Ladysmith council to address smart meter concerns

Health impacts in spotlight

  • Aug. 2, 2011 12:00 p.m.

Concerns about the use of smart meters in B.C. has prompted Ladysmith council to seek more information on the devices.

 

Mary Lowther spoke to council on behalf of the Citizens for Safe Technology during the July 18 government services committee.

 

Lowther outlined the groups concerns about the wireless devices including health, cost and security.

 

During her presentation, Lowther claimed the World Health Organization has classified the wireless devices as a carcinogen — the same as lead or DDT.

 

Citing concerns listed in Cindy Sage’s Sage Report blog, Lowther said the radio frequency radiation spikes from the meters come several times a minute and can lead to health problems. According to sagereports.com, these spikes can measure 4,000 microwatts/centimetre. Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 limits levels to 600 microwatts/cm.

 

Lowther said the group is concerned that the meters will send their signals to adjacent homes for collection, meaning there will be varying strength of the signal depending on where you live.

Lowther also presented the groups concerns about hacking, noting there are websites where people can learn how to alter theirs, and others’, smart meters.

 

Coun. Lori Evans said she found Lowther’s presentation intriguing, but wants to hear more information.

 

In the end, council asked staff for more information on the meters.

 

Fiona Taylor, the deputy chief project officer for BC Hydro’s Smart Metering program, said they are absolutely convinced their meters are safe, when they consider the meters chosen, design work and their participation with third parties. Taylor said the meters are outside the home and are fitted with a metal backing.

 

“They are not directing anything into a home,” said Taylor, adding the meters are one one-hundredth the power of a cellphone signal with a one watt radio.

 

They collect information about overall electricity use, voltage and power quality factors, not from individual appliances.

 

The meter, said Taylor, records every hour. Then, four to six times a day — Taylor said BC Hydro is trying to reduce that number — the meter wakes up and transfers the data to a gathering device situated on local power poles and back to BC Hydro. If the reporting path is blocked, the signal will detour to a neighbouring meter, she said.

 

And in terms of the signal leaving the meters, “It’s an analog signal that comes out of the meter and it’s the same strength signal, there is no peaking,” said Taylor, adding the strength diminishes over distance.

 

The meters are only on for a total of one minute a day said Taylor, and are well under the safety limits.

 

Taylor said they understand some people are concerned about the meters and Health Canada’s standards, so BC Hydro compared the radio frequency against the toughest regulations around the world — those located in Switzerland.

 

In Switzerland, they allow 4.5 microwatts/cm2 in sensitive areas such as schools.

 

BC Hydro’s meters, she said, measure two microwatts/cm2.

 

Taylor said over the 20-year lifetime of the meter, the exposure is equal to 30 minutes on a cellphone. In terms of hacking, Taylor said their signals are encrypted and that  BC Hydro works with security companies that try to find weak points to break into the system. The Privacy Commissioner is also looking into the meters.

Just Posted

Lavigne possesses crooner qualities, to be Frank

Island tour starts this week and concludes in Chemainus with two shows May 11

Art studio takes over former St. Joseph’s School space in Chemainus

Public invited to a grand opening on May 1 to see what’s transpired

First Nanaimo-Ladysmith all-candidates’ meeting is tomorrow

Six candidates expected to debate issues Thursday, April 25, at the Beban Park social centre

Ladysmith author explores community as The Moon Watched It All

Shelley A. Leedahl releasing her latest work, an illustrated tale for all ages

What do you want to see done with Ladysmith’s old train station?

Island Corridor Foundation meets with community to discuss the future of the Railway Station

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Woman who was chased and tackled after break-in sentenced on Vancouver Island

Natasha Geraldine Harris, 28, was sentenced to time served and will be released from jail

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Most Read