Victoria resident Sharon Noble protests at a demonstration against smart meters in downtown Vancouver.

Victoria resident Sharon Noble protests at a demonstration against smart meters in downtown Vancouver.

B.C.’s high court unplugs smart meter appeal

Ruling leaves human rights complaint based on electromagnetic sensitivity still to be heard

Opponents of B.C. Hydro’s smart meters have lost a legal challenge against the nearly complete province-wide installation of the wireless devices.

The B.C. Court of Appeal refused to consider an appeal by Andrea Collins and Citizens for Safe Technology (CST) in a written ruling released Nov. 13.

The smart meter opposition group had hoped to halt the ongoing rollout by getting the court to rule that the program did not have a required certificate from the B.C. Utilities Commission and that the province’s exemption from that requirement wasn’t legal.

The utilities commission had previously rejected the claims but Collins and CST tried appealing it to B.C.’s top court.

The court found no substantive grounds to hear a full appeal.

The defeat leaves smart meter opponents hoping the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal will uphold their complaint – to be heard in the new year – that the mandatory installation of wireless meters discriminates against residents who claim to suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

“Hopefully the human rights tribunal will recognize B.C. Hydro is coming between patients and their doctors and recognize that electro-sensitivity is a growing concern around the world,” said Victoria smart meter activist Sharon Noble.

Hydro contractors have already installed more than 95 per cent of the 1.7 million new smart meters in virtually all of B.C. except the Gulf Islands.

But Noble said she believes there are still many holdouts and added the opposition won’t give up – even if B.C.’s smart grid is completed.

“Just because it’s in doesn’t mean it’s right,” she said. “This is a major problem. It’s not going to go away just because Hydro has finished their installation.”

Noble said she and many other opponents will go off the grid before they accept smart meters in their homes and said they will keep fighting for Hydro customers to have the option to have a wired meter instead.

New legal challenges are possible, she added.

Hydro maintains its wireless smart meter network is safe and public health authorities in B.C. have said they have no concerns.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tanvi Pandhi, a Grade 12 student at Fleetwood Park Secondary, took part in the Surrey school district’s survey of students in grades 10 to 12, with a focus on health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey students voice concerns about mask wearing, distancing in schools

Surrey school district has been surveying students in grades 10 to 12

Cambridge Elementary School music teacher Darlene Lourenco is “on the mend” after contracting COVID-19. She had a two-week stay at Surrey Memorial Hospital, including in the ICU. (Photo: submitted)
Surrey music teacher at home after two-week hospital stay battling COVID-19

Meantime, Surrey Teachers’ Association sends letter with safety demands to board of education

The Peninsula Community Foundation is set to host an online poker fundraiser on Dec. 11. (Unsplash photo)
Peninsula Community Foundation plans online poker tournament for charity

December fundraiser to feature pair of Surrey/White Rock poker pros

Lacey, a palomino paint, is in “amazing” shape now, compared to when she was rescued in August 2015. (Leanne Peniuk photo)
BC SPCA’s horse-rescue program offers equine intervention

Book Rescue Me raises funds, awareness for animal-welfare agency

Hugh Dobbie’s South Surrey-based tech business Yare Media was recently acquired by California’s Visaic Inc. (SFU photo)
South Surrey tech company acquired by California business

Hugh Dobbie founded Yare Media in 2016, and ‘will remain involved’

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read