Victoria resident Sharon Noble hopes thousands of opponents of wireless smart meters join an intended class action lawsuit against BC Hydro.

Smart meter class action lawsuit off to slow start

Hydro opponents expect thousands to join legal battle

Opponents of BC Hydro’s wireless smart meters are scrambling to quickly assemble enough people willing to be part of a planned class-action lawsuit they hope delivers a permanent opt-out from the program.

Victoria resident Sharon Noble, with the group Citizens for Safe Technology, said success in convincing a judge to certify the class action may hinge on how many people take part.

She estimated Wednesday that 100 to 150 people are registered – a start she called slow – but added hundreds more sign-ups are likely in progress.

Given the number of people who have blocked smart meter installation or had one installed against their wishes, she said, it would be surprising if thousands don’t join the lawsuit.

“The courts would be very influenced by having a large number,” Noble said, adding a judge could soon begin considering whether to certify the class action.

“The more people we have signed on by then, the more likely the courts would look on this as being a very significant movement, as opposed to a movement of a handful.”

About 60,000 households have refused smart meters or less than four per cent of all BC Hydro customers.

BC Hydro has not yet issued its response to the claim filed July 25 on behalf of representative plaintiff Nomi Davis.

It demands free choice “without extortive fees, coercion or conditions designed to intimidate.”

Registering with the lawsuit costs $100.

The provincial government has indicated those who still have analog power meters they want to keep will be able to pay around $20 a month extra to continue manual meter readings.

Opponents aren’t happy with the fees or Hydro indications that smart meters may still replace analog ones as they break down.

They also say those with smart meters should have the ability to turn off wireless transmissions.

“The opt-out option that Hydro is offering needs to be a legitimate one,” White Rock resident Linda Ewart said. “What they need to say is ‘If you don’t want one of these meters, you don’t need to have them.'”

Another concern over choice is what happens when someone moves to a new home and a smart meter is already installed.

Many objectors claim health concerns or sensitivity to radio-frequency waves, even though third-party tests have found emissions from smart meters are low compared to other sources.

BC Hydro officials say the lead plaintiff’s analog meter was broken and had to be replaced for safety reasons.

“BC Hydro will work through the judicial process to explain why we are obligated to replace a customer’s meter when there is potential for a safety hazard,” said Greg Reimer, executive vice-president of transmission and distribution, in a statement.

He said both the B.C. Court of Appeal and B.C. Utilities Commission have previously dismissed smart meter legal challenges and that Hydro has “acted at all times within the law.”

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula Alert launches today

Existing subscribers already moved to new system

Local cadets gain acceptance to RMC

Military careers one step closer

New Star Cinema project approved

Cameo development gets unanimous council thumbs up

Stelly’s sidewalk gets green light

Federal funding brings project to fruition

Witnesses sought for alleged drunk driver crash in Sidney

Crash happened June 16 on East Saanich Rd. and Canora Dr.

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest, Ride Don’t Hide, Cordova Bay Day and more

Amalgamation fails in North Cowichan and Duncan

North Cowichan says yes, but Duncan says no

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Mounties seize 1,500 pot plants in ‘extensive Shawnigan raid

Mounties searched a property in the 4800-block of Goldstream Heights Drive on May 30

Most Read