Smart Meters safe, says BC Hydro

There’s nothing to worry about regarding Smart Meters.
This is the message BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynk had for the Town of Lake Cowichan’s elected officials, in hopes of addressing their concerns.

  • Sep. 19, 2011 3:00 p.m.

There’s nothing to worry about regarding Smart Meters.

This is the message BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynk had for the Town of Lake Cowichan’s elected officials, in hopes of addressing their concerns.

Olynk visited town council as a delegate during their Tuesday, September 13, committee meeting.

The town has recently placed a moratorium on Smart Meters, in response to concerns from the public about the devices’ radioactivity and privacy issues.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Olynk said.

Comparing Smart Meters to cell phones, as some anti-Smart Meter advocates have been doing, is not accurate, he said.

They’re comparable to wi-fi, which exude one per cent the radio frequency emissions of cell phones.

While driving through Lake Cowichan, Olynk said, “I did not go through an area that did not have wi-fi.”

Smart Meters only transmit information for less than a minute a day, making a drive through Lake Cowichan more dangerous than owning a Smart Meter, he said.

According to a test by the BC Centre for Disease Control, “The power densities resulting from the use of Smart Meters are no higher than 8.3 per cent of the applicable general public limits. Power densities are, as expected, highest next to the meter.”

As for privacy concerns, he said, “We don’t care what goes on at your house.”

Because the devices transmit hydro usage electronically, there has been concern that BC Hydro would be able to tell when people are home, and which appliances they are using.

The new devices are nothing but good, and will enable people to save electricity., Olynk said. An optional in-house device will allow people to find out how much electricity they are using at any given time.

“You can see the savings and do the calculations,” he said.

At a cost of $930 million to install, the benefits will come in the form of $1.6 billion over 20 years, he said.

“Everything that we save is savings for the customer,” he said.

Power outages and electricity thefts will also be more easily and quickly detected.

In all, 50,000 Smart Meters have already been installed in the province, during which time a number of electrical thefts have been discovered.

“Innocent home owners didn’t know that their home has been used as a grow-op,” Olynk said.

In answer to councillor Tim McGonigle’s question as to whether or not residents have a choice in getting a Smart Meter installed, Olynk said “no,” unless they’re willing to go without BC Hydro service.

But, they have the option of having crews move the meter elsewhere on their property, at a cost to the home owner.

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