Allow a Smart Meter in Your Home—or Face Arrest!

February 5, 2013
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smartmeterIllinois mothers were arrested for preventing the installation of “smart meters” on their properties. It could happen to you. Action Alert!

Naperville, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, has started the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative which requires so-called smart meters to be installed in every home. Residents opposed to the smart meters have been fighting the initiative for over two years.

One of those residents, Jennifer Stahl, refused to give utility workers access to her backyard through her locked gate. In 2011 Stall had spoken before the Naperville City Council to advocate against the smart meter program. The police were called, and the police sergeant said the workers had authorization to access the meter, but Stahl stood her ground. The lock on Stahl’s fence was cut, and when she wouldn’t step away from the meter, Stahl was handcuffed and arrested for “interfering with a police officer.”

“The city has always had and maintains the right to access our equipment, and today we were simply exercising that right,” Naperville City Manager Doug Kreiger told the Chicago Tribune.

Another Naperville resident, Malia “Kim” Bendis, was arrested on two misdemeanors for resisting a police officer and attempted eavesdropping when she filmed police on the scene, despite a recent federal court ruling that the state of Illinois’s ban on recording police officers in the line of duty was unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court upheld that ruling in November.

The group Naperville Smart Meter Awareness has filed motions to dismiss the charges and to grant temporary restraining orders for residents refusing the meters. There is a pending federal lawsuit as well.

As we reported in 2011, the meters work on a wireless radio frequency (RF) system, and many people are concerned about the meters’ threat to their health. There are already over 2,000 studies showing negative effects of RF radiation, despite the manufacturers’ safety claims. People with the meters installed on their homes have reported symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, and tinnitus.

A growing body of research points to the health risk of RF and extremely low frequency (ELF) radio waves. Studies show that RF radiation from cell phones have been linked to brain damage, early onset Alzheimer’s, senility, DNA damage, and sperm die-offs; the RF signal from smart meters is much stronger, so the effects will likely be proportionately dramatic. The World Health Organization reversed its stance on RF from cell phones, now calling them “possibly carcinogenic,” and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine has called for a moratorium on the installation of transmitting utility meters:

The current medical literature raises credible questions about genetic and cellular effects, hormonal effects, male fertility, blood/brain barrier damage and increased risk of certain types of cancers from RF or ELF levels similar to those emitted from “smart meters.” Children are placed at particular risk for altered brain development, and impaired learning and behavior….The American Academy of Environmental Medicine finds it unacceptable from a public health standpoint to implement this technology until these serious medical concerns are resolved.

Opponents of the smart meters have also cited security concerns, because the meters are capable of tracking exactly when a customer is using electricity, and opponents fear it would allow strangers to know when they are home or have gone to work. Some fear hackers could access that information.

The city maintains that homeowners can opt out of the wireless transmitters but only by substituting those with an alternative meter at a high fee. The Tribune reports there is a $68.35 initial fee for the alternative meter plus a $24.75 monthly fee for manually reading it. Stahl said residents who want a non-wireless meter should not have to pay for it.

The arrests that happened in Illinois could happen in your state. States have a patchwork of laws governing whether residents can opt out of smart meters, and whether there is a fee associated with opting out. These other states allow residents to opt out of having a smart meter: California (up to a $75 analog meter set-up fee and up to a $10 monthly reading), Maine ($40 set up, $12/month), Maryland (fee to be determined, but a grassroots coalition is planning to introduce a bill to eliminate the fee), Michigan (proposed $87 fee, and $15 monthly), Nevada ($108 opt-out fee for northern NV and $99 for Southern NV, $8 monthly charge), and Oregon ($254 analog set up fee, $51 monthly charge).

In other states, there is no alternative option offered. For example, in Virginia, residents have been told to accept the meter or have their electricity turned off. The problem, of course, is that electricity companies are usually government-supported monopolies, so they really don’t have to worry about what their customers want.

Action Alert! In New Hampshire and Virginia, there is legislation pending that would require customer consent before installing a smart meter; a bill in Maine would eliminate the opt-out fee. If you live in one of these states, we have a special, targeted action alert on these bills. If you live in any state that has no opt-out law, or an opt-out law for a fee, please contact your legislators today and demand that opting out of the smart meter be free of any fees. Please take action immediately!


New Hampshire

Support HB454, a bill that would allow a smart meter opt-out.

New Hampshire Action Alert

Virginia

Support SB 797, a bill that would allow a smart meter opt-out.

