Smart Meter Questions and Answers

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Reasons to Say No to Smart Meters

Educational Packet

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1. Q: What are Smart Meters?

    A:  Read Briefing Letter on Electric Utility Smart Meters (Sage) for a good overview.

Smart Meters are wireless digital utility meters with additional electronic features that allow utilities and consumers to monitor energy usage. Smart meters are part of a new global plan to upgrade the world electrical grid to a Smart Grid and reduce energy consumption. They are being installed where your old electric and gas meters were located. Wireless water meters are also being planned in many regions. (1) Smart Meter planning in the United States is related to the Energy Act of 2007 and administered by the US Dept of Energy, the FCC, and each state’s public utilities commission (PUC). The local utility companies have been approved to install Smart Meters in every building that receives utilities in many of the states, such as California. Others, such as Connecticut and Massachusetts, are taking a “wait and see” approach or establishing small pilot programs, due to concerns about health, safety, privacy, and security.

2. Q: How can Smart Meters be harmful to my health or unsafe? What is it like to be ill from smart meters?

     A: The Smart Meters installed in the USA and most countries are wireless and emit (non-ionizing) RF radiation which has been increasingly of concern, linked to biological effects in living beings (2), including humans, animals, and plant life. 

UPDATES: JULY, 2011

Dr. Johansson’s letter re: SmartGrid / Smart Meter dangers to CPUC 7.9.2011

Dr. Olle Johansson writes to the California Public Utility Commission to detail the dangers related to exposures to radiofrequency radiation, the establishment of a wireless smart grid and use of wireless smart meters. Dr. Johansson confirms “The recent determination of the World Health Organization (WHO) to include radiofrequent radiation on the 2B list of carcinogens also applies to devices such as smart meters. ” Dr. Johansson warns the CPUC, now contemplating approval of vast wireless mesh network-based smart grid plans in California, against the use of wireless smart meters, citing extensive research, bioeffects, and the recent determinations of governmental bodies and authorities in Europe.

CEP LEGAL PROTEST FILED ON CALIFORNIA SMART GRID PLAN, JULY 6, 2011

WHO PLACES RF RADIATION ON B2 LIST OF CARCINOGENS, MAY 31, 2011

PARLIAMENT OF EUROPE:GOVERNMENTS: REDUCE EXPOSURES TO ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS, MAY 27, 2011

        Some Smart Meters in CA have been measured at higher levels than are allowed by FCC regulations (3), which are considered to be obsolete and inadequate to protect health, by many experts. See question #5 below and visit our Smart Meters Researchpage for more info.

         Smart Meters may also not be tested for safety by Underwriters Laboratory. Click here to read a story about this. “Capitola City Council discovered that the wireless ‘smart’ meters that CA utilities are trying to install are in fact not certified by Underwriters Laboratory, a certification that is required under the state electrical code for all electrical appliances and equipment within the home.”

PLEASE NOTE OUR DISCLAIMER, BELOW. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED TO SUBSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL ADVICE AND IS INFORMATIONAL ONLY.

 

To learn what it is like to be sick from smart meters, and to try to take action, read: Smart Meter Nightmare Testimonies

3.  Q: How can the government(s) and health authorities allow Smart Meters to be installed if they are a public health threat?

    A: Despite several decades of research that increasingly shows low levels of RF emissions to be harmful, the World Health Organization and FCC (Federal Communications Commission, the United States agency in charge of standards regarding non-ionizing radiation) have not issued improved standards or policies, based on current science and the precautionary principle, for general population exposure limits. The current attitude of governmental bodies in the United States is that if radiation doesn’t heat tissue, it is safe. Ionizing radiation heats tissue and standards for it were issued in the 1990′s, and haven’t been updated since then. Non-ionizing radiation is considered safe, therefore, within this standard, which a growing number of scientists, researchers, and experts feel is a flawed position. Further, Smart Meters are installed as part of a mesh network, with chronic exposure, and in the presence of many other wireless devices, and FCC/WHO standards were never developed for that circumstance. All health authorities, thus far, look to the WHO and FCC for information. The public assumes protection that is not being provided, but it is based on what many consider to be a flawed, obsolete scientific basis.

WHO PLACES RF RADIATION ON B2 LIST OF CARCINOGENS, MAY 31, 2011

SCIENTIST WARNS OFSMART METER DANGERS, JULY 9, 2011

“The scientific journal Reviews on Environmental Health has published a report by international scientists calling for greatly reduced exposure limits for electromagnetic radiation from power line and telecommunications technologies, including cell phones and wireless technologies.The Seletun Scientific Statement, written by seven scientists in five countries, based on a large and growing body of science showing biological effects. They say governments should take decisive action now to protect biological function as well as the health of future generations.“(4)

4. Q: Are Smart Meters installed by experienced technicians? Can they cause fires?

    A: No, experienced technicians are not always used by the utility companies. Yes, fires have been reported after smart meter installations, along with burnout of appliances of all types.

