Vernon defends residents wanting to opt out of smart meters

Council moves ahead with request to B.C. Hydro over monitoring devices

Coun. Bob Spiers and the rest of Vernon council want residents to be able to opt out of smart meters.

Coun. Bob Spiers and the rest of Vernon council want residents to be able to opt out of smart meters.

Vernon officials don’t want smart meters forced on to anyone.

Council unanimously voted Monday to urge B.C. Hydro to develop an opt-out procedure for people who don’t want the remote monitoring devices.

“I believe people should be given the right to decide what goes on their houses,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.

Spiers points to Quebec where residents there can refuse meters as long as they cover the costs involved with traditional meter reading.

Council’s decision comes after a presentation from Citizens for Safe Technology.

The group claims microwave radiation exposure can create a range of health issues, while the utility will know what appliances you are using by monitoring the meter.

B.C. Hydro insists the devices do not present a health concern and do not interfere with  privacy.

“I have no concerns with smart meters and I’d have one in my house but people should have the right to opt out,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.

While council’s motion will be forwarded to Hydro, there is little confidence the Crown corporation will shift direction.

“Nothing will happen,” said Spiers.

“B.C. Hydro won’t back down and we will all get smart meters.”

However, Mayor Rob Sawatzky insists that local governments must provide their residents with a voice.

“Hopefully those in power will reflect on this and consider what the community  wants,” he said.