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Smart Meters and the end of personal freedom.
Why Smart Meters are dangerous,
and what you can do to protect your family's
Say No to Smart Meters!
PG&E is installing its wireless "smart meters" (replacing our existing electric and gas meters) at every single home, business, school, medical clinic, etc, in the Bay Area & elsewhere. It's important that you read this and take personal action ASAP, & also spread the word as widely as possible.
The meters transmit pulses of microwave energy roughly every minute, around the clock, and even repeat the signals from neighboring meters in whats called a "mesh network"; and PG&E is also installing additional antennas outside on our light and power poles. PG&Es official line is that no customer is allowed to opt out of receiving its wireless meters. This entire system is creating a looming public health disaster for our families and our communities.
Though safer technologies are readily available to create a smart grid, this ones a sweet financial deal for PG&E. We customers pay all the costs, already $2.2 billion (roughly $250 per meter) bringing PG&E an immediate profit of $300+ million. And they create opportunities for PG&E to soon create even more corporate profit at our expense. PG&E makes phony greenwashing claims about the meters encouraging conservation, but (when you factor in the extra energy needed to broadcast all these pulses night and day), the program will actually likely cause a net increase in our overall carbon footprint. And the meters arent bi-directional, so they cant be used for net metering for folks who have their own rooftop solar installations. By now almost everyones heard about the meters over-billing problems (more than 50,000 inaccurate meters to date) that PG&Es finally being forced to begin acknowledging. But the meters have other major liabilities that most folks havent heard about yet:
There are security & privacy concerns: a top cybersecurity firm recently tested 5 different brands of smart meters for vulnerabilities, and found that they all could be EASILY hacked into, allowing someone to remotely shut down your power, inflate your bills, tell if you're out-of-town (making you a target for burglary), commit identity theft, or even bring down the whole electricity grid. (For more details, see link)
There also are safety issues, like known cases of the smart meter failing and starting a fire, or exploding. Also, in a recent official filing PG&E confirmed that its smart meters can damage customers' sensitive electronics. And the new meter is effectively a remote control device in charge of your house or business, allowing PG&E the option of unilaterally rationing or cutting power to a property when the corporation deems it useful for THEIR purpose.
But by far the most dangerous aspect is the way these wireless meters put our health at risk! This kind of microwave pulsing works differently than more-continuous cell phone radiation, and its much more dangerous. Many scientific studies have verified that this type particularly affects the brain, nervous system and hormones, disrupting the functioning of many body systems and causing very serious leakage of our blood-brain barrier, and that low-power broadcasts (such as from these meters) are even more damaging than higher-power ones. Typical acute symptoms include migraine headaches, insomnia, exhaustion, forgetfulness and confusion, tinnitus, tingling, nausea and vomiting, constant thirst, heart palpitations and increased blood pressure, limbic system disturbances such as severe depression or anxiety or crying jags, etc.--and a general reduction from prior levels of functionality. For some, the nervous and endocrine systems go into hyper-arousal (as with severe stress), ultimately leading to the collapse known as "burnout". Careful scientific research has proven that cumulative exposure to this type of radiation also causes more and more DNA breaks, whichif experienced frequently enoughhave the potential to be a factor in ultimately causing cancer. Our risk of developing serious symptoms (often referred to as "electrical sensitivity") increases the longer our chronic exposure to this radiation continuesand, with the smart meter system fully in place, there will be no place to escape it night or day. Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health problems are particularly vulnerable.
The transmitting smart meters also typically add additional high frequencies directly onto home and building wiring. This additional high-frequency load is then re-radiated throughout the interior space. Scientific studies are finding that such high frequencies on building wiring are related to a host of health problems, similar to those described above. The Precautionary Principlewhich says "Better safe than sorry"--is official policy in parts of the Bay Area; "better safe than sorry" should mean no wireless meters until its been independently proven that long-term exposure to them is safe.
personal, neighborhood, community and more.
How do you begin protecting yourself and your loved ones? To really win this one were ultimately going to have to build strong collective resistance, beginning with a smart meter boycott that utilizes the power of everyday folks joining together in large numbers and fighting back! PG&E originally said they would install the smart meters immediately whether you agree or not; but, as more customers began to resist, they started backpedaling and said "you can get a short delay". They ALSO had threatened that, if you absolutely refused the meters, theyd shut off your power; but now theyre saying "well, ok, well estimate your usage instead, except for the 2 times a year that we come out to read your meters". (Well, that beats the hell out of having our families and our pets constantly irradiated, and our homes more vulnerable to break-ins.) If only one household had boycotted their meters, it would have been easy for PG&E to make a horrible example of them by shutting off their power. But the corporation will not do that to hundreds or thousands of their customers, because the bad publicity would be too costly! And its not clear they even have the legal authority to shut off power under those circumstances.
