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Last Updated: , Created: Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Opting out of Hydro Quebec's Smart Meter program and alternatives

Alternatives to paying hydro to not install a smart meter

In Quebec as in some other jurisdictions, the electrical utility has opened the door to refusing the installation of Smart Meters by consumers -- but at a consideral penality.  Initially, in 2012, Hydro Quebec is imposing a $137 charge just to not install the meter and then $17 dollars a month to pay a human to come and read it.  That is a continuing surcharge on your utility of $204 a year.


Quebec update - 2014 -- act before January 5, 2015 for the best deal

Following intensive citizen and elected representative pressure, the Quebec Energy Board has forced Hydro Quebec to enact a serious roll-back of the fees charged, and that roll back will be rectroactive so people who "opted-out" of the smart meter program will get a rebate.  Now, if you react within a 30 day time limit from the date you are informed that they will install a new meter, you can opt out and pay an installation charge of $15, and a monthly fee of $5. That is a lot less than noted above at the initial roll out.  You can also demand the removial of a smart meter and replace it at any time in the future, although the fees will be higher.  If you act before January 5, 2015, it will cost $15 to install, after that $85 to install -- but in all cases only $5 a month penallity for Hydro to send someone out to read the meter.  Check for details on this and other Canadian resistance to forced Smart Meter installations.  Hydro Quebec continues to refuse to indicate how many people have opted out of their questionable high tech adventure but they admit that they can not even keep up with the telephone calls after a French Facebook campaign went viral in December 2014.


Italy has proven that wireless is not necessary

What is often ignored in all of this Smart Meter debate is that the controversial wireless option is not at all a necessity for the objectives set out by all the Canadian utilities.  Between 2000 and 2005 Italy installed a full grid of 30 million Smart Meters that communicate back to the utilities by way of the power lines themselves, totally avoiding the Radio Frequency health debate and proving that Wireless is in no way necessary for electrical grid deployment -- and that was all installed and operating before Hydro Quebec deployed their very first Wireless Smart Meters.  Wireless is simply not necessary and following the precautionary principle on the health question would have not restrained Hydro from its technological objectives. 

Although Hydro Quebec has had to partially back off its corresive measures to impliment their wireless Smart Meter program, neither the Energy Board nor Hydro Quebec are paying any attention to the growning proof of biological distrubances caused by these devices.


Alternatives to opting-out

Paying less is fine, but paying at all to not have a radio frequency transmitting electrical meter raises the question of would it not be a worthwhile investment to simply allow the smart meter to be installed and work on shielding the house from its radiation.


Background information

If you are unclear about the health debate surrounding the massive implimentation of wireless Smart Meters, follow this link to an overview of the debate.

For information on actually measuring electric and electromagnetic fields in your house, follow this link.

Click here for a link to the rapidly growing greater Montreal Area citizen resistance to Smart Meter installation.


Caution on whole house considerations

Once we start playing with shielding magnetic fields we need to be careful to evulate the entire environment of the house.  For instance just trying to block the meter's broadcast outdoors will probably reflect it right back into your house even stronger.  Also installing barriers between the meter and your house could concentrate other sources of radiation in your house.  A whole house assessment is important.


One specialist's recommendation

Katarina Gustavs works for a company called Rainbow Consulting in B.C. and works according to the concepts developed in Germany called Buiilding Biology -- a developed diciplined approach to integrating buildings, humans and technology -- taking into account that all aspects of our living environments affect human biology.

Here are Katarina's suggestions and cautions when asked what can be done to reduce one's exposure to Smart Meters rather than just paying to not have one.

"First, an EMF assessment should be done to determine the RF exposure levels not only from the smart meter but other wireless sources as well, including ELF electric and magnetic field levels because RF shielding may interact with the latter fields.

Once the exposure situation is known, a shielding concept can be developed. Copper mesh, aluminum screen, carbon-based paint, and silver-based fabrics all work to reduce RF radiation exposure from smart meters. RF shielding is best grounded by a qualified electrician to avoid unwanted interaction with the AC electric fields of the home wiring system. Which material is the best in a given situation depends on the desired level of reduction, available funds, the predominant building and finishing materials, etc. Always take measurements after any shielding was installed to verify the results.

Ideally, the smart meter is removed from the residence or at least moved to the property line away from the residence. Here in British Columbia where Itron OpenWay smart meters are installed, I recommend at the very least a minimum distance of 12 feet on the inside. And no matter which electric meter--analog, digital, or smart--you have, you would want to keep a minimum of 6 feet distance anyhow because of the associated magnetic fields." -- Katarina Gustavs


Keywords: Measuring, Wiring, Radiation, Screen, Levels, Financial, Cell Phones, Electromagnetic Fields, Smart Meters, Investment, Health, Paint, Alternative, Overview, System

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