Is is smart to install Smart Meters?Summer 2012
Is It Smart to Install Smart Meters?
It is the plan of power and energy authorities worldwide to replace current disk-style (analogue) hydro, gas and water meters with digital “Smart Meters.” These are wireless devices that use radio frequency waves (RFI) to monitor use and transmit information about each household’s consumption. They are being enthusiastically promoted by governments and industry as a “green initiative,” supposedly enabling utility companies to efficiently monitor consumption during peak and “down” times, and encourage wise use of energy and resources. The vision is that these “Smart Meters” will operate within a wider ranging “Smart Grid.” In California alone the estimate is over 17 million meters will be installed by the end of 2012.
How Smart Meters Work
The information-carrying radio waves— transmitting 24/7—will effectively blanket homes and neighborhoods with radiation that could adversely affect not just humans but all living systems. In particular, these meters have the potential to affect not only electro-hypersensitive persons, but children and pregnant women, persons with medical conditions such as heart arrhythmia, those with compromised immune systems and others who rely on medical and/or metal implants or equipment. In addition to health concerns, Smart Meters bring with them questions about fire and security hazards.
Their concern centers on the public’s exposure to microwave and radio wave radiation emitted from these meters that is involuntary and continuous.
Transmitted microwave and radio frequency radiation have the potential to cause serious long-term health consequences, even for those who do not notice overt symptoms. The majority of independent studies report similar results: impairment of cellular communication, DNA breakages, increased stress proteins, etc. Studies targeting cell phone and cordless phone usage are finding increased risk of brain tumors. Children seem to be particularly vulnerable. A review of studies performed prior to 2007 is available at http://www.bioinitiative. org. A recent public health study provides particularly strong evidence that we should be concerned about continuous exposure to transmitted microwave radiation. Radio wave and microwave radiation are not just a problem for people, they are causing serious problems for animals of all types and plant life as well.
Additionally, consumers are concerned about the unnecessary costs. Claims have been made that the meters were inaccurate and caused utility bills to spike. The multimillion-dollar cost of the smart meter project is being passed through to utility customers on their monthly bills. The costs of installing the new digital wireless meters is substantial, their accuracy is debatable and there is much controversy as to whether or not the readings serve to decrease power use, or simply to increase power costs to consumers. Worse yet, digital Smart Meters will effectively eliminate a number of jobs.
From California to Texas to Maine and across the boarder into Canada consumers have created push back initiatives voicing their concern about the move. In city counsel meetings around the country people are challenging the sweeping plan.
In California the complaints grew so vocal that the president of the state’s Public Utility Commission, directed Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to develop a plan to allow customers who object to the meters to be provided another option. “I think it’s clear the time has come for some kind of movement in the direction of customer opt-outs,” said Michael Peevey. He added that the health complaints have been limited to the PG&E customer base. His initial order did not extend to the other two utility companies. HK