Next, because the meters bounce the signals from house to house, just retaining your own old meter isnt sufficient. So, in parts of Oakland, folks have been talking to their neighbors and getting them to also object to the meters; theyre calling these neighborhoods "smart meter free zones". You can do the same on your own block, in Fairfax and other parts of Marin. Heres how to proceed with protecting your home:
1) If you haven't had a smart meter installed yet:
a) At TURNs web page www.turn.org/article.php?id=1154 , download & print 2 copies of the "Do Not Install" sign, and and tape one--clearly visible--onto your electric meter and the other onto your gas meter.
2) If you and your neighbors already have smart meters on your properties:
a.Phone PG&Es Smart Meter Dept., (866) 743-0263; let them know that, since a smart meter was installed at your residence, you (or another member of your household) has been experiencing significant health problems, and insist that they temporarily replace the meter with an analog one. Once that replacement has been done, you are free to follow steps (a) through (d) in (1) above. As an alternative, consider taping a couple of layers of thick aluminum foil over the entire meter, including the back, to help block the radiation from entering your home. Then follow all the above relevant steps. Insist to both PG&E and the CPUC that you want your smart meters removed.
3) Other important actions to take, to build a stronger "fight back!" movement:
a.A number of city councils (including Fairfax) and boards of supervisors have already sent letters to the CPUC, insisting on an immediate moratorium for this program and the opportunity for customers to opt out of participation. Lobby your own elected officials, asking them too to oppose this program.
Are Smart Meters health hazards? Smart Meter radiation emissions are both greater in volume and more frequent than PG&E admits, according to more and more independent EMF specialists measuring them. And consumers are getting concerned.
What Are Smart Meters?
Smart Meters are electric and gas meter reading devices being installed all over the US as a first step in creating a national smart grid. Designed to enhance energy efficiency and make widespread adoption of renewable energy easier, Smart Meters are radio transmitters that communicate data from homes and businesses to the gas and electric company through a matrix of radio signals. They allow people to measure and monitor their own energy consumption in order to reduce it.
Controversy about Smart Meters
Large groups of citizens are complaining that their Smart Meters are over-billing them. Public meetings are being held over the country to discuss this, and many cities have come out in favor of a smart Meter moratorium until the issue is resolved.
Smart Meters Health Risks
But now there are growing numbers of activists who are protesting against Smart Meters for another reason. They contend that the radio frequency (RF) Smart Meters emit is harmful to human health. People living with the meters are claiming mild to severe symptoms that are all over the board: Concentration and memory problems, dizziness, tinnitus, heart palpitations, headaches, sleep disruptions, nausea, anxiety and behavioral problems in children.
People are especially concerned about certain groups who are vulnerable to Smart Meter health risks, such as children (who absorb radiation at a greater rate than adults), electrosensitive people, people with pacemakers, and chronically ill people whose immune systems are compromised.
Unclear Answers about Smart Meter Radiation Levels
PG&E seems to be unable to give consistent, believable answers about either how frequently Smart Meter radiation is emittedor what the peak power is of the radiation signal at certain distances. Some representative say the meters transmit RF six times a day; others, once an hour. Independent RF specialists have measured them every 45 seconds, or even twice in a minute.
As for peak power of Smart Meter radiation signals, there is even more confusion. PG&E maintains that the RF transmissions are well within FCC standards, that they transmit data for only a fraction of a second and are far weaker than other everyday radio frequency emitters, such as cell phones, cell towers and Wi-Fi.
Putting aside for a moment the debate over the safety of even these everyday RF emitters, theres reason to doubt these assurances from PG&E that Smart Meters are safer than these other devices. Independent environmental EMF consultants have found that peak pulses are far greater in intensity than the average pulse that many utility companies claimsometimes up to 1000 times more powerful than a cell phone.(1) Because of the skewed and inaccurate way in which they figure the number of pulses per minutes, their figures of an average pulse is greatly reduced.
Indeed, assurances of utility companies are reminiscent of promises that have been made over the years by plastics and chemical manufacturers who initially claimed that what they were producing was safe.
Thermal and Non-Thermal Effects of Smart Meter Radiation
But aside from any of this, whats important to understand is that the FCC safety standards are based only on thermal effects of radiation, meaning: How high can radiation go before the body tissues start cooking? Research has shown that the thermal effects of microwave radiation are not the only effects to be worried about. There are also non-thermal effects of RF that are very concerning.
One of the most informative reports written on the subject is the Bioinitiative Report of 2007. Authored by 15 scientists, researchers and health policy professionals, this report clearly documents evidence that numerous health problems are created by exposure to RF, including DNA breakage and cancerand this, at levels far below the FCC standards. The report is recognized by the European Parliament, the European Environment Agency, and the Breast Cancer Fund, among others.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Toxicology Program have also studied the effects RF on human health. Their updated results are that, among other things, RF can significantly increase the risk of a glioma, a deadly brain tumor.
