Maple Ridge residents protest against smart meters
Published Sunday, February 19, 2012 7:05PM PST
Maple Ridge residents are adding their voices to the outcry over BC Hydro's controversial smart meter program.
Residents in a condo building have managed to delay the installation of smart meters at their home. People in 24 of the 28 units signed a petition and sent it to the utility company in January.
Lorraine Kirby, one of the petitioners, said she is concerned about the health risks that smart meters may pose. She said the smart meters would be installed in a closet just outside her unit.
"If they were put outside at a distance, and separated, that might be fine," she said. "But we were not for the clustering and them being so close."
Kirby said BC Hydro has not responded to the petition. On Friday, a notice was posted on a bulletin, saying the meters were going to be replaced next week. Kirby said she called the installation company, and was told the installation is placed on-hold for now.
Still, she is worried that BC Hydro will just install the smart meters at a later date.
"I just think they want to ignore the situation and delay and put in as many meters as possible," she said.
BC Hydro says the smart meters are safe and a needed upgrade. It plans to install 1.8 million by the end of the year. About 800,000 are already in place.
Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin said district council unanimously decided to ask BC Hydro to let people opt-out of the smart meter program.
BC Hydro was not available for comment on Sunday, but in an email, the utility company said there is no opt-out program available.
"However if customers -- in the Maple Ridge community or anywhere else -- have concerns, they can call us with at least a week's notice to request us not to install the new meter," the email said. "We will put a hold on their installation and follow up with them to discuss their questions and provide more information."
BC Hydro said another option may be to install the meter elsewhere on the owner's property, at their expense.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisberger.