Sterk replies on smart meters

B.C. Green Party leader Jane Sterk clarifies her party's position on smart meters, and how it has changed in the past two years.

Re: Green Party gets lost in the static (B.C. Views, Aug. 3).

Tom Fletcher is correct. The 2009 BC Greens platform had a time line that included smart metering by 2012. We did not recommend wireless meters because, as Fletcher mentioned, we have precautionary policy on EMF radiation.

Our policy was revised in 2010. The initiatives we wanted implemented prior to new meters – feed-in tariffs, time-of-day pricing and regional management boards – were not in progress at the end of 2009 so that the timeline for smart metering was eliminated.

Without being tied to substantial energy conservation, BC Hydro’s smart meter program is simply a different and more expensive way to collect data. A billion dollars invested in conservation and energy retrofits, diversifying to renewable energy or any number of priorities should precede changing meters.

Fletcher may dismiss health concerns associated with WIFI but people have a right to feel safe and healthy in their own homes. Those who chose not to use wireless technology should not be forced to do so.

As I said at the news conference, wireless smart meters are a technological solution looking for a problem. With shrewd marketing, the companies that developed wireless smart meters have become wealthy with sole-source contracts from government after government. At some point, given deficits and debt load, we will need to reverse the decision-making process so that long-term plans actually precede implementation of new technology.

Other jurisdictions are putting moratoriums on or cancelling the installation of smart meters. We are recommending BC Hydro listen to valid privacy, security and health concerns and change course.

Jane Sterk

Leader, Green Party of B.C.

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