Protection Against Smart Meters Health Risks
There are no warning signs about health risks that come with a Smart Meter. And at this point, you cant opt out. But it seems advisable, that if you have been suffering from any unexplainable ailments since the installation of your Smart Meter, you might want to look into finding protection against the RF emitted by the meter. Read more on Smart Meter health concerns.
(1) This information was procured by writer, Caitlin Esch, in conversation with Cindy Sage, co-author of the Bionitiative Report of 2007. Are SmartMeters Dangerous Too? http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/are-smartmeters-dangerous-too/Content?oid=1939740
SMART METERS LINKED TO CANCER. Utilities & Health Departments based previous safety claims on World Health Organization (WHO). But June 1 2011, WHO says Wireless Smart Meter radiation is linked to CANCER (possible human carcinogen same as Lead, DDT, etc), and that means it also damages bodies & brains (including childrens) in many ways, other than cancer.
1. WIRELESS SMART METERS 100 TIMES MORE RADIATION THAN CELL PHONES. Video Interview: Nuclear Scientist, Daniel Hirsch, (5 minutes). Source: stopsmartmeters.org/2011/04/20/daniel-hirsch-on-ccsts-fuzzy-math/
2. WIRELESS SMART METERS CANCER, NERVOUS SYSTEM DAMAGE, ADVERSE REPRODUCTION AFFECTS. Video Interview: Dr. Carpenter, New York Public Health Department, Dean of Public Health, (2 minutes). Source: emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=3946
3. THE KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE IN STOCKHOLM (the University
that gives the Nobel Prizes) ISSUES GLOBAL HEALTH WARNING
AGAINST WIRELESS SMART METERS. 2-page Press Release:
Energy companies around the United States are installing smart meters to cut back on energy costs and usage. Privacy advocates are getting nervous.
Nearly 9 percent of the electric meters in the U.S. are smart, and more are on the way. But those smart meters may be a lot smarter than you think -- and know a lot more about you than you might want.
"The idea behind a smart meter is that it communicates information to the utility," Kevin Doran, a research professor at the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder, explained to PRI's Living on Earth. "In theory, the utility can also use that pathway, if you will, to send information back to the consumer. The utility company could charge more for peak times, or it could even turn off appliances when they're not being used but could be saving electricity.
Information from smart meters could help utilities manage energy more efficiently, but it could also be used for more nefarious purposes. The data could hold information on what kinds of appliances people have in their houses, which could be very valuable to marketers and advertisers. According to Doran, they could figure out "how often you arrive home around bar time, are you a restless sleeper, do you get up frequently throughout the night." He explains:
An insurance company looking at this information could see a pattern that shows that this person is routinely coming home at this period of time, and then make a correlation or an assumption that says, 'Ah, perhaps they're out there drinking, and we should have higher premiums for them.' So, it isn't just the data. The data is one thing - but it's also the kind of sophisticated correlations and comparisons and data parsing that can be done on that data to figure out all sorts of things about a person's life.
If companies were able to cross-reference the data with more personal information, like medical or financial records, it could have serious privacy implications.
The future of that information is still unclear. "This is a battleground," according to Doran, "between utility companies, third party service providers that would like to be able to use this data to help customers manage their information, and people like marketers and advertisers who would like access to that information, and then consumer privacy advocates and consumers themselves."
The policy makers who should be mediating this battle should be aware of the privacy implications, but don't often understand, in part because the issues are so new.
Still, Doran said that he would install a smart meter, if
given the opportunity. "I think that we can do this," he
told Living on Earth. "I think that we can do it in a way
that makes sense for environmental, energy efficiency
purposes, and that we can also figure out a way to make sure
that this data is used appropriately."
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.
The following is a list of local governments within California who are opposed to the mandatory wireless smart meter program. Names of cities and counties are linked t0 news coverage or official council minutes that substantiate each city or countys inclusion.
Counties (10): Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, City and County of San Francisco, San Luis, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz County, Sonoma, Tehama County
Cities and Towns (36): Arcata, Belvedere, Berkeley, Blue Lake, Bolinas, Buellton, Camp Meeker, Capitola, Clearlake, Cotati, Fairfax, Fort Bragg, Grover Beach, Lakeport, Marina, Mill Valley, Monterey, Monte Sereno, Morro Bay, Novato, Pacific Grove, Piedmont, Richmond, Rio Dell, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Sausalito, Scotts Valley, Seaside, Sebastopol, Solvang, Watsonville, Willits
Other Jurisdictions (1): Big Valley Rancheria/Tribal Community of Pomo Indians
Total CA population represented: 2,695,947
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