ABOVE: (Jul. 3, 2014) Saskatchewan Power has announced it’s removing all smart meters in that province after 8 fires were linked to the devices. As Ines de la Cuetera reports Hydro Quebec insists the meters are safe, but Montrealers are far from reassured.
MONTREAL – The installation of smart meters is a hot topic in many parts of Quebec. People in several municipalities simply don’t want them installed in their homes, for fear of long-term health risks.
On Wednesday, the government of Saskatchewan ordered the removal of smart meters due to risk of fire hazards.
“When we put at risk — in a program like this — people’s lives, or their family’s lives, that can’t be compromised”, said Bill Boyd, Minister responsible for Saskpower.
The Saskatchewan recall is raising questions from the public right here at home, including Global Montreal viewer Patricia Oliver, who took to Twitter this morning to voice her concerns.
“At first I thought it was because of the missions that people had been talking about, and then when I read into it, it was because of fire hazards,” she said.
HydroQuebec maintains smart meters are safe.
“We want to reassure our customers that we do not install the same technology, and it’s coming from different suppliers so in Quebec there is no problem with fire whatsoever,” said Patrice Lavoie, spokesperson for HydroQuebec.
Lavoie explained the fires he’s heard of were caused by faulty installation and electrical problems – not the smart meters themselves.
In Saskatchewan, the investigation to determine what exactly caused the fires is still ongoing. Still, activists say Saskpower’s decision is proof smart meters are dangerous.
“We have the obvious evidence of government here in Canada, here who takes the right decision and they continue to say no there is no problem, maybe its the model, or the installation of the house – no,” said Marie-Michelle Poisson, Refusons les Compteurs Intelligents spokesperson.
“There [were] no fires before with electro-mechanique meters, there [are] problems only since they make the rollout of these smart meters in America.”
Homeowners can opt out of the smart meter program, yet so far, only 0.5 per cent of the population has done so.
Poisson is one of those people.
She has even gone so far as to put a lock on her old meter, so as to keep HydroQuebec from switching it out.
HydroQuebec has already installed 1.7 million smart meters across the province and says it hopes to have 3.8 million installed by 2018.