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June 28,2012 Tri City News

Port Moody will require BC Hydro to offer Port Moody residents an “opt-out” option for the smart meters now being installed.

Coun. Rosemary Small’s lengthy motion on the matter was passed at Tuesday’s council meeting despite the efforts of Mayor Mike Clay to curtail the move.

“The entire thing is non-jurisdictional to the city,” Clay said in an interview. “We don’t have any power to regulate or enforce anything on smart meters.”

Besides, Clay said, Port Moody has already added its voice to the Union of B.C. Municipalities motion that went to the provincial government.

“That’s how you do things when you have concerns at the provincial level, through the UBCM,” Clay said. “We don’t have any authority to tell BC Hydro what they can and can’t do.”

Small introduced the motion — preceded by seven clauses regarding concerns of the health, privacy and security issues related to smart meters — at a council meeting earlier this month. The motion will have Port Moody request BC Hydro:

• offer opt-out options at no cost to consumers;

• assure household privacy and agree not to sell any data to private companies;

• and provide the city with all locations of smart meter collector units and hubs, as well as information on smart meter banks and data on radio-frequency emissions exposure.

The motion also calls for the city to report the information collected, as well as concerns on the health impact of smart meters, to the province’s chief medical officer and the chief medical officer of Vancouver Coastal Health.

BC Hydro is expected to install about 80,000 smart meters in the Tri-Cities starting this month and finishing in the fall. The new devices are touted as a way to restore power more quickly during an outage, keep rates low by increasing efficiency and reducing wasted electricity and giving residents a way to conserve energy.

Hydro spokesperson Greg Alexis said if customers have concerns about the smart meter, they’ll hold off on installation while they work to address any issues.

“It is not viable to offer an opt-out option because smart meters are required to renew the electrical grid,” he wrote in an email.

Alexis added that having some people opt out would increase costs because Hydro would have to operate two systems.

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