WATCH ABOVE: Despite opposition, Quebec’s Energy Board gave Hydro-Quebec the green light to continue installing controversial smart meters. Reporter Rachel Lau has more.
MONTREAL – It may seem like a losing battle, but some Montrealers are far from ready to give up their cause.
“We’re here to have hope,” said Janet Hanna, a protester.
“We’re going to continue and this is a democracy so we want our voices to be heard.”
Protesters were out in force to ask the provincial government to stop the installation of Hydro-Quebec’s new smart meters.
“The energy board decision is not valid in our eyes,” said Marie-Michelle Poisson, a Refusons les Compteurs Intelligents spokesperson.
“They are not competent in environment, in health issues and we ask the government to make a decree to stop this project right now,” said Poisson.
Almost 1.6 million meters are already in place across Greater Montreal.
Hydro-Quebec is looking to more than double that number by 2018.
The meters will transmit information about energy consumption back to Hydro.
“Why should they know what time I’m doing my laundry?” asked Hanna.
“Why should they know what time I’m cooking? Why should they know what time I’m on the computer, on television? It’s none of their business. It’s my private life.”
GALLERY: Protesting Hydro’s new smart meters
The meters have been the focus of controversy because of growing health concerns, but Hydro-Quebec insists the meters’ radio-frequency emissions fall within Health Canada’s safety codes.
“If the smart meters are installed some may have some symptoms right now, others won’t react right away,” said Jean-Guy St-Onge, one of the protest’s organizers.
“It could be a couple months after.”
A representative from Hydro claims residents can opt-out of the program, but they’ll have to pay to be exempted.
READ MORE: Fighting Hydro-Quebec smart meters
“Hydro-Quebec makes their money out of all of the taxes that everybody pays,” said Hanna.
“It’s only right for us to have a say in the procedure of how they implement meters in our homes that will have an impact on our health.”
In their march against a future of illness, these Montrealers just hope the provincial government will listen to them.