Virginia Action Alert

Maine

Support LD 94, a bill that would remove the smart meter opt-out fee.

Maine Action Alert

California, Michigan, Nevada, and Oregon

Tell your state legislators to pass a law prohibiting utilities from charging customers a fee just because they want to opt out of having a smart meter installed on their property.

Action Alert

All other states

Your state needs a bill that would prohibit electric utility companies from installing a smart meter on a customer’s premises—or requiring a customer to use any advanced meter—unless the customer has requested it, without having to pay a fee.

If your action alert doesn’t go through, you’re in luck, your state either already has a free opt-out law, or has no plans to install smart meters at all.

Action Alert

84 Responses to “Allow a Smart Meter in Your Home—or Face Arrest!”

  1. Derrek says:

    Hello I am in NJ I developed electrical sensitivities among respiratory probs after working a very toxic job for 16 yrs ..Anyway I am temporaily living with parents as I look for a house to buy … I feel horrible now since a guy moved next door put in a hidden stealth radio antenna ..Anyway now I’m hesitant to buy a house and have a meter forced on me . Now I cant find any info on what towns they are and when they are to try and install these . Then I thought about moving out of state as to get some a plece with some property between me and neighbors..My main plan since parents are older is to get a place here in NJ for a few yrs to help them but inevitably to move out of state in a few yrs possibly Va ..Then I thought ok what if you are successful in not having them install a meter on your house … Then later you decide to move and 90% of all houses have a smart meter in a few yrs , your basically stuck where your at the rest of your life , no? Do you think you could buy a house that had a meter then ask for it to be removed ? Im thinking once its on no way .

       0 likes

  2. Lawrence Ness says:

    I have never sided with a utility on environmental or consumer safety issues before, but this is baffling. What sort of radiation risk would there be from smart meters? These are using a cellular connection, but with a vastly smaller duty cycle than a normal cell phone – sort of like sending a text message every few minutes or hours. To mitigate the problem further, you are not holding the meter against your head as you do a cell phone. If you fear the RF radiation created by this device, then you should stay 50 feet away from any person carrying a cell phone that is turned on.

    Could hackers intercept the signal? Maybe. It depends, in part, on what sort of encryption they are using. I think there are somewhat easier ways to find out when someone is home.

       3 likes

    • Mike says:

      Lawrence,

      There is a gap in your comments. As it was recorded with many presentations from amateur folks to field specialist wireless meters continuously emit signals due to quite complex infrastructure implementation and targeting to at least detect, and ultimately control any Wi-Fi enabled appliance in every household.
      PG&E was ordered by a court in California to reveal actual smart meter transmission times and events. PG&E produced 14,000 pulses per day as average use with a range from 100 to 190,000 pulses per day, dependent on the position in a mesh.
      Low level Wi-Fi radiation damaging issues are known for decades.
      In the 1950’s Soviet Russia experimented heavily and was able to identify 31 discrete frequencies that had specific physiological impacts. In the 1960’s and 70’s the soviet government irradiated the US Embassy in Moscow with microwaves, pretty much matching the frequencies and at less power than smart meters and cell phones. Exposure was continuous. Staffing assignments ran from 2 to 4 years. Three ambassadors died subsequently of cancer. 16 clerical staff developed breast cancer later. Military personnel exposed to Radar developed cancer at rates double the expected levels. In 1975 the US Military issued a general warning that low level microwave radiation was dangerous. Radar workers found their fillings kept dropping out. It was discovered the radiation was ionizing the mercury in the amalgam which was going into solution and shrinking the filling (and poisoning the technician).
      1976: US Defense Intelligence Records> Lists all health hazards of wireless devices and ended with the Observation “This should be kept secret to preserve industrial profit.” This echoed another 1950’s report ”If this paper comes known around the world, it will threaten military and commercial interests.”
      This was described by Barrie Trower (UK authority) as the saddest and most despicable document ever published in history”. Trower has especially condemned the Health Canada Code 6 standard 6W/sqM (600uW/sqCm).
      Lloyds of London Underwriters refuse to insure phone manufacturers against damage to users’ health.
      WHO World Health Organization has classified microwave radiation 2B (possible carcinogen). This came after intense pressure from the USA. The original classification was to be 2A (probable carcinogen).
      In 2006 a group of bioelectrical scientists formed a BioInitiative Group that produced the Bioinitiative Report (2007). This report…

