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Smart meters ‘undemocratic, unwanted’

Val MacDonald says B.C. Hydro’s plans to install Smart Meters are a dumb idea and wants Maple Ridge to join other B.C. municipalities in calling for a moratorium on the devices.

Calling the devices a “threat our security and privacy, health and safety and our pocketbook,” MacDonald wants people to be able to choose what kind of meter will be installed in their home – wired or wireless.

“Right now, there are alternatives available in the way of wired devices.

“At the very least, we’d like to have a wired meter be made available to people who choose to have a wireless model.”

She points out that while there are many arguments showing the safety of smart meters, there are just as many that raise questions about their safety.

While MacDonald herself uses a cellphone for business, she doesn’t have a microwave oven or WiFi in her house.

“I have a business so I have to have a cellphone.”

In her presentation to council last week, MacDonald says wireless information is insecure and can be hacked, while she says in Ontario the meters have increased energy use.

“This radiation is unwanted and these meters are non-consensual. It’s undemocratic.”

She wanted council to write to B.C. Health Minister Mike de Jong, requesting the moratorium. Individual homeowners who don’t want their meters replaced can call B.C. Hydro and ask to be placed on the delay-install list.

B.C. Hydro has already started the conversion process and plans on completing it by December 2012. The conversion program will cost $930 million, but is expected to save $70 million, mainly through reduced energy theft, over three years.

B.C. Hydro says the meters are active for about a total of a minute per day and says the exposure to a smart meter over its 20-year lifespan is equivalent to a 30-minute cellphone call. Data encryption will be used to ensure security.

MacDonald says Victoria, Langley and Nanaimo, as well as smaller municipalities around B.C., have already asked for the moratorium, however, Maple Ridge will wait until more information is available following the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention this weekend.

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