Tuesday could be an interesting day in Peachland’s council chambers.
Up first on the agenda will be a presentation by a member of a group called Citizens for Safe Technology (CST). It’s a group fighting BC Hydro’s program to install smart meters throughout the province.
That the group is making a presentation is not what could be interesting. Whether council gives more than the standard 10 minutes of their time to the presentation will be the tell.
Some people are up in arms about smart meters. The World Wide Web is full of testimonials of calamity, dire effects after installation is the nouveau topic in letters to editors and several groups have been formed to take on the big, bad B.C. electrical corporation.
There is an extreme amount of hype, junk science and laughable claims surrounding the topic of smart meters. One need look no further than the presentation document attached to Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole agenda to see how looney the topic can get.
Instead of focusing on a few key problems (whether perceived or otherwise) with smart meters, CST has dreamed up a litany of claims, some bizarre, and thrown them all into the mix. At 2,700 words in length, the presentation reads like a conspiracy theorist’s guide to the universe.
The biggest problem with the extensive claims against smart meters is that they are presented as fact with little or no corroborating evidence. Overall, there is such an overwhelming amount of information that will be before council that it’s almost as if this CST group believes they can convince anyone of the dangers of smart meters not by evidence, but by sheer volume of information.
Here’s a sampling of what council is being asked to look at:
- Smart meters have exploded and caused fires.
Really? How many? If any smart meters have actually exploded, how many out of the tens or hundreds of thousands that have been installed? If there is a statistically relevant number of smart meters that have exploded, how does that compare to the old analog meters? Did any of them explode? If so, are smart meters more likely to explode than analog meters?
- House wiring is not designed to carry the high frequencies created by smart meters.
This could be a strawman argument, since CST hasn’t shown that smart meters create high frequencies that will be carried by house wiring. It is known that smart meters send signals wirelessly to receivers outside the home, but do they really send high frequencies through house wires?
- Smart meters are neither CSA nor UL approved.
It appears the case the CST is trying to make is that smart meters could be dangerous since they aren’t approved by a well known authority (CSA or UL). The problem is that the CST hasn’t shown if this is even relevant. Are the old analog meters CSA or UL approved? CSA sets standards for consumer products. Hydro meters are more an industrial device, which are approved by other authorities (British Columbia Electrical Safety Regulations; the American National Standards Institute; the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and International Electrotechnical Commission.)
- Microwaves continuously subject everything, including buildings for instance, to minute seismic events. In other words micro earthquakes which will slowly, but surely keep shaking structures billions of times a second until they fall apart.
Really? Do these people really believe that the public is going to buy that a device that sends a signal by radio frequency is going to shake their houses apart? If so, we should all be living in piles of rubble given all the radio transmissions and cell phone signals we are bombarded with daily.
- It’s the first time in the history of western democracies a government has mandated that the citizens place a recognized carcinogenic device in their homes without a choice.
Recognized carcinogenic device? Those are pretty strong words. As the saying goes, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” The CST dissertation provides none.
- As of March 19th 2012, 51 local governments in California have opposed (smart meters). At least 10 of them have banned the meters altogether.
While this may sound significant, there were more than 4,300 local governments in California as of October, 2007 (source: www2.census.gov). Put into perspective, the 51 local governments against smart meters amounts to about one per cent of all local governments in California. Conversely, 99 per cent of local governments in California have not opposed the installation of smart meters.
CST does state in its document that studies and information can be made available to council upon request.
It should also be noted that there does seem to be some legitimate concerns with some smart meters, including some that have led to customers being overcharged. Again, one should take that into the context of the huge number of smart meters installed.
This is a hot topic. People should become informed, but they should also be very wary of outlandish claims thrown into the mix.
One last thought: If Peachland council is going to give up some of its time to hear from this group with its dubious claims, will it also invite BC Hydro to make a presentation?
To view the entire CST report submitted to council, click here.