It never ceases to amaze me that people can be so poorly informed about such things as smart meters and renewable energy development.
After all, we live in a world with easy, almost instantaneous, access to accurate information. So there really is no excuse for being misinformed.
Take, for example, the claims made in a recent email received by our group (B.C. Citizens for Green Energy) from someone who only identified themselves as “Cyber Grannie.”
Now it may well be that Cyber Grannie is an actual granny. However, given the dubious nature of online screen names it is equally possible that Cyber Grannie is a 25-year old male attempting to yank our chain.
We have no real way of knowing.
Nevertheless, in “her” email, Cyber Grannie claimed that the smart meters being installed by BC Hydro are “manufactured in China” and are “not green” because the manufacturing plant in China would be powered by burning dirty coal.
Unfortunately for Cyber Grannie, her information about the origin of the smart meters being installed by BC Hydro is 100 percent wrong. The Itron smart meters being installed in B.C. by BC Hydro are manufactured at Itron’s smart meter manufacturing facility in Oconee, South Carolina, not in China.
This information is easily found online for anyone who bothers to look for it. For example, Itron’s website has a Nov.10, 2011 news item which details a plaque presentation to BC Hydro smart meter program staff to celebrate the delivery of the first 500,000 Smart Meters from Itron’s South Carolina manufacturing plant.
Interestingly, Cyber Grannie’s misinformed claim about smart meters is reminiscent of the make-an-outrageous-claim-and-hope-it-sticks-to-the-wall tactics we often see coming from COPE 378 union organizers who, among other things, are opposed to the implementation of smart meters because a couple of hundred COPE 378 union members currently employed as meter readers are being re-assigned or seeing their positions eliminated through normal attrition, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in salary costs along the way.
And given the complete, and somewhat suspicious, inaccuracy of Cyber Grannie’s claim about the point of origin of the smart meters being installed in B.C., it also becomes very easy to dismantle Cyber Grannie’s other claim regarding the source of the energy being used to manufacture these meters.
With just a few minutes of online research, Cyber Grannie would have discovered that the electricity powering Itron’s smart meter manufacturing facility in Oconee, South Carolina more than likely comes from the nearby Oconee Nuclear Station located on Lake Keowee in Oconee County, South Carolina — a non-emitting energy source.
Moreover, Itron installed a 57 kWh solar panel system at its South Carolina smart meter manufacturing facility last year, part of the company’s commendable efforts to reduce its overall carbon footprint.
So, regardless of who Cyber Grannie really is, the claims she makes about the smart meters being installed in B.C. are completely wrong.
And sadly, there really is no excuse for it, because if Cyber Grannie has the computer savvy to create a screen name and set up a Hotmail account, then she should also have the ability to check basic facts online.
David Field, Co-spokesperson
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy