Smart meters banned on Osoyoos reserve land

Band council announces it's signed an order prohibiting installation of the devices at 700 homes and businesses

Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie has banned the installation of smart meters on reserve land.

Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie has banned the installation of smart meters on reserve land.

OIB Smart Meters Press Release

Citing “science-based evidence,” the Osoyoos Indian Band announced Thursday it would ban the installation of smart meters at 700 homes and businesses on reserve land.

“Having been presented with science-based evidence, the band council and I are convinced that Fortis’ proposed wireless smart meters in meshed-grid networks have the potential to harm our children and our environment,” Chief Clarence Louie said in a press release.

“No scientist on the planet has been able to verify the safety of these extremely dangerous devices that emit microwave radiation 24/7 and which cannot be turned off.”

The press release does not specify the science-based evidence upon which the council based its decision.

Louie did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

FortisBC has applied to the B.C. Utilities Commissions to install the devices, which it contends emit only tiny bursts of electromagnetic radiation below limits set by Health Canada.

The BCUC is expected to rule later this year on the application.

FortisBC spokesperson Neal Pobran said without that approval, it’s premature to speculate how the company will respond to the OIB’s move.

“We’re definitely going to work with all concerned customers if we get approval, and hopefully we can get a resolution through dialogue,” he said.

“It’s a bit early in the game, because we don’t even have a project to begin with, so we can’t really speculate if we’re even going to be going out there and putting on these meters.”

Pobran said the company isn’t contemplating an opt-put option for individual customers, and isn’t sure to which evidence the OIB has referred.

“There’s no real scientific or health reason to be concerned with the advanced meters,” Pobran said.

The smart meters proposed by FortisBC are designed to wirelessly relay usage information to a neighbourhood hub, which would then transmit the information to headquarters.