‘Smart’ Meter Victory a Hollow One

I had hoped to avoid any more activist posts during the holiday season. However, recent reports in the media about BC Hydro claiming ‘victory’ for its ‘smart’ meter program compelled me to provide the other side of that picture. As Citizens for Safe Technology director Sharon Noble points out, does one really hope to gain bragging rights for a victory obtained through threats, coercion and intimidation? We seem to be living in an era when even the appearance of democracy is no longer an issue for greed-crazed, power-mad government and corporate dictators. A friend of mine told me recently that he knows an American lawyer who has a full-time practice just fighting unscrupulous utilities companies all over North America. This person has also said that the letters being sent out by BC Hydro don’t pass muster in a legal sense. The ultimate message is: Stand fast for your rights. Ignore BC Hydro’s letters. I reproduce below the latest update from Citizens for Safe Technology (http://www.citizensforsafetechnology.org/). 

This Itron 'smart' meter is also available in a non-wireless version. BC Hydro apparently failed to investigate this option.

This Itron ‘smart’ meter is also available in a non-wireless version. BC Hydro apparently failed to investigate this option.

After years of promoting misleading information and using intimidation tactics, BC Hydro declares victory based on the number of smart meter holdouts being reduced from approximately 68,000 to 20,000.

BC Hydro has announced that it is pleased with the “acceptance” percentage that has been achieved. We question whether threatening people with power shut off and coercing them to “accept” something against their will should translate to success. Since when has it been an acceptable BC government strategy to browbeat its citizens to acquiesce to an unacceptable situation within their own homes? This “success” was achieved through improper means.

A civil lawsuit against BC Hydro was filed in July 2013 on behalf of all account holders who do not want a smart meter representing those with analogue meters, those with smart meters who have changed their minds and want them removed, and those who were bullied into taking a smart meter against their will. Every BC Hydro account holder who does not want a smart meter is invited to participate in this civil lawsuit, with application going before the courts to be certified as a class action.

People who resisted the microwave transmitter on their homes were given an opt out “choice” by Bill Bennett, one of the key elements being an interim charge of $35 beginning December 1 for retention of analogue, (yet to be approved by the BC Utilities Commission). It is clear that the intention of the BC Liberals is not to provide any true democratic choice, but to continue the forced application of microwave meters upon the population, adding pressure of extortionate fees to break resistance. Those on fixed or limited incomes are faced with a difficult decision: accept a radiation-emitting, security and fire risk device and be able to pay for food and heat, or pay to keep their home safe leaving less funds to meet costs of basic necessities. BC Hydro advises that failure to make payment could result in power disconnection. This by definition is extortion.

According to the Notice of Claim filed November 18, 2013 by David Aaron, lawyer for the civil lawsuit against BC Hydro, such correspondence is improper as it targets and attempts to manipulate the class of persons represented in the lawsuit: “BC Hydro has engaged in a course of conduct that is intimidating, threatening, and coercive and, in consideration of the information vacuum, sufficiently misleading to vitiate any notion that putative Class members executing a “choice” are doing so on an informed basis.”

“This oppression of democratic choice is significant and serious and should not be tolerated from our government.” comments Una St. Clair, Director of Citizens for Safe Technology Society. “We believe the intention is to disrupt our civil lawsuit and remove participants by forcing them into a new contract against their will. However, the very basis of the lawsuit is to remedy situations where smart meters are being forced upon customers under protest and duress.”

The civil law suit and class action application is continuing and numbers of those participating is steadily increasing as British Columbians realize the Smart Meter program violates fundamental democratic, human and civil rights. According to Sharon Noble, Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters, “The number of people registering as participants is increasing daily, with many expressing anger over their treatment and how laws of this province have been manipulated or ignored for the sake of control and corporate profit. I believe this harassment campaign is back-firing.”

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About seanarthurjoyce

I am a poet, journalist and author with a strong commitment to the environment and social justice. If anything, I have too many interests and too little time in a day to pursue them all. Film, poetry, literature, music, mythology, and history probably top the list. My musical interests lie firmly in rock and blues with a smattering of folk and world music. I consider myself lucky to have lived during the great flowering of modern rock music during its Golden Age in the late 1960s/early '70s. In poetry my major inspirations are Dylan Thomas, Rilke, Neruda and the early 20th century British/American poets: Auden, Eliot, Cummings. My preferred cinema includes the great French auteurs, Kirosawa, Orson Welles, and Film Noir. My preferred social causes are too numerous to mention but include banning GMOs, eliminating poverty (ha-ha), and a sane approach to forest conservation and resource extraction. Wish me—wish us all—luck on that one!
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3 Responses to ‘Smart’ Meter Victory a Hollow One

  1. Juscha Grunther says:

    Good Article Art! Thanks for the update – Robin & I will be joining the class action suit – do you know if there is any kind of deadline for this???

  2. analisa says:

    THank you Sean Arthur Joyce For the informative post. I am grateful more awareness is arising. I Have yet to file ,y notice to claim I have printed the documents. I need a little push…anyone want to come have tea and encourage me next week to complete& mail my forms….. PS HAppy Solstice the first day of summer is coming soon…..
    Analisa Azzopardi,naturalama@netidea.com

  3. Juscha, I believe the class action is open-ended for those wishing to join. There is a request for a donation of $100 to cover legal costs but whatever you can afford would be helpful.

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