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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Teen missing since early Monday in Langley has been found

Police released information about a 14-year-old girl who has been found safe

Canada West Golf Championships cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

UBC, UBC-O, UFV and UVic athletes will not hit the links this year, Kelowna was set to host

Most Langley students back in class

District update released after the first full week of instruction

Trans-Canada twinning project between 216th and 264th Streets on schedule for 2021

Commuter said more work needs to be focused on 264th Street exit in Aldergrove

What will happen in Langley’s school district when student or staffer tests positive?

The school superintendent lays out protocols based on health expert recommendations

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Dozens of Canadian venues to light up red in support of entertainment workers

Local facilities among dozens across Canada to participate in Light Up Live

Most Read