Delegates voting at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention

Cities call on Hydro to freeze smart meter push

UBCM votes 55 per cent for moratorium on wireless meter rollout

The campaign to derail B.C. Hydro’s rollout of wireless smart meters got a boost from mayors and councillors at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention Friday.

Delegates voted 55 per cent to support a moratorium on the mandatory installation of smart meters until major issues can be resolved.

“There is an important element of personal choice,” Colwood Coun. Judith Cullington said. “Some people are sensitive to this radiation and only a small amount affects them.”

She said city councils across the province have been deluged in email by people deeply concerned about the possible health impacts.

Some civic leaders who supported the call for a moratorium said they don’t have concerns about health risks but think other issues deserve more attention, from the $930-million cost of the meter program to the potential to eventually use them to charge higher rates at peak times.

An initial show of hands was inconclusive so the final vote was conducted electronically – using wireless voting devices.

No delegates spoke against the resolution.

Premier Christy Clark said the smart meter installations will continue, despite the UBCM resolution.

Hydro crews have already installed 100,000 smart meters across B.C. and that’s to rise to 250,000 by later this fall.

“I don’t share those health concerns,” she said Friday.

Clark said B.C. needs an efficient smart grid to save money on electricity delivery and foster economic growth.