Read the following interview with a Smart Meter installer, to learn shocking details of how meter installers can be poorly trained, new workers who install them incorrectly at times, only given 15 minutes for each one. Incorrectly installed Smart Meters can be fire hazards. Stop Smart Meters! Exclusive: Interview with the Wellington Energy Whistleblower  http://stopsmartmeters.wordpress.com/.

Click here to learn more: EMF Safety Network has a must-read, extensive section on Smart Meter Fires and Explosions

If you are hearing humming, buzzing in the wires, have power going on and off, your home may be at risk for smart meter fires or burn-outs of your home appliances. Read the EMF Safety Network info on the above link, report it to your local utility company by phone and in writing, document the problems,  and consider checking with your electrician. These types of problems may NOT be covered by your insurance if the damage is caused by the utility company. Read: Smart Meter Arcing Hazard

5. Q: What are the health effects of RF radiation exposure for animals and humans?

     A: According to Firstenberg,presented in an amended table by M. Havas, PhD of scientific findings to include FCC guideline info :  At 1/100th of FCC guidelines: sleep disorders, abnormal blood pressure, nervousness, weakness, fatigue, limb pain, joint pain, digestive problems, learning problems (fewer schoolchildren promoted). At 1/1000th of FCC guidelines: altered EEG, disturbed carbohydrate metabolism, enlarged adrenals, altered adrenal hormone levels. structural changes in liver, spleen, testes, and brain, slowing of the heart, increase in melatonin, decreased cell growth, increased sterility, childhood leukemia, impaired motor function, reaction time, memory and attention of school children, and altered sex ratio of children (fewer boys); cardiac arrythmias and sometimes cardiac arrest (frogs); altered white blood cell activity in schoolchildren, headache, dizziness, irritability, fatigue, weakness, insomnia, chest pain, difficulty breathing, indigestion (humans – occupational exposure); 1% of FCC guideline: damaged mitochondria, nucleus of cells in hippocampus of brain, impaired memory and visual reaction time, redistribution of metals in the lungs, brain, heart, liver, kidney, muscles, spleen, bones, skin, blood. (5)
Please note: RF radiation impacts plants, animals, and humans. Plant growth can be interfered with. Based on these scientific findings, the establishment of any global network that exposes all humans, animals, and plants to RF emissions may be postulated as capable of interfering with the health and growth of living beings and ultimately, may have unanticipated, devastating effects on all life (6). PLEASE NOTE OUR DISCLAIMER, BELOW. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED TO SUBSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL ADVICE AND IS INFORMATIONAL ONLY.

 
6. Q: If I have a health problem that may be related to Smart Meters, who can help?

UPDATE: IN CALIFORNIA, YOU MAY SOON BE ABLE TO OPT-OUT. click link to listen, below:

CPUC ANNOUNCES SMART METER OPT-OUT PLAN / VIDEO OF MARCH 10, 2011 CPUC MEETING

Note: In the first five minutes of this video, hear Michael Peevey, President of CPUC, describe the smart meter opt-out plan he is directing PG&E to submit, within 2 weeks. In the following hour, listen to members of the public submit their statements to the CPUC. Important to know that since requested accommodations were not made by the CPUC, many disabled members of the public could not attend nor call-in to speak, from all parts of California.

    A:  You may go to an informed environmental physician or other health provider, preferably one who understands electro sensitivities, or your informed family doctor, to discuss the matter. It may help todownload a study describing the health effects of RF radiation and print this page.  Your physician may document the condition, make a diagnosis, and if he/she feels it is related, may write you a letter that can be presented to your state’s public utilities commission and local utility, to request opting out of the Smart Meter program, removing it, or making any other appropriate arrangements. Your physician may recommend not spending time too close to the meter, nor sleeping by it. He/she may make recommendations for reducing wireless exposures in general. It should be noted that some utilities may honor requests to opt out or remove the meter but most often, it is reported that most utilies will not. You may also check with an electrical engineer in your area who does consulting for RF radiation exposures to learn how to set up shielding, if you can’t have the meter removed.

Legal options may be considered. Writing your local, state, and federal legislators and President Obama, Dr. Thomas Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control, the US Department of Energy (Inspector General’s Office handles complaints) and the Federal Communications Commission would be helpful, also. If they don’t hear about problems, they assume there are none. PLEASE NOTE OUR DISCLAIMER, BELOW. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED TO SUBSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL ADVICE AND IS INFORMATIONAL ONLY.

