Comox Valley smart meter critics heard by regional district

Upwards of 100 people jammed regional district chambers Tuesday to show their disapproval of wireless smart meters.

Upwards of 100 people jammed regional district chambers Tuesday to show their disapproval of wireless smart meters, which are being installed in the Comox Valley.William Thomas of Hornby Island, a freelance journalist representing an Area A group dubbed Royston Citizens for Safe Technology, told the CVRD board the meters are not cheap, healthy or secure. Locally, he claims too many people have seen their hydro bills at least double where meters have been installed.”Their experiences are far too common,” said Thomas, noting appliances can be “fried by meters.”Worse yet, Thomas said people — whom he described as “water-filled antennas” — are also having their circuits blown.Last year, BC Hydro awarded Corix the installation contract. The first meters were installed in the summer. Advocacy groups claim the meters emit radiation, increase the likelihood of structure fires and — by recording details of power usage — violate privacy rights. B.C. Hydro says the meter initiative is a conservation effort that enables customers to see their usage and adjust electricity consumption accordingly.Thomas criticized BC Hydro for not testing the meters under a full load, and for neglecting to consult with residents.”Safe electricity is a basic human necessity,” he said, noting North America is lagging behind Europe when it comes to the smart meter debate. “Municipalities must take action. We must be as firm and decisive as BC Hydro…Otherwise they will run over us,” he said to resounding applause.Thomas asked the board to sign a moratorium on mandatory meter installation. Upwards of 40 councils in B.C. have voted in favour of the request.The board will hear from BC Hydro at its June 12 committee of the whole meeting before making a decision. Courtenay council passed a similar motion this week.reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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