B.C. Hydro smart meters are not being forced on residents of Spallumcheen or any provincial resident, according to one township councillor.
Christine Fraser said fear-mongering and misinformation have led to residents wrongfully believing that the meters must be installed in homes.
“The smart meters are not being forced on anyone,” said Fraser, as council debated a motion to send a letter to Hydro and Premier Christy Clark that states citizens of B.C. should have the right to choose whether or not to have a wireless smart meter installed, particularly if they’re willing to bear any additional cost related to that choice.
“B.C. Hydro has said if at the end of talking to them you still don’t want a smart meter installed, you don’t have to have one. It’s an incorrect fact out there that you have to have a smart meter.”
Fraser said she got her information from attending a Southern Interior Local Government Association presentation from Hydro on smart meters.
She said what hasn’t been explained very well is how the smart meters work.
“They’re basically a more efficient way of receiving information,” said Fraser, who supports smart meters. “If there’s a power outage, they can tell which house has the outage. There’s been a lot of fear-mongering caused.”
Fraser said she personally has not received one call from a Spallumcheen resident complaining about the smart meters.
Coun. Joe Van Tienhoven agreed that Hydro dropped the ball in its public awareness campaign to help people understand what meters do and don’t do.
However, he points to his neighbour as a person who doesn’t want anything to do with smart meters.
“He has a sign beside his meter saying he refuses to have his meter changed to a smart meter,” said Van Tienhoven. “I’ve seen a few of those. I believe there are still those in the municipality against them.”
Coun. Todd York said if a person has a justified personal reason not to see smart meter methodology in their house, they have the right to say that.
“I don’t want to make a decision for everyone in the township based on how I feel about it,” he said. “As an individual, you should have that right.”
Council voted unanimously in favour of the motion, and will send it to Hydro and Victoria.