POLITICS
09/30/2011 02:47 EDT | Updated 11/30/2011 05:12 EST

Municipal leaders vote against BC Hydro's billion-dollar smart meter program

VANCOUVER - Delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver have voted narrowly in favour of moratorium on BC Hydro Smart Meters.

The vote was 55 per cent in favour and 45 against.

However, Energy Minister Rich Coleman has said the government will proceed with the billion-dollar program anyway, calling the meters the global standard for a modern power grid.

The meters measure residents' power consumption and then use wireless signals to beam that information back to BC Hydro.

Some opponents fear the units will release too much radiation but Hydro says living next to a smart meter for 20 years would expose a resident to the same level of radiation as a 30-minute cellphone call.

The utility says the new technology will make the province's energy grid more efficient, sustainable and better able to respond to outages. (CKNW The Canadian Press)