27 July 2011 – 2:27pm
VICTORIA, BC –– All jurisdictions imposing blanket implementation of wireless Smart Meters face citizen backlash. Many have placed a moratorium on the installation of wireless Smart Meters pending further study. Others have cancelled their programs.
BC Greens support development of a Smart Grid, of which Smart Meters may be one small and expensive component. If we are to encourage conservation, many other things need to be in place long before a decision is made to purchase a different kind of meter. The type of meter should be the last part of the plan and only implemented if they are proven cost effective and safe.
BC Greens believe feed-in-tariffs, time of day pricing, incentives for conservation, programs and incentives to make homes and buildings more energy efficient, and a distributed grid must all be in place before switching meters. A cost benefit analysis needs to be presented to the public. BC should not follow Ontario down the road to higher costs and no net benefit. As well, wireless technology poses a potential risk to health and the environment and further research that is independent of industry funding is needed.
Prior to implementation, all aspects of the plan must be placed before the regulator. The Clean Energy Act has done the opposite and removed the ability of the BC Utilities Commission to provide oversight on behalf of the citizens of BC.
Magda Havas is Associate Professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University where she teaches and does research on the biological effects of environmental contaminants. Since the 1990s, Dr. Havas’s research has focused on the biological effects of electromagnetic pollution including radio frequency radiation, electromagnetic fields, dirty electricity, and ground current. She works with diabetics as well as with individuals who have multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and those who are electrically hypersensitive.
Dr. Havas joins Jane Sterk, leader of the Green Party of BC in calling for cancelling implementation of the wireless smart meters. Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich supports this change.
“The smart meter program is another example of unsupportable assumptions based on industry lobbying rather than best practices,” says Jane Sterk, leader of the Green Party of BC. “Greens believe all public policy should be evidence based and founded in the Precautionary Principle.
“BC Hydro’s wireless smart meter program violates that principle. There are environmental, privacy and security concerns as well as the potential for adverse health risks. This is an issue that hits at the heart of democratic rights. Individuals have no ability to opt out of a program that may impact the health of those with electro-magnetic sensitivity,” says Sterk.
“I have great concern regarding the current levels of microwave radiation in North America,” says Dr. Magda Havas. “Instead of promoting wireless technology, we should be promoting wired technology and reserving wireless for situations where wired in not possible.
“Shortly after X-rays were discovered, they were used in shoe stores to determine shoe-size for young children. Fortunately, we recognized that X-rays were harmful and we restricted their use to essential medical diagnoses.
“We need to recognize that microwaves are also harmful and we cannot use this technology in a frivolous manner. With more frequencies being used, with the levels of radiation increasing, and with so little research on the long-term, low-level effects of this technology we are creating a potential time bomb. If smart meters are placed on every home, they will increase our exposure to radio frequency radiation–a potential human carcinogen–and this is both unwise and unsafe,” says Havas.
“The Green Party of Canada, through a resolution of our entire membership, has called for the current inadequate Health Canada regulations to be upgraded to the equivalent of the EMF regulations in Germany,” says Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada. “We are entirely too complacent about the growing evidence of health effects from wireless technology.”
The Green Party of BC is calling on the provincial government to stop BC Hydro’s implementation of wireless smart meters, to call formal public hearings on the program, to gather third party independent data on the health effects of wireless, and to put all aspects of the process under the purview of the BC Utilities Commission.
“BC Greens believe people should have a right to feel safe and secure in their own homes,” says Sterk. “As it stands now, people cannot opt-out of the smart meter program.
“We favour a well formulated long-term plan with conservation as the driver. Most conservation goals could be achieved without replacing any meters. If it is determined we need new meters, people still need to be able to say no. With pricing and incentives and technology that has been demonstrated to be safe, opting in can be made the more attractive option,” concludes Sterk.