Lower Mainland residents are planning a rally in Burnaby for June 14, calling for better options for people who don't want smart meters.
White Rock resident Linda Ewart, one of the rally organizers, says the event is about democracy and choice.
"An opt-out needs to be for anyone that wants to opt out, and we're not getting that," she said, explaining that B.C. Hydro resorted to pressure tactics to have the meters installed, and once they're in, there's no removing them.
Like cell phones, smart meters emit radiofrequency waves, and those electromagnetic fields are considered possibly carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
"People should have a choice about having a possibly carcinogenic device in their homes," Ewart said.
Ewart is a member of the Citizens for Safe Technology and the Coalition to Stop Smart Meters. She's hoping roughly 200 people will attend the rally at Burnaby's Fraser Foreshore Park, just across the street from a B.C. Hydro office.
Last summer, the province gave some people an option to keep their old meter or have a "radio-off meter" installed, (where the radio transmitter was turned off), but by then 97 per cent of homes in British Columbia already had smart meters installed.
Fewer than 19,000 British Columbians have refused to allow B.C. Hydro to install smart meters on their property. Those who are keeping their old meter pay $32.40 per month. According to B.C. Hydro, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer, Health Canada and the World Health Organization have all confirmed that smart meters are safe.
B.C. Hydro maintains that smart metres are only transmitting wirelessly for 1.4 seconds per day, and that one year of smart meter radio frequency is equivalent to four minutes of wifi use.
The Burnaby rally coincides with a series of rallies across B.C. on June 14.
On a related note, the Health Action Network in Burnaby is hosting a screening of Take Back Your Power, a documentary on electromagnetic frequency and associated health concerns. The screening is on Thursday, June 12 at 7 p.m., (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) at the Firefighters Banquet Hall, 6515 Bonsor St.