Over 150 people crowded into the Nicola boardroom in Best Western Wednesday afternoon to hear fellow residents speak to the British Columbia Utilities Commission about FortisBC’s proposed Advanced Metering Infrastructure project.
The commission—an independent regulatory agency of the province that operates under the Utilities Commission Act—held two community input sessions Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.
One by one, Kelowna residents expressed their concerns over the Advanced Metering Infrastructure project.
“I’m confident that if this commission examines the facts as I have done, you will agree that, at this point in time, there is overwhelming, irrefutable, documented evidence to justify a moratorium on (advanced) meters,” Marty Enns told the commission.
Carol Kergan said she was frustrated that customers have no control over the Advanced Metering Infrastructure other than to turn their power off completely.
“I can choose to have a wireless computer; I can choose to have a wireless cell phone; I can choose to have portable phones in my home. I can also choose to unplug those things,” said Kergan.
“This has been pushed on people who are saying they don’t want it. They’ve been told that basically they’ll be re-educated to accept them or you can unplug your power system.”
Kergan noted long-term implications from the technology are not yet known and could be irreversible by the time they are discovered.
Jerry Flynn has an extensive military background, specifically in the field of electronic warfare.
“I’ve studied this particular situation now for the last two years; while I’m not an expert I certainly know quite a bit about it,” said Flynn.
Flynn used his time at the microphone to list dangers and unknown elements associated with the proposed meters.
If FortisBC’s application for the project is approved, meter exchanges will begin in 2014 and be completed in 2015.
On its website the company states the new meters would provide a number of advantages, including: Saving customers money, providing more information and options, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preventing electricity theft.