Vancouver to push BC Hydro on smart meters
Published Wednesday, May 2, 2012 6:07PM PDT
Vancouver city council has voted to pressure BC Hydro to give residents the right to opt-out of the divisive smart meter program.
The motion from councillor Adriane Carr was passed unanimously Wednesday after council heard from dozens of angry citizens.
Joelly Collins, the daughter of singer Phil Collins, was among those asking for the right to opt out of the mandatory meter installations, an option California citizens have.
"This is a democratic society, yet I feel that something has been forced upon me without my knowledge or consent. And it is outrageous that I've had to consider possibly where I can live," she told councillors.
Like many other speakers, Collins fears possible negative health from electromagnetic radiation, even though there's no clear evidence the meters are dangerous.
"I have three on the wall at my place of work. They make me feel sick," she said.
For Carr, the issue comes down to transparency in the utility's decision-making process.
"Somehow they made a decision -- who knows how -- behind closed doors. No public discussion, roll-out of a mandatory program -- it's shoddy in terms of any kind of democratic process," she told CTV News.
But BC Hydro is adamant that it's just too expensive and unwieldy to allow some people to maintain old meters or get wired-in versions.
"They've always had the option of moving the smart meter to a different location on their property that is more suitable to them," spokeswoman Cindy Verschoor said. "The meters are part of the necessary infrastructure that we need to get power to your home. They're the new global standard."
It will now be up to the provincial minister responsible for BC Hydro, Rich Coleman, to decide if opting out is an option.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger