Dawn Russell is on member of a group concerned that FortisBC has begun swapping out old electrical meters for smart meters on the Penticton Indian Band.
by  Steve Kidd – Penticton Western News  posted May 14, 2015 at 4:00 PM

A group of residents on the Penticton Indian Band are upset that installation of smart electricity meters by FortisBC went ahead without consultation.

“On Monday (May 4), seven fortis trucks came out and started switching out smart meters, without notifying homeowners they would be doing so,” said Dawn Russell, one of a group of protestors that approached band council to intervene.

Russell said the only notice they received came in the band’s weekly newsletter on March 17.

“This section here was the consultation we received,” said Russell, indicating the notice in the newsletter.

That prompted Russell and others to ask for a meeting through the band’s community page on Facebook, to discuss concerns about smart meters before the installation started. That meeting never happened.  Russell said she sees a number of concerns with smart meters, including the risk of fire, higher electrical costs and the radiation emitted by the devices.

“Some of these questions haven’t been answered by Fortis or by our own administration and that is who we asked to do the  investigation,” said Russell. “We elected them to represent us. Having this come out is not the job we expect from our chief and council.”

In Penticton, the city has ownership of the electrical utility, but on the PIB lands, Fortis is a separate company. Still, Russell feels band council could force a delay from Fortis.

“We have the  opportunity to ask them for a delay until our concerns are met. We have the Fortis Line running right through here. If we wanted to, we have leverage,” said Russell.