By Cynthia Larson
I just heard the news that smart meters will begin being installed in Santa Barbara, starting next month. We’ve had them in my neighborhood now for more than a year, and I gradually became quite ill from them, much like the ‘boiled frogs’ who don’t notice at first that the temperature of the water is increasing. By the time I got my local utility, PG&E, to remove the smart meters from my house, I’d come down with some sixteen smart-meter-related symptoms, including: sleeplessness, ringing in the ears, nosebleeds, migraines, muscle tremors, heart palpitations, nausea, and blurred vision. I now realize I need my neighbors to also opt out, because the smart meters emit microwave radiation that extends out in a one mile radius, with so much radiation it’s like living between 200 and 600 feet away from a cell phone tower.
I want you to know that it’s to your advantage to contact the California PUC and let them know you’d like the option to opt out for free from smart meters. It’s also to your advantage to call SCE at (800) 810-2369 to be added to the delay list. If you or anyone who ever stays in your home or office have pacemakers or any other life support equipment, you definitely should call SCE at (800) 810-2369 to get on the smart meter delay list.
Last week, Palo Alto became the 50th local government in California to voice opposition to installation of wireless “smart” meters in their jurisdiction with a three year moratorium on installations. To date, four California counties have made smart meter installations illegal: Lake County, Marin County, Mendocino County, and Santa Cruz County. Seven cities have outlawed smart meters: Capitola, Fairfax, Lakeport, Rio Dell, Ross, Seaside, and Watsonville. The city of Berkeley is one of 40 California cities on record as having requested a moratorium on continued installation of “smart” meters.
Smart meters invalidate your homeowners insurance If your home catches fire and is shown to have non-UL-approved fixtures (such as smart meters), your homeowners insurance will refuse the tab for any damages, because smart meters are not certified by Underwriters Laboratories. The risk of fires is very real, since current wiring standards are insufficient for supporting the high frequency spikes smart meters emit. A number of electrical fires have been documented as having been caused by `smart’ meters. Smart meters have yet to be tested or approved under federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules.
Analog meters ensure more accurate, reasonably priced utility bills Utility customers have noticed increases in their bill after a `smart’ meter is installed in some cases hundreds of dollars more than usual. A recent poll showed that one third of people who had smart meters installed experienced bill increases, with one quarter of those noticing huge increases in their bills. Utilities claim the meters are accurate, but unexplained over-billing continues showing up all around the US.
Smart meters emit unsafe levels of harmful radiation Now that increasing numbers of medical professionals and doctors are expressing concerns about exposure to Electro Magnetic Field exposure, particularly in the microwave range, it’s becoming clear that ‘EMF smog’ is an invisible yet deadly pollutant and public health hazard we would do well to recognize. Thousands of people have complained of tinnitus, headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, heart arrhythmia, and other symptoms after `smart’ meters were installed. Smart meters violate already high FCC limits on human exposure to microwave radiation (with radiation levels some 50 to 450 times higher than radiation from cell phones). Unlike cell phones, smart meter radiation can’t be switched off, and are being installed even in homes of people who are developing “electro-sensitivity”. There are have also been reports of `smart’ meter interference with pacemakers and other implants.
Smart meters violate civil liberties and your rights to privacy When a `smart’ meter is installed, your utility has access to a treasure trove of information about your electricity usage, potentially compromising your privacy. Depending on the regulatory protections and enforcement of those rules in your state, they will be able to sell this information to a series of corporations and the government. Read the interview with the Electronic Frontier Foundation about how `smart’ meters violate privacy. Read how the ACLU in Vermont and the ACLU in Hawaii have both condemned the lack of consumer privacy protection.
Smart meters aren’t really ‘green’ Smart meters do not result in energy savings, according to Reuters. They may even increase energy consumption, especially once smart appliances are added to homes that interact with smart meters in the home. There is also emerging evidence that wireless, non-ionizing radiation (from cell phones, wifi, and `smart’ meters) harms wildlife and damages trees. There have been direct reports of how smart meters affect vital bee populations.
Smart meters cost people their jobs PG&E claims that they are retaining 80% of their meter readers. What they don’t tell you is that several years back, they transitioned their meter readers from full time to temporary so the job loss would not appear so drastic. Utilities look upon smart meters as an easy way to boost profits by cutting jobs. There can be advantages to PG&E employees visiting our neighborhoods, to better detect developing gas leaks, for example.
Be actively involved By opting out of smart meters, signing petitions, and contacting our utilities and political representatives, each of us can send a clear message that we are not willing to risk our health, safety, and privacy for ‘smart’ meters. The conversion to smart meters is one of the largest technology rollouts in history, yet virtually no public consultation with ratepayers or local governments was carried out in advance. The CA Public Utilities Commission, an appointed (not elected) body who are charged with regulating utility companies, ignored popular local opposition for years though finally and belatedly producing an opt-out in early 2012 that costs PG&E customers hundreds of dollars to avoid a recognized possible carcinogen.
Keep asking questions and thinking critically As actor and martial artist Chuck Norris, says, “The way I see it, we as consumers have a choice. Will we believe countless specialists who are saying smart meters are, at the very least, unnecessary health risks and contributors to overall electrosmog, or will we believe public utility companies and the feds, which have divested interests in the installation of smart meters?”
Please share this information, and encourage friends, family and neighbors to call SCE at (800) 810-2369 to get on the smart meter delay list.
— Cynthia Larson