Anti-smart meter group not deterred by commission’s decision

A bank of smart meters. - File photo
A bank of smart meters.
— image credit: File photo

The B.C. Utilities Commission’s dismissal of a complaint by an anti-smart meter group trying to put a stop to BC Hydro’s installation of the meters will only serve to move the complaint to the next level, the group says.

Citizens for Safe Technology executive director Una St. Clair said it is just the beginning, not the end, of her group’s war against the wireless meters Hydro is intent on rolling out in B.C.

“We have expected this to go to appeal,” she said Monday. “This is no surprise to us. We’re trying to get it into the B.C. Court of Appeal, where we feel it has more chance to be reviewed properly.”

St. Clair said that in a context in which both the Union of B.C. Municipalities and 34 individual municipalities have called for a moratorium and/or an opt-out choice for those who oppose smart-meter deployment, the BCUC decision calls into question the commission’s effectiveness as both a protector of the public and an independent voice respecting democratic process.

“Those municipalities represent some two million people,” St. Clair said. “There are around 4½ million in B.C. That’s almost half of the population saying the meter deployment should be reviewed.”

CST applied to the commission in late December seeking a “freeze” on the installation of wireless electricity consumption meters. Lawyer David Aaron argued that while the province’s Clean Energy Act exempts the installation from commission approval, the legislation doesn’t cover the “wireless and snooping component of the smart meter program.”

The commission found the term “snooping” referred to a radio chip in each meter that would only be activated if the customer wishes to install an in-home feedback device to show electricity consumption readings from the meter on a small wall display.

The commission also noted that the provincial legislation did not prescribe any particular kind of meter, but left the technical details to BC Hydro engineers.

But St. Clair tore into the commission’s decision.

“It’s looking like our independent review panel is spouting B.C. Hydro mush,” she said.

- with files from Tom Fletcher


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