BC Hydro demands that we accept.
Smoking is a personal choice, and some people choose to smoke despite the proven health risks. Buying and using cell phones – or not buying or using them because of the risks of microwave radiation – is a personal choice. But at least those who do use cell phones have the option to use them in a safer way, such as through headphones or texting, and of keeping them away from children, who are more vulnerable to microwave radiation. There is no permanent personal choice at all about wireless smart meters for customers of BC Hydro, even though the meters being objected to are installed, against their will, on their own homes. This must be changed.
Remedy sought: The current government can easily provide a near-immediate, cost-effective solution for the thousands of people whose Charter rights to make their own important personal decisions are being denied. What one government can decree in mean-spirited, arbitrary and undemocratic actions, another government can just as easily undo, thus re-establishing fairness, justice and common sense. It surely cannot be difficult, time-consuming or expensive to establish a universal, permanent opt-out from the installation of wireless smart meters, with mechanical analog meters as the standard for those who choose to opt out.
These are the minimum actions needed:
1. Rescind Direction No. 4 to the BC Utilities Commission (BC Reg. 203/2013).
2. Amend the relevant sections of the Clean Energy Act (SBC 2010, c 22) to allow the permanent installation and indefinite use of any electrical meter type, including analog meters, that has been certified for accuracy by Measurement Canada.
3. Amend the BC Utilities Commission Act, the Electric Tariff and any other pertinent legislation to agree with points 1 and 2.
4. Advise the Lieutenant Governor to issue a new Direction to the BC Utilities Commission allowing BC Hydro customers to permanently opt-out from the Smart Metering and Infrastructure Program upon request; to make mechanical analog meters the standard meter for opt-out customers; and to direct BC Hydro to establish and keep a stock of new or refurbished mechanical analog meters available at all times.
5. Request the BCUC to direct BC Hydro to establish and operate a customer self-reported meter readings line via touch telephone, and/or a web site to which customers can email monthly photos of their meters with a date stamp. One or two BC Hydro manual readings per year would be more than sufficient for verification. If any opt-out fees at all are proven to be necessary, the BCUC should be directed to establish that these fees not exceed $10 per month, and be reduced or waived for low-income households.
Since you may not be familiar with the growing evidence of the myriad risks of wireless smart meters, I am sending this by email so that the links in the Appendix – just a few samples of the many thousands of studies and reports available – can be easily accessed. Please take the time to review them. I will also be sending a signed hard copy of this message by Canada Post.
I look forward to your response. If you have any questions or need more information I am more than happy to oblige.
Carol W. Hall (name given with permission)
Evidence for objections (a tiny sample of the information available)
Harmful health effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (microwave radiation) such as emitted by wireless smart meters:
Fire hazards of smart meters installed in BC:
BCUC & Smart Meter Fires: The Failure to Protect, compiled by Sharon Noble, July 2017
Violations of privacy:
Vulnerability of wireless smart meters to hacking:
Excessive costs of smart meters:
Problematic BC legislation
Section 17, Part 5 of the Clean Energy Act (SBC 2010, c 22):
Smart Meters and Smart Grid Regulation (BC Reg. 368/2010):
Direction No. 4 to the BC Utilities Commission, September 25, 2013 (BC 203/2013):
Other pertinent information
Measurement Canada: Questions and answers on electricity meters (inc. smart meters):
BC Hydro Meter Choices Program: