by Francois Lemieux – The West Island Chronicle – April 09, 2013:

http://www.westislandchronicle.com/News/Local/2013-04-09/article-3216498/HydroQuebec-smart-meters-spark-fears-in-West-Island/1

Hydro-Quebec’s plan to install 3.8 million new smart-meters is being challenged by various organizations, municipalities and residents across the province. West Islanders started receiving letters announcing the change in March. Photo archives.

Hydro-Quebec’s plan to install 3.8 million new smart-meters is being challenged by various organizations, municipalities and residents across the province. West Islanders started receiving letters announcing the change in March. Photo archives.

Citizens all over the West Island are mobilizing against the new smart meters Hydro-Quebec started installing in Montreal last year. West Islanders started receiving letters announcing Hydro-Quebec would be installing the smart meters in March and already contestation has spruced up in Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Beaconsfield, Dorval and Pointe Claire.

Those who receive the letter have 30 days to oppose the installation of the new device incurring a one-time cost of $98 and recurring costs of $17 a month. Hydro-Quebec aims at replacing 3.8 million meters within 2017. Dorval became the 15th municipality in Quebec to pass a resolution demanding a moratorium on March 18.

In Pierrefonds-Roxboro, over 15 concerned residents came to borough hall last Tuesday to express concern about the new metres. Céline Durand was their spokesperson. She expressed concerns about the potential health hazards linked to this technology and asked Mayor Monique Worth to place a moratorium on the installation and to hold an information session on the issue.

Worth told her a resolution by the borough wouldn’t have any effect and that she didn’t want to hold an information session that would only alert the population while the administration is still unsure of what to think of the new meters. Durand found Worth’s attitude to be weak and evasive.

Durand and her group are planning an information session to take place in the borough within two weeks. At press time, Durand was looking for a venue for the event.

At Beaconsfield’s last council meeting on March 25, three residents came forward to express concerns notably on health problems the meters would be responsible for. Mayor David Pollock does not seem worried by the situation.

“The understanding I have is that a cordless phone in your house gives out ten times more force than this meter that bleaks once and sends data off. Right now, it’s (the information) sort of coming at us and we’re analyzing it. The data so far seems that these things are quite minimally invasive,” responded Mayor David Pollock.

Hydro-Quebec spokesperson Danielle Chabot told The Chronicle last week that the radio-frequency emissions of the new smart-metres are 120,000 times lower than Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 threshold, which they are bound to respect.

A former telecommunications engineer and current Beaconsfield resident Michel Le Norcy was at the last council meeting. He considers the Safety Code 6 calculations to be misleading.

“Hydro-Québec considers the emissions of the smart-meter to be under the threshold of Health Canada Safety Code 6. The code takes into account the elevation of body temperature for six minutes. The way metres work is that they send extremely high impulses and then nothing for a certain period. So when you average a peak with zero, you end up with an average to almost zero,” he said.

The issue of the smart-meters was also discussed at the last Pointe Claire council meeting last Tuesday. Resident Bridget Watson thinks the authorities may have too much of a complaisant attitude towards the new metres.

“Before we install these new smart-meters, we must make sure that they are safe. It’s not for nothing that there is contestation around the world where those metres are being installed. There are groups everywhere that are saying no to this technology,” she said.

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