Joanne Sales, Oceanside Star

Published: Thursday, March 31, 2011


This summer, BCHydro wants to install SmartMeters, new electric meters installed on our homes to broadcast energy usage. BCHydro says they are open to public input. Here are my concerns.

If SmartMeters are so safe, why are 32 cities and counties in California alone protesting and even criminalizing SmartMeter installation?

When corporations have to make a choice between long-term public health and short-term corporate profits, money wins. I learned this sad reality over 50 years ago when I found out how my father died at the age of 42.

In the late 40s, corporate men behind closed doors decided that my father’s life was expendable. They knew that asbestos caused lung cancer but, because it takes years to develop, they thought they could get away with deliberate lies. They got caught, only after hundreds of thousands died painful deaths. The asbestos industry’s cover-up is considered one of the greatest industrial crimes of the 20th century.

PG&E is another company with a record of hiding the truth. The movie ‘Erin Brokovich’ tells the criminal story of PG&E’s cover-up while poisoning a town’s water supply. Well, PG&E is the corporation bringing us SmartMeters. Does that inspire confidence?

Concerns about SmartMeters are primarily over the health impact of the radio frequency radiation released from the device as it communicates to the electric company. PG&E claims that the Electromagnetic Field (EMF) emissions are safe, but there has not been independent testing of cumulative and long-term exposure.

We are already being bombarded with dangerous levels of electromagnetic radiation from microwaves, cell phones, wireless computer routers, radio, alarms — but SmartMeters produce even stronger pulsed microwave radiation, 24 hours a day, within feet of our living spaces. Of particular concern are densely populated areas and apartment buildings where people are exposed to the constant emissions of multiple SmartMeters. Particularly vulnerable are children and elderly.

EMFs are a possible carcinogen. There are reports of SmartMeters causing migraines, headaches, dizziness, memory loss, ringing in the ears. Others report higher electric bills, fire and privacy violations.

Besides, our human meter readers need their jobs. With SmartMeters, the salaries which currently feed real families will simply show up as greater profits for PG&E.

Massive protests are going on globally against SmartMeters. Here is a great opportunity for BC governments to be SMART – and protect our wellbeing. Say no to the billion-dollar SmartMeters until we know all the long-term financial and health impacts. We don’t need them and — honestly? We don’t want them. Stop the installations of SmartMeters before they begin.

Joanne Sales, Coombs

© Oceanside Star 2011