7. Q: Who can I complain to about these smart meter public health dangers?

 

From EMF Safety Network’s Take Action,: (for Californians) “In addition, continue to complain to the California State Public Utilities Commission. They are the decision makers for this issue. You can file a CPUC Complaint  and send this email or write to: CPUC c/o Public Advisor 505 Van Ness Ave. Rm. 2103 San Francisco CA. 94102. FAX: 415-703-1758  You can also follow up by calling:

Mike Florio 415-703-1840
Catharine Sandoval 415-703-2593
President Michael Peevey 415-703-3703
Timothy Simon 415-703-1407
Mark Ferron 415-703-2782

In all other states: Find your PUC here. Print out this PUC Letter and mail!

  • If you are in California, you may file a written complaint, sent certified, return receipt, keeping a copy, with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), go to http://www.cpuc.ca.gov. Follow up in writing and on the phone to be sure that the CPUC is taking action on your complaint. Be sure to file a complaint with your utility also, in writing, certified, return receipt.
  •  Visit http://www.electricalpollution.com/smartmeters.html to read ElectricalPollution.com’s excellent article “Transmitting Smart Meters Pose a Serious Threat to Public Health”, with information on actions to take and how to report these problems to authorities in the USA.

For more ideas visit our article:

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT SMART METERS

 

8. Q: Is there any way to shield my home from smart meter emissions?

A:  It is a very sorry day when Americans, Canadians, and others in countries like the United Kingdom and Australia must shield their homes from government-funded utility devices that make them impossible to occupy otherwise. The following info is subject to our disclaimer and are merely examples of what some people have done to shield. Results may best be measured with a RF field meter or by professionals, and each individual circumstance may require a variety of solutions. Feedback from people who have attempted shielding is mixed. It doesn’t always work, sometimes does, sometimes doesn’t, and sometimes can make things worse. Radiation is coming at us from all sides with the smart grid mesh network system, from all the neighbors’ meters, like a spiderweb or blanket of signals that are constantly pulsing, designed to pass through our buildings. There is no perfect solution to deal with this yet, except not to have it exist in the first place.

UPDATE:

According to experts we have consulted with, RF radiation is shielded by aluminum, sheet metal, or copper (grounded to outside grounding rods). Materials used range from heavy duty aluminum foil to sheet metal to copper materials. Even aluminum screening material may be utilized. Every situation is somewhat different, due to variables that differ, such as exposures to neighboring meters and placement of meters, building materials, etc. Keeping as much distance from the smart meters as possible (20+ feet) and not occupying or sleeping in a room where the smart meter is, is a good idea, according to many, including some physicians we have spoken with.

Examples of shielding with “good results” reported:

1. Interior use of rigid aluminum-covered foam insulation panels: There is a recent report from a woman in California who lives in a condo unit with 6 smart meters aimed at her apartment, that were causing severe reactions. She bought large 8′ by 4′  R Max Thermasheath 3 rigid insulation panels from Home Depot (core is solid polyisocyanurate, both sides faced with aluminum  – comes like that) and installed them in barrier fashion (overlapped two right in front of the portion of the wall facing the smart meters). Attached them with aluminum tape. This then covers that entire wall of the house facing the bank of smart meters, which is the only way she can use that room and sleep at night (bedroom nearby). Thicknesses available are 1″ ($18.98 ea.) and 2″ ($30.98 ea.). (We are not aware of any difference in results related to the thickness of the foam core, and the exterior aluminum coating seems to be identical for both sizes.) Note: rigid installation recommended to meet fire codes. “Rmax Thermasheath-3 is a rigid foam plastic thermal insulation board composed of environmentally sound, closed cell, polyisocyanurate foam bonded to reinforced aluminum foil facers on each side.” http://www.rmaxinc.com/wall-thermasheath3.asp. 

Radiant barrier materials made of aluminum may also be explored, these can cover studs if placing barrier inside walls. Again, we recommend help from professional in planning and testing your barriers. Use of a rf field meter helpful to measure the resulting desired reduction of rf radiation, recommended, before and after.

