British Columbia

BC Hydro smart meter opponents lose ruling

The B.C. Utilities Commission has dismissed an attempt by some BC Hydro customers to stop the smart meter installation program.
BC Hydro says it has installed 900,000 smart meters already. (CBC)

The B.C. Utilities Commission has dismissed an attempt by some BC Hydro customers to stop the smart meter installation program.

The anti-smart meter group Citizens for Safe Technology Society was seeking an injunction against the program because of concerns the meters emit harmful radiation and can be used to spy on people's power consumption.

The group argued that the devices were unnecessary and fell outside the mandate of the Clean Energy Act, which governs BC Hydro operations.

But the commission ruled the group did not present any evidence that warranted an immediate shutdown of the billion-dollar program and directed the group to submit a formal complaint through its normal complaint process.

BC Hydro says it is pleased with the decision and has now installed almost 900,000 smart meters, just under half of the provincial total, with more than 99 per cent of customers accepting the devices.

It also says 1,800 customers who initially objected to the installation of smart meters have since agreed to have one installed after consulting with BC Hydro.

"Smart meters communicate for an average of one minute per day and the exposure to radio frequency over the lifetime of a smart meter is equivalent to a 30-minute cell phone call," said a statement issued by BC Hydro on Thursday.

"BC Hydro’s smart meters are well below Health Canada’s exposure limits and the precautionary limits set by Switzerland, the country with the most rigorous standards in the world."