Sunday, September 21, 2014
Human Rights Tribunal rejects smart meter complaint
Smart meter installer photographs a sign posted to refuse replacement of mechanical power meter, Revelstoke, May 2012.
After losing in court and and before the B.C. Utilities Commission, a citizens' group opposed to wireless electrical meters has been denied a hearing before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
The complaint was brought by a group called Citizens for Safe Technology Society (CSTS), which argued that "electrohypersensitivity" (EHS) is a disability.
"I have concluded that there is no reasonable prospect that the complainants will be able to establish that the electromagnetic frequency (EMF) exposure resulting from smart meters results in adverse health consequences," wrote tribunal member Norman Trerise in the decision not to hold a full hearing.
CSTS submitted that they don't have to prove this sensitivity exists, because the human rights tribunal has accepted "subjective self-reporting of symptoms" in a previous human rights case involving a Lower Mainland bus driver.
CSTS also cited a Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal decision that stated "a person may be ill even though there is little or no objective evidence to prove it."
BC Hydro said a series of doctors' notes supplied by the complainants don't prove the condition is real, because they appear to be based "entirely on the self-diagnosis of the individual complainants."
BC Hydro has argued that the exposure from periodic wireless meter signals to send electricity consumption data to collection stations is similar to exposure to radio station signals.
BC Hydro said the Human Rights Tribunal doesn't have jurisdiction over the wireless grid project, and the B.C. Utilities Commission does. The B.C. government's 2010 Clean Energy Act mandated the wireless grid upgrade, and exempted it from review by the BCUC.
But in 2013 the BCUC reviewed the wireless grid project by FortisBC in the Okanagan and Kootenay region, and rejected CSTS submissions that the technology was a health hazard.
CSTS argued that BC Hydro's offer to relocate the wireless meter to another part of the property was not sufficient relief, and charging meter reading fees to those who want to keep their mechanical meter or have a digital meter with the wireless transmission turned off is discrimination against people with a disability.