2. Two layers of shielding along an entire wall, built from Reflectix “bubble foil” (4′ X 10′) www.reflectixinc.com, obtained from Home Dept, along with Reflectix foil tape (sold alongside it) used to patch pieces together. 1/8-1/4″ “bubble-wrap” core with foil on both front and back surfaces. Use two layers of bubble foil “sandwiched” with wax paper in between, fastened together with blue masking tape. Attach to wall with tan masking tape, do not pierce the bubble foil with nails or staples, and do not use duct tape. This arrangement does not need to be grounded according to one expert. Tested by a professional with rf meter, the bubble foil with the wax paper in between two layers did a better job than two layers with aluminum sides touching. This arrangement, covering an entire interior wall facing a neighbor’s meter(s) reduced the rf enough to stop the dizziness and headaches that a family was experiencing from the neighbor’s meter. This family is without a smart meter on their own home. They report major relief. Available on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Reflectix-BP48010-48-Inch-10-Feet-Insulation/dp/B000BPAULS for $20.00 a roll.

3. There are various smart meter shielding systems starting to emerge on the market, you may check these out by doing a search on smart meter shield. In general, certain metals are used to shield. One of these systems is available at www.smartmetershield.com.

4. The rf specialists we have consulted with have recommended using heavy-duty aluminum foil, aluminum or sheet metal, on the interior wall behind the smart meter, reaching as far as a shadow would fall, grounded to the outside approx. 15-20 ft. from meter. The grounding is accomplished with a large alligator clip available at Radio Shack and other locations, such as electrical supply stores, as is the grounding wire and grounding rod. Please note that these metals may become secondary antennae for the smart meter emissions, which is why proper grounding is important. Grounded metal (aluminum) screens were also said to help reduce the rf emissions. Some people have reported significant reduction in the loud ringing sounds by using heavy aluminum foil, grounded, on the interior wall behind the meter. Please note that shielding may reduce radiation (measured w/ rf field meter to confirm) but occupying the room where the smart meter is located may still not be advisable, according to the professionals we have spoken with.

View this demo of how shielding against a wall can reduce emissions. Even though this demo is for shielding of a meter on an exterior wall, which is not recommended, you can see how the emissions may be reduced with foil, and consider applying this to an interior wall. If placed on the meter itself, on the exterior, foil reflects the radiation back into the house at increased level, which is not desirable. http://youtu.be/CL2JQ0FbgvU

You are safer consulting with a specialist in rf radiation and/or an informed electrician or electrical engineer on this topic. Pre and post-testing is of particular help using an rf field meter, such as those located at

www.emfcenter.com (recommended – provides directions for lay persons) and http://www.lessemf.com/rf.html. (Note that the one that measures the pulses from smart meters is the HC 35 Rf Field Meter, ask for this meter if possible, it is the one featured in most of the YouTube segments measuring smart meter pulses and looks like it has a green Christmas tree on top. The TenMars TM-195 – 3 Axis RF Meter – is acceptable for overall rf but does not measure pulses.)

Going near the meter, especially standing in front of it, and/or touching it may be dangerous, we are told by experts, though there is no warning on it nor info from the utilities about this. We strongly recommend that you first consult with a specialist (electrical engineer or similarly educated environmental consultant) in rf radiation shielding in your area to determine how best to shield your home, or visit our Resources - Key Websites page for more info.

IMPORTANT: Wrapping the meter in aluminum foil is not advised. When the meter is unable to send its signal, it “ramps up” and may emit higher levels of radiation that are reflected back inside the walls of the home.

Our disclaimer applies to the use of this info, which is provided for informational purposes only.

9. Q: Is it true that smart meters can generate higher bills?

A: YES. Financial ruin is described by some who have experienced high smart meter bills.

Smart Meter Consumers Anger Grows Over Higher Bills (Texas and California) — “read about the grandma whose grandchildren are cold because she can’t turn on the heater due to these outrageously high bills, and the senior whose cats are dying because of the wireless smart meter.” Another comment is: “Since July, when the “SmartMeter” was installed, I have seen a 600% increase in my monthly billing!

https://sites.google.com/site/nocelltowerinourneighborhood/home/wireless-smart-meter-concerns/smart-meter-consumers-anger-grows-over-higher-utility-bills to learn more.

Lessons Learned: Canada make sure to see the CTV Part 3 report on smart meters for true costs that ratepayers will bear — consumers there are seeing increases, not decreases in their bills:
 
10. Q: I have heard that in California, many cities, towns, and even counties have rejected the use of smart meters due to concerns about health effects. Is this true?
A. YES. At this writing (1.22.12), at least 49 California municipalities, including 10 counties, have issued resolutions or ordinances against smart meters, with many ordinances passed. For instance, Marin County criminalized the installation of smart meters in their county and Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors (July, 2011) issued a letter to the CPUC demanding an opt-out plan.
For a list of California local governments opposing smart meters go to: http://stopsmartmeters.org/sample-letter-to-local-government/ca-local-governments-on-board/

For a link to the ordinances and resolutions against smart meters in CA go to:
http://www.smartmeterdangers.org/index.php/smart-meter-resources/90-smartmeter-city-county-calif-ordinances-docs

