REFUSE campaign picks up speed in SADB

Presentation given on alleged dangers of Hydro Quebec smart meters

By Matthew Guité

A crowd of more than 50 Ste. Anne de Bellevue residents gathered in the basement of St. George’s church Wednesday night to hear a presentation on the alleged dangers of Hydro Quebec’s new smart meters. The presentation, titled “Smart meters and what Hydro is NOT telling you” was hosted by the Ste. Anne and Baie d’Urfe branches of REFUSE and was put on by members of the Lachine and LaSalle branches.

The presentation, which lasted close to two hours, covered a variety of topics. This included the science behind the smart meters and why REFUSE believes them to be dangerous, citing such issues as overexposure to electromagnetic fields and a lack of adherence to safety guidelines like how far Hydro Quebec’s routers can be from residences. They also highlighted what information they claim Hydro is trying to hide from the public, notably how often the smart meters emitted pulses.

The issue of the frequency of pulses was a major concern, the presenters said, as Hydro Quebec was misleading the public about the nature of the meters. Rather than emitting pulses six times a day as Hydro claims, they said, the meters in fact release a pulse anywhere from a few times a minute to every few seconds.

“The smart meters sends a signal to a router, but it’s not six times a day like Hydro says, it’s more like 20 seconds, because they’re talking to each other as well as to the router,” one presenter said.

While the majority of the crowd in attendance was English, the presentation was bilingual and questions were asked in both languages throughout the night covering a number of concerns. One resident asked about the safety of having his smart meter directly through the wall from where he sleeps, while others asked what if anything they could do to prevent their analogue meters being switched out for smart ones. One resident said that despite his protests, Hydro changed his meter against his will.

“Unfortunately, even though people like myself opted out, they went ahead and installed smart meters on our homes, so it’s a done deal,” he said.

The presenters encourage residents to lock their gates and padlock their analogue meters in order to keep Hydro Quebec from changing them against their will. Residents were also handed out information which included a sample letter meant to be attached to analogue meters which warns that anyone attempting to change the meters without consent would be prosecuted for trespassing and other crimes.

Electrohypersensitivity (EHS), a controversial disability which is recognized in some countries but by Quebec’s medical community, was also a topic raised at the presentation. The disability is described as a sensitivity to electromagnetic fields such as the ones put out by WiFi and by Hydro Quebec’s smart meters. According to the presentation, some individuals report that they began to suffer from EHS shortly after having smart meters installed in their home or in their neighbourhood.

Anyone looking for more information about REFUSE can visit one of their websites, such as the LaSalle REFUSE or Laval REFUSE sites.

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