News

Ridge man in standoff over smart meters

Ron McNutt does not want smart meters install on the side of his town house in Maple Ridge. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Ron McNutt does not want smart meters install on the side of his town house in Maple Ridge.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

A Maple Ridge man will risk arrest as he battles to keep B.C. Hydro from installing smart meters on his town house.

Ron McNutt called police on a Corix contractor Tuesday after a crew showed up to replace two of six analog meters which are located on a wall of his Darby Street home. “I really don’t want these things on my house,” said McNutt.

“It’s not just my health, it’s everyone’s.”

A representation for the organization Citizens for Safe Technology,  McNutt has reasons for his adamant opposition to smart meters.

He had a brain tumour –  known as an acoustic neuroma – removed three years ago. An acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous (benign) and usually slow-growing tumour that develops on the main nerve leading from your inner ear to your brain.

McNutt remains concerned about the health risks of wireless technology, saying there’s at least “five studies” that point to a correlation between radio frequency waves, tumours and cancers.

McNutt and his neighbours had initially agreed to opt out of the smart meter program by paying the $35 monthly  fee to keep the analog ones. However two have since changed their minds.

McNutt has no problem with the meters being installed elsewhere, however relocating the meters are a cost that will have to be borne by the strata.

“It will be very expensive to do that,” said McNutt, adding that B.C. Hydro should cover the costs of relocation because they’ve caused the problem by forcing smart meters on residents.

Greg Alexis, a spokesperson for B.C. Hydro’s Smart Metering Program, said the company’s jurisdiction ends at the meter.

“We just install the meter where the socket is. Moving them would have to be up to the customer, if they want to go down that road.”

Alexis reminds customers the meters, active for less than one minute per day, are safe. He noted the exposure to radio frequency from a smart meter – over its entire 20-year life span – is less than a single 30-minute cellphone call.

“The provincial and federal government have found the meters do not pose any known health risk,” he added. B.C. Hydro will return to McNutt’s townhouse to try again to and install the two meters.

“We are going to try and do everything we can to attempt to install these metres at a later date,” Alexis said.

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