British Columbia

Smart meters not harmful, says B.C. health official

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall has weighed in on the debate over BC Hydro smart meters.
Dr. Perry Kendall agrees with current findings that smart meters aren't harmful. (CBC)
B.C.’s provincial health officer says he has seen nothing that would change his mind about the safety of BC Hydro’s smart meters.

Directors of the organization Stop Smart Meters went to Dr. Perry Kendall's Victoria office Monday, bearing documents they said raise serious questions about the technology .

But Kendall said credible organizations have drawn different conclusions from the same studies.

"While there are clearly some biological effects from electromagentic frequency radiation and more work does need to be done, at the moment,  we are not convinced there are harms from this exposure that would merit public health interventions," Kendall said.

One of the documents presented to Kendall was a letter from the American Academy of Environmental Medicine calling for a halt to smart meter installations in California.

BC Hydro is replacing more than 1.8 million analog meters across the province with smart meters, which can provide hourly information about electricity consumption and tip the utility to outages. BC Hydro expects the changeover will be complete by the end of 2012.

A technician installs a smart meter, a process that takes only a few minutes. (CBC)

The utility estimates the meters will save consumers $1.6 billion over the next 20 years by preventing the loss and theft of power.

The alleged health threats are one of the major concerns swirling in the smart metre debate. Opponents to smart meters also say the devices enable potential breaches of privacy and will cause hydro bills to increase.