         1 likes

      • Mike says:

        This report reviewed all the evidence that established health dangers from electric field radiations. It was criticized by regulatory and industrial agencies because it did not give weight to studies that failed to show health dangers. This report was updated 2012 (Jan 2013) which concluded the evidence for health risks from EMR has greatly strengthened since 2007. Covering DNA damage, leakage of the blood-brain barrier, altered immune function, memory and sleep disruptions, sperm damage, increased incidence of child and adult brain tumors, especially glioma. Acoustic neuroma on the side of the head habitually used for phone, increased child and adult leukemias and breast cancer in men and women. Also apparent links to alzhiemers, ALS, autism, fatigue, hyperactivity and cardiac irregularities. In conclusion “Epidemiological evidence shows that radiofrequency [electric fields] should be classified as a human carcinogen. The existing public safety limits and reference levels are not adequate to protect public health.”
        The BioInitiative report recommends 0.001uW/sqCm as a safe level for most people. This is 50,000 times lower than Health Canada Code 6.
        The Russians have used their extensive knowledge to forbid routine exposure to microwaves to persons under 18 years of age. Russia, UK, India, Germany, Finland, Israel, Belgium, Toronto and recently China now specify that children and pregnant women should only use cell phones in emergencies, preferably on speaker mode. This is about 50% of the global population. Italy uses wired smart meters only.
        Safe Schools 2012. Six medical associations in USA and other international medical bodies have concluded that WiFi should never be used in schools.
        The BioInitiative report showed that for DECT cordless phones, (after 10 years use, average 30 minutes/day) the risk of brain tumors on side of head habitually used relative to other side.
        470% greater occurrence of Glioma and 310% greater occurrence of acoustic neuroma.
        There is a great amount of variation between estimates of smart meter irradiation in comparison to Cell phones. Cell phones concentrate radiation into the head, and are held close. Smart meters tend to whole body radiation at a greater distance. Smart meters run 24/7, cell phone use varies to personal habit. In terms of whole body dosage the estimates for Smart meters run from 5 to 450 times greater than cell phones. This is important when non cranial impacts are considered.
        A 2012 study…

           0 likes

        • Mike says:

          A 2012 study from Univ. of Athens has concluded that everyone is equally electro-impacted by EMF. All persons show the same effects in laboratory testing. Inflammatory markers go up, hormonal changes, copper changes, neurotransmitter changes, irregular heartbeats, higher blood pressure. Electro-sensitive people differ only in that they can sense these effects and are conscious of them and feel ill from them where others do not. Some doctors observe that health problems today differ substantially from those of 30-40 years ago and aggravation by EMR is believed to be the major change in the environment.
          A study in Germany showed that cell phone towers increase cancer rates, but these effects only appear 5 or more years after start of operation. German industrially sponsored studies of EMR effects only run for four years.
          The literature covering EMR biological effects is huge. There are thousands of papers. The best ones include large samples over long periods.

             1 likes

    • Dana Nellen says:

      What I experience is burning in my head and face, squeezing in my chest and so much pain in my body that I have cried. I sleep in my car now and am looking to move. There are 6 smart meters attached to the outside all of our unit. This is no joke. Whether you feel it or not, you are being exposed to radiation. For me it is unbearable.

         0 likes

  3. Ogre says:

    I suggest that you explain the “danger” of these meters before you lose credibility. These systems are usually used to shut down air conditioners during peak usage times. EVERYONES AC gets shut down for a few minutes to mitigate overloads. Everybody takes a turn. You won’t be paying for power you don’t use. This is for everyone with an ac. Most people don’t even notice.

       0 likes

  4. mrwidemouth says:

    Smart Meters – something to be afraid of? http://www.squidoo.com/beware-of-smart-meters

       0 likes

  5. Ted Birnbaum says:

    I do oppose the mandatory installation of smart power meters described in the article or only allowing the homeowner to opt out at a price that is unreasonable & meant to punish. But I would not oppose the installation of a meter that only transmits an RF signal briefly after it is interrogated via RF. A second or two of RF once a month would not represent significant risk, I believe. ANH or anyone, do such meters exist?

       3 likes

  6. Heath Wall says:

    Does any know where Michigan and AEP (electric company) stand on this issue?

    The link above that lists Michigan for an action alert is not valid.

