Walt McGinnis and Steve Satow of stopsmartmeters.ca formally and publicly launch the referendum initiative against the BC Liberal’s and BC Hydro’s Smart Meters campaign at this press conference. (First Video)

Una St.Clair and Sharon Noble of the Coalition to Stop Smart Meters present the signatures to John Horgan on the steps of the BC Legislature. (Second Video, half way down this page )

( Watch Part Two )

Activists want referendum on B.C. Hydro smart meters

By Matthew Burrows, Georgia Straight, November 24, 2011

Should one opponent of smart meters get his way, British Columbians might be voting to get rid of them the way they did the harmonized sales tax. “Possibly, they could be doing that,” Walt McGinnis, spokesperson for StopSmartMeters.ca, told the Straightby phone from Victoria. “First, there are a lot of things that have to happen. We have to get our support registered and people have to find us.”

McGinnis said that members of StopSmartMeters.ca will hold a news conference in Victoria on Thursday (November 24) to announce plans for an initiative vote—the same process that led voters to reject the HST.

The event, he said, will show how the Recall and Initiative Act can be applied to the provincial smart-meter program, which was mandated under the Clean Energy Act in 2010. B.C. Hydro plans to install 1.8 million meters in homes and businesses by December 2012.

McGinnis said his group wants to assess its options before committing to overhauling any legislation. Ultimately, he wants a provincewide moratorium pending further study of the effects of smart meters.

Meanwhile, NDP energy critic John Horgan plans to present another petition against smart meters, called Occupy Smart Meters, in the legislature. Horgan did not respond to Straight messages by deadline.

Self-described smart-meter “survivor” Debi Alexander, from Cache Creek, told theStraight that she and her husband signed the petition going to Horgan and would “definitely” support the cause of StopSmartMeters.ca.

Alexander said she underwent chemotherapy last year after being diagnosed with breast cancer. A month ago, a smart meter was installed in the couple’s home, and immediately they began to feel sick. “It started doing that [making them feel ill] on the November long weekend,” she said. They successfully lobbied B.C. Hydro to send someone to remove the meter. According to her, they feel healthier as a result.

Critics such as McGinnis claim that there are too many “weaknesses” to the smart-meter program, not least relating to possible health impacts. “[B.C. Energy and Mines Minister] Rich Coleman is saying that 20 years’ exposure to the radiation emitted from a smart meter is the same as a 30-minute [cell]phone call,” McGinnis said. “Now, what we’ve been asking B.C. Hydro is for their research for their data to support that claim. They haven’t supplied us with it, and that’s because there isn’t any. There is no research to support that claim.”

The same claim is made on B.C. Hydro’s own website in the section explaining smart meters. B.C. Hydro claims smart meters will save taxpayers $70 million in lower rates over the next three years, and “$1.6 billion in avoided costs and increased efficiencies over the next 20 years”.

Coleman and B.C. Hydro smart-meter-program spokesperson Cindy Verschoor did not respond to calls by deadline.


Anti-smart meter group sets out recall tactics




NOVEMBER 25, 2011

An anti-smart meter group confirmed Thursday that its members plan to use the province’s Recall and Initiative Act to prevent B.C. Hydro from installing the devices in homes.

StopSmartMeters.ca will test the public’s appetite for a recall by asking voters to register on the group’s website if they are opposed to smart meters. Board members Walt McGinnis and Steve Satow said at a news conference that the B.C. government has ignored citizens’ requests to stop the smart meter program.

B.C. Hydro has installed more than 353,000 smart meters and plans to have a total of 1.8 million in place by the end of next year. Members of StopSmartMeters.ca say health concerns and an invasion of privacy are just two of the several reasons for launching the recall campaign.

They mentioned a resolution from the Union of B.C. Municipalities requesting a moratorium on smart-meter installation.

“The minister of energy, Rich Coleman, has ignored our concerns, however, and has publicly stated that regardless of these requests from municipalities the program will still proceed,” McGinnis said.

Coleman responded to the announcement outside the legislature, saying that the StopSmartMeters.ca announcement is not a threat. “They should do their research first to recognize the smart meters are not a threat to health,” he said. “The standard we have here is higher than the standard in Switzerland, which is considered to be the gold or platinum standard of this type of technology in the world.”

Some property owners have refused smart meters – and at the current rate of refusal, about 3,000 people out of the 1.8 million will not have the devices installed, Coleman said.

“It’s different from the HST simply because the acceptance and understanding is way higher,” he said

B.C. Hydro has published a study on its website from Vancouver-based Planetworks Consulting, which states that the meters “communicate at a radio frequency level far below both federal safety limits and the strictest limits established in the world.”

The total active transmission time for the meter over a two day period is only 2.734 seconds, according to B.C. Hydro. But critics of the meters say studies show the health risks of the radio frequencies.

To file a petition, StopSmartMeters.ca organizers would need to collect signatures from 10 per cent of registered voters in the province’s 85 ridings and submit a draft bill, outlining their desired legislation. Even a successful petition would not be voted on for three years.

A select standing committee would send the petition to either the provincial legislature, where the politicians would decide its fate, or back to Elections B.C. for a vote. Votes are held on the third Saturday of September every three years. The next scheduled date is in 2014.

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Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/health/Anti+smart+meter+group+sets+recall+tactics/5766026/story.html#ixzz1eju6jRuV