11. Q: Who, then, does the smart meter benefit?
A: The utility companies ONLY are the ones to benefit, having complete financial and behavioral control over the customer. Utilities will make billions off the smart meter program, in a variety of ways. The utility interferes in your privacy – your activities in the home become known to them as data collects on what you are doing and when you are doing it, inside your home. In fact, it can be stated that utility companies have the capacity to determine quality of life, health, and/or death of the customer, with regard to the degree of emissions your smart meter emits. Any of us who have seen Erin Brockovich (film) will know that people do not want to be made sick or to be killed by their utility companies, or by anyone, for that matter.
12. Q: How can I avoid having a smart meter installed?
A: Some people have written their utilities and requested to keep their old analogs. That is a good idea but it rarely will work, as the smart grid is dependent upon everyone, essentially, participating, and they will be denied. Only the state of Maine has an operating opt-out plan approved by their public utility commission. There is a pending opt-out plan in California, with an opt-out list for PG&E customers (only). But that opt-out plan costs a lot AND it is to have a smart meter with transmitters and receivers turned off, which doesn’t eliminate all the problems. Most people we have heard from don’t trust a utility to keep the transmitters off, also.
Some utility customers place signs on their meters “DO NOT INSTALL SMART METER HERE”, which works sometimes but ultimately, does not. Some guard their old meters and argue with the installers, driving them away. But the installation will occur when they aren’t home, eventually. Still others are threatened by the utility for their refusals, with cutoff of power services.
Some say the most surefire way to resist smart meters is to fence your analog meter(s) off behind a locked gate, preferably with a snarling dog present. Others lock up their old analog meters with a chain or locked or soddered bar over it, so it still can be read. People with fenced meters have to make an appt with the utility to allow the meter reader in, or they read their own meters, by arrangement and send the info to the company. Still others have an option of Prepayment and pay monthly while retaining an analog meter (in Arizona, we have heard).
Those who make it impossible to remove the meter seem to be the most successful No one has  had power cut that we know of, unless they didn’t pay their bill.
For detailed information on avoiding a smart meter, read more at: http://www.smartmeterdangers.org/index.php/smartmeter-facts/170-how-to-avoid-a-smartmeter
For a host of ideas on stopping the meter installations, by the numbers, go to http://stopsmartmeters.org/how-you-can-stop-smart-meters/
Visit www.emfsafetynetwork.org and www.stopsmartmeters.org in addition to this site for more vital information.
JUST SAY NO TO SMART METERS!

USE OF THIS SITE DEPENDS ON AGREEMENT WITH OUR DISCLAIMER: This website is intended to help advance knowledge and stimulate further research. While all reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure the validity of the information given, no warranty is given towards its accuracy. It is not intended to substitute for medical advice nor as a final statement with regard to possible prevention and avoidance recommendations or potential biological effects. No liability is accepted by the authors for damages arising from its use or misuse and interpretation by others. All references to smart meters refer to wireless devices, which may vary in their emissions.

(1) A Briefing Letter: What You Should Know About Smart Meters (Sage)
(2)
Biological effects from electromagnetic field exposure and public exposure standards.
Hardell L, Sage C., Biomed Pharmacother. 2008 Feb;62(2):104-9. Epub 2007 Dec 31.
(3)
Assessment of Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation Emissions from Smart Meters  (Sage)
(4) ElectroMagneticHealth.org Blog “The Seletun Statement Media Advisory” 2/3/11. 
http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/the-seletun-statement/
(5) Analysis of Health and Environmental Effects of Proposed San Francisco Earthlink Wi-Fi Network (May, 2007), Magda Havas, PhD, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada (p.15 /51).
(6)
Scientific panel on electromagnetic field health risks: consensus points, recommendations, and rationales
.
Fragopoulou A, Grigoriev Y, Johansson O, Margaritis LH, Morgan L, Richter E, Sage C., University of Athens, Athens, Greece.Rev Environ Health. 2010 Oct-Dec;25:307-17.

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THIS SITE IS UPDATED FREQUENTLY … KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR MORE INFORMATION
USE OF THIS SITE DEPENDS ON AGREEMENT WITH OUR DISCLAIMER: This website is intended to help advance knowledge and stimulate further research. While all reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure the validity of the information given, no warranty is given towards its accuracy. It is not intended to substitute for medical advice nor as a final statement with regard to possible prevention and avoidance recommendations or potential biological effects. No liability is accepted by the authors for damages arising from its use or misuse and interpretation by others. All references to smart meters refer to wireless devices, which may vary in their emissions.
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