Montreal Gazette

Councils weigh in on Hydro smart meters

- ALBERT KRAMBERGER

The introducti­on of HydroQuebe­c’s new smart meters has sparked opposition and sent some West Islanders to their municipal councils looking for support.

At the request of Dollarddes-Ormeaux municipal officials, Hydro is setting up an informatio­n stand Thursday at the Civic Centre from 3 to 8 p.m. so residents can learn more about the technology and how these new meters operate.

“In the context of the deployment of next-generation meters, Hydro-Quebec communicat­es with each municipali­ty, city or borough concerned to provide informatio­n and discuss the project before starting to install any meters,” a spokesman, Patrice Lavoie, said.

On Dollard’s website, a smart meter news heading offers links to the websites of Hydro (which states RF emission levels measured one metre away from a next-generation meter are well below Health Canada’s limits) and Health Canada (which has concluded that exposure to RF energy from smart meters does not pose a public health risk).

Pointe-Claire recently issued a public statement. It offered background and mentioned the public utility provided “an abundant amount of proof ” during hearings to quell any misgivings about radio frequencie­s. It added Quebec’s energy board gave Hydro’s project its stamp of approval last fall. It also pointed out Hydro offers an optingout clause.

“Consumers which deem this appropriat­e may request that Hydro-Québec install a meter that does not emit any radio frequency; however, they would have to assume the costs associated to their choice,” the Pointe- Claire statement read.

During Pointe-Claire’s April 2 council meeting, officials told a resident opposed to the smart meters being installed at her home that people should address Hydro, not the city.

“The decision made by the energy board could only be reversed by the (provincial) government,” city manager Nicolas Bouchard said.

Bouchard added that any municipal resolution­s calling for a moratorium on smart meters are not legally binding.

Pointe-Claire officials confirmed the city has no intention of adopting such a resolution.

Last week, a Ste-Anne-deBellevue resident asked his council if it would consider adopting a resolution calling for a moratorium on smart meters, similar to one tabled by Dorval last month. Mayor Francis Deroo said the matter would be discussed at a caucus meeting.

Dorval’s resolution stated the World Health Organizati­on’s position is that electromag­netic radiation is potentiall­y carcinogen­ic and could contribute to a host of health problems. It added Hydro-Quebec has not demonstrat­ed the need to replace the current meters and it demanded that consumers be given the right to keep older meters at their homes without any additional cost.

This year, Lachine residents opposed to the smart meters had organized a lobby group. At the request of borough officials, Hydro held a public informatio­n meeting April 4 in Lachine to reassure citizens, though the lobby group the next day still demanded a moratorium on smart meters.

Hydro-Quebec is to spend almost $1 billion to install about 3.8 million new wireless meters across the province by 2017.

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