Smart meter opposition growing
Residents in Verdun, Lasalle and Lachine appear to be mobilizing to keep the new smart Hydro meters out of their houses. They say they're worried about health risks linked to prolonged exposure to radiofrequencies.
Lasalle resident Monika Niedbalski said she recently got a Hydro Quebec letter advising her that the smart meter would be installed soon, something she immediately opted out of. She said opposition is mounting and people want answers from Hydro.
"People have been calling and there's always different answers. There's no proof these meters are safe," Niedbalski told CJAD 800 News.
While experts don't agree on the health risks, Niedbalski said she's not taking any chances, citing studies that suggest prolonged exposure could lead to nausea, headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations and in some cases, cancer. She said she's taking her beef to Lasalle council tonight.
"They could vote on a resolution to stop the installations. Magog has already said no because the citizens have complained. We expect that same respect here in Lasalle. Sherbrooke also did it. So if they really care for their citizens, they will do something," Niedbalski said.
Marie-Michelle Poisson, who's been leading the charge in Villeray, said it's unfair to have to pay to keep the old meters or to opt out and get different meters, as much as 900 dollars a year for three meters in a triplex.
"That's a very discriminatory policy to make people pay simply to preserve their health," Poisson said.
Hydro Quebec spokesperson Danielle Chabot said the project was approved by the Energy Board and that they are complying with Health Canada standards. She said they are sending out notices now and customers have 30 days to opt out and receive a $39 credit, but they also have to pay $100 per old meter annually and $17 a month for readings. After 30 days, you can still opt out but you won't get the credit.
About 50 people turned out for an information meeting in Lasalle last month organized by opponents. Poisson said she'll be speaking at another information meeting coming up this Thursday in Lachine at 7:30 p.m. at the Chevaliers de Colomb de Lachine, 380 6th avenue.