Meters smart for who?

Letters

From several articles on “smart” meters in such publications as Focus magazine and the Health Action Network society magazine and the Watershed Sentinel here is a brief list of some of the serious concerns that have been raised:

1. The claim by B.C. Hydro that smart meters will only be operating from one to three minutes per day is (one can only assume, purposefully) misleading. Tests on already installed meters have found microbursts of signal every 2 – 3 minutes which can be registered on a meter 10 feet away (even through walls).  Certainly if one adds up all these microsecond-long bursts it may only amount to a total of two-three minutes, but they are being sent continuously, at least in the meters tested in B.C. so far.

2.  Health concerns voiced by people who have had meters installed in other parts of North America are fairly consistent:  sleep disturbances, heart arrythmias, nausea, dizziness, ringing in the ears, agitation and depression. The effects on small children, pregnant women, bees, birds and pets are unknown but potentially serious. Chronic RF (radio frequency) exposure is associated with carcinogenic and mutagenic responses in the body. Instead of dismissing this by noting how much RF we are already exposed to, perhaps this focusing of attention on the list of symptoms associated with such exposure might wake us up to discontinuing or lowering our exposure to all wireless signal sending devices.  Certainly, we don’t need to be adding any new RF straws to the camel’s back.

3.  Security against theft, both of electricity and our information is non-existent. Security experts scoff at the idea that smart meters are “secure.” After all, hackers have breached the Pentagon, a plethora of banks, hospital records and Microsoft itself. Digitalized systems are ripe for hacking. And not just by grow-opers.  It would be possible for a hacker to determine, for instance, if your house is unoccupied for a week, or every Monday, and if you have an actual alarm system on.  Additionally, the utilities “own” our data, that is what appliances we are using and when. All electronic equipment has a unique electronic signature. This potentially can be sold to marketing firms in order to provide extra income for B.C. Hydro.

4.  According to Milt Bowling, President of Clean Energy Foundation, “one or more ‘collector meters’ (which look identical to all the others) will be on a home, maybe yours, in each neighborhood, collecting and transmitting for perhaps hundreds of homes.”

5. There are mercury tilt switches on the smart meters that contain 800 mg of mercury (as much as 500 compact florescent light bulbs) which are potentially hazardous in cases of fire or other breakdown.

These and other concerns are certainly enough to bring a moratorium on “smart” meter installations until they are addressed in an open and honest way by B.C. Hydro and the provincial government, rather than their current modus operandi of having “smart” meters imposed on us, bully-style, whether we like it or not.

Jo Phillips

Sooke