Saying no to smart meters

A group of citizens gathered to talk about their concerns over Smart Meters.

A note left next to a meter requesting not to install a Smart Meter.

A note left next to a meter requesting not to install a Smart Meter.

If you walk around Golden’s residential neighbourhoods you may notice the signs on people’s property telling Corix and BC Hydro that smart meters are not welcome.

Citizens for Safe Technology, an international group that aims to educate and protect the public from unsafe wireless technologies, was in Golden on May 10 to give a presentation about the dangers of smart meters, and educate people on how to resist the installations happening in town right now.

“What the utility companies and our government forget to think about, is that our bodies are electric… And the frequencies and currents in our bodies are a lot lower, which means that they can be influenced by anything that is stronger,” said Werner Hoffelinck, a presenter and the Okanagan representative of the Citizens of Technology. Hoffelinck was educated as an electro-mechanical engineer in his home country of Belgium.

“This is what is happening from our ‘smart’ technologies, our cell phones and the smart meters that are right now on their way into the community here,” he said.

The new smart meters, which Hoffelinck says emit very high frequencies almost 24/7, frequencies that travel through walls and our bodies, are being installed all over the province. BC Hydro expects that all old meters will be replaced by the end of 2012.

“We are all being used as guinea pigs in this huge experiment,” he said, raising issues of health concerns for people who are exposed to these frequencies on a regular basis. Only recently have doctors began to explore the effects of electrohypersensitivity (EHS).

“BC Hydro has done no research and no tests on safety,” said Barbara Makota, another presenter who suffered from EHS after working for a cell phone company. She described the symptoms she had to deal with, including painful burning lesions on her face.

Other common symptoms of EMS include difficulty sleeping,  headaches, dizziness, memory problems, nausea and vomiting, heart palpitations and seizures to name a few.

Makota fears that installing these smart meters will dramatically increase the number of people suffering from EMS.

St. Andrews church was full of concerned citizens, hoping to find a way to stop meters from being installed in their home. Many have put up signs on their property, and the Citizens for Safe Technology were also selling locks that physically prevent people from getting to their meters.

One attendee stood up and said that from what she’s seen and heard around town, BC Hydro and the company hired to install the meters, Corix, are respecting the signs.

Hoffelinck corroborated that statement, but added that the safest way to ensure you meter won’t be touched is to lock it. “Once a smart meter is installed in your home, it will be very difficult to have it removed,” he said.

BC Hydro insists that the smart meters are safe, and has statements on their website saying: “Smart meters are safe, as confirmed by health and science authorities including B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Health Canada and the World Health Organization.

“Smart meters communicate for a total average of one minute a day. In fact, exposure to radio frequency during a 20-year life span of a smart meter is equivalent to the exposure during a single 30-minute cell phone call.

“BC Hydro’s smart meters are well below Health Canada’s exposure limits and the precautionary limits set by Switzerland, the country with the most rigorous standards in the world.”

Makota, Hoffelinck and the Citizens for Safe Technology claim that the information BC Hydro is giving out simply isn’t true. And they feel they have a responsibility to stop these meters from being installed.

“We need to buy time, because we are making progress, little by little,” said Hoffelinck. “I know we’re going to stop it, I know. We just don’t know how and when.”