Dear Mayor and Councillors,
Please take this letter under consideration in your discussions on a possible City Council reaction to the Smart Meter program.
I am writing to personally express support of the Smart Meter program. I ask you to support the Smart Meter Program and not to block its implementation. That said, I am disappointed in BC Hydros initial advertising and publicity of the program. I am also disappointed in the BC Liberal governments way of implementing the program, it’s cost, and it’s reliance on private contractors (ie: Corix). However, I do not believe that we can afford, economically, or environmentally, to put off the program. The problems with it are political, not practical in my opinion.
Points in Support of Meters, and in Opposition to the actions and hyperbole around them:
#1: I believe that Electricity is the necessary and logical linchpin of the future clean energy world. So it will need to be upgraded and expanded to handle that role. Smart Meters are a necessary part of that process and that is why they are already installed in many countries and jurisdictions.
#2: I believe the hourly consumption information the Smart Meters will provide to BC Hydro (as stated by BC Hydro) will allow them to better manage the Grid as a whole and also opens the door to better use of less predictable Renewable Energy resources like Run of River, Wind, Solar, and others. It will also allow for much easier integration of small-scale residential and business solar, wind and other renewable energies.
#3: I believe the Smart Meters and their optional in-home status display giving homeowners and business real time access to their energy usage and trends will provide added incentive and information to get people to lower their energy use, find efficiencies, and save money.
#4: I believe the health concerns about the Meters are greatly exaggerated to the point of hysteria. Multiple independent groups have shown the Radio Frequency radiation from these devices is very much in line with other modern appliances such as TVs, Wifi Routers, Microwaves, Cordless Phones, Cellphones and even Refridgerators. There are always people who have ‘reactions’ to certain things, much like severe and rare allergies, but in the main, these meters are well within and conform to all government guidelines for radiative devices and so should not be treated any differently from those other devices.
#5: I believe the Security concerns are also overblown. As someone who works in the computer industry I am aware of how difficult it is to actually ‘crack’ encryption. It is much easier, and more common, to use ‘social engineering’ to crack a system. In other words, it is easier to break in a find the post-it note with the password than it is the break the encryption. The encryption used on the Smart Meters is very strong AES encryption which is the same as that used by WIFI “WPA2” based secure wireless networks used by homes and enterprises alike and possibly by the City of Port Alberni.
#6: While I understand the privacy concerns raised by some about BC Hydro collecting more data, I do not feel that this data (hourly consumption numbers) is of particular threat especially since (according to BC Hydro) the information is not associated with any particular address or customer while it is being transmitted. That information is held only at BC Hydro offices and falls under existing privacy laws. Whether BC Hydro follows those privacy laws is a legitimate, but separate issue unrelated to Smart Meters.
Thank you for your consideration on this very important and topical matter,
3854 6th Ave
Port Alberni, BC
w: 250-753-3245 x2106