Group fighting Smart Meters

City: Concerned citizens arrange awareness meeting for Oct. 20.

Saying no: Barbara Makota is waging a campaign against Smart Meters.

Saying no: Barbara Makota is waging a campaign against Smart Meters.

A local group thinks it would be smart if more people knew more about potential dangers of Smart Meters.

To help reach that goal, a Shuswap Smart Meter Awareness Presentation will take place on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Salmar Classic Theatre, with videos, guest speakers, and a question-and-answer period.

“Myself and a lot of friends are concerned about the health of young people especially, whether it be nutrition or GMOs,” says Catharine McLaren of Salmon Arm about her participation in the group working to stop the implementation of Smart Meters throughout B.C. “That’s why we got involved.”

To date they have been putting together informational flyers and packets to help educate citizens, “so they’ll have a chance to make their own decisions.”  They’ve also held a neighbourhood information meeting in Sunnybrae.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the Salmar presentation.

On Friday at the annual meeting of the Union of BC Municipalities, 55 per cent of municipal leaders there voted for a moratorium on the implementation of Smart Meters.

Barbara Makota, Interior spokesperson for Citizens for Safe Technology, said Friday she was “really ecstatic” about the UBCM vote. She has already made presentations on Smart Meters to four Shuswap/Okanagan-area municipal councils, with plans to come to Salmon Arm Council.

“I think they’re taking away our rights and freedoms to choose,” she said of BC Hydro and the provincial government. “They’re taking away our right to protect our health in our own homes.”

Five members of Salmon Arm Council attended the UBCM: Mayor Marty Bootsma and Couns. Debbie Cannon, Ivan Idzan, Kevin Flynn and Chad Eliason.

Bootsma and Flynn voted against the moratorium, while Eliason voted in favour. Idzan was not present for the vote, as he was at another UBCM meeting. Cannon did not respond by press time.

Premier Christy Clark, Energy Minister Rich Coleman and BC Hydro’s Gary Murphy have been quoted as saying they will not be reconsidering their decision on Smart Meters, whose installation began in July.

“There is no opt-out,” Murphy, chief project officer for the Smart Meter program with B.C. Hydro, told Black Press. “Every customer will get a Smart Meter.”

Coleman said up to $400 million has been invested already in the $930-million project so a UBCM resolution won’t halt the program. Clark stated she doesn’t share the health concerns, and Smart Meters will benefit the economy as well as distributing hydro more efficiently.

Makota and McLaren, meanwhile, list a number of issues, the biggest one being possible health effects, along with the potential for tripling people’s hydro bills and for invasion of privacy.

“We should be lowering the radiation we’re exposed to, not raising it.”

Makota said “the World Health Organization recently categorized this frequency as carcinogenic.”

Another concern is privacy, she said, because BC Hydro will know what appliance a home is running at what time of day. The technology can also be easily hacked, she added.

“It’s not safe and secure.”

The solution, Makota said, is simple.

“Hardwire the meters through cable or phone or fibre optics. That would take away all our concerns.”

Citizens For Safe Technology and its coalition of concerned groups outlines issues at BC Hydro provides information about Smart Meters at