       0 likes

  7. Sherry says:

    I live in Georgia and I demanded that the 3 smart meters be removed from my properties. The EMC was very nice and came out the next day and removed them. The price is $15 per month extra on my power bill, but I think it’s worth it not to be exposed to EMFs

       0 likes

  8. AK says:

    I thought I read something that Duke in Ohio was putting them in a select area with plans to role out (on their website) more.

       0 likes

  9. Ogre says:

    One of the small joys in life is figuring how to tell that sort of instrumentation a lie.. Then they come out to “inspect” it and find nothing amiss.

    I thought these things were only to sense when your air conditioner was running and then control it. We air condition with ground water so we don’t get one. If they are just nosy, the game is on.

       0 likes

  10. NJ says:

    Forcing any technology upon consumers who pay for their service (like digital tv, instead of analog) is an act of tyranny. Without guessing, this process/technology will benefit the 1% (wholly supported and backed by the government – that do not value nor support “we the people” upon which the Constitution of the United States is allegedly based). The 1% will benefit to the detriment of the health and will of the people who prefer to opt out. We are clearly now existing in a totalitarian state, ran by tyrannical criminals at the absolute pinnacle of all governments, whether, federal, state, local….finding a politician who gives a @#!$, about the “health and well being” of the voting/buying public, is like finding a penny in the Pacific Ocean!

       5 likes

  11. Dennis Evans says:

    just go solar leave them in the dust

       4 likes

    • misstc says:

      Denis Evans, I would LOVE to go solar, but being on SS Disability – it is totally cost prohibitive. Luckily so far, I don’t see this here in FL, but I’m sure it coming soon. They are already trying to get all rural folks to hook up to city water even though our water is clean well water. Someone up there is trying to control our water and power. Total outrage!!

         2 likes

  12. Harry Beshaw says:

    There are arguments on both sides of this issue however for the most part I am entirely in favor of the smart meters. As far as being arrested for blocking access to the property. I know that the power company in our state and many others is a private entity and they clearly state in their contract that they have access to any of their equipment at any time. This is a condition of their service to you. There is no law saying that a utility has to provide service to you. I know of several people that have been denied electric and or gas service for various reasons. You may or may not be able to block access to their meter. But I can assure you they would not have any trouble getting a court order to access it. In my locality the power company can specify any part of the the equipment they can connect to. If your equipment does not meet those specifications guess what you are no longer connected. My local water is provided by the city., and it has a somewhat “smart ” meter and we have a service charge if they must come inside to read. And there again our contract says they have a right to come into my house at “reasonable Hours” to access their property or they simply terminate service at the main line.

       0 likes

  13. Frank Apostol says:

    The very idea that any company or municipality can force a person to accept any technology that they do not want is wrong almost beyond comment.
    I believe that the constitution of the U.S. has within it language, if not specifically stated, certainly interpretable as prohibiting, infringement upon the rights of any individual — and the actions described here as having been taken by these municipalities and or companies, unequivically falls under the heading of ” infringement”.
    I am grateful for having received this information. My state representative and my congressman will certainly hear from me relative to this matter.

    Thank you!

       18 likes

    • Harry Beshaw says:

      I think in this case its not so much as the company forcing a certain technology on an individual. Unfortunately you are purchasing a privately owned product ( your electricity ) from a company and they get to tell you the conditions of that sale. If you do not like those conditions you have some options. But forcing your conditions is not one of them. You have no God given right to that electricity. Nor do I know of any law that forces anyone to sell anything to an individual. As far as it goes a company has a legal right to refuse to sell you life saving medication under a lot of circumstances.

         0 likes

  14. Dave Kisor says:

    One good EMP and your precious smart grid is toast. I’d rather go off grid. Many on the Big Island of Hawai’i are off grid, many are working on it, while many of us have future plans. My house was built with a bypass, so DC power doesn’t have to go through their meter. We hear all this blather from the government (but what else are governments good for other than taxing an punishing) about energy independence, but real energy independence is to completelycut away from the power company!

       19 likes

  15. Kurt says:

    Jennifer and Kim may consider filing motions to dismiss the charges based on a lack of factual evidence that the code applies to them. Visit marcstevens.net for more on this.

       3 likes

  16. J. R. Jarvis says:

    As long as this represents a possible health risk, it should be termed ‘optional’ at the very least. Until potential problems are solved, they should be denied.

       7 likes

  17. maria says:

    i do not understand the concerns here. but i do understand the benefits of smart meters. i’d really like to see proof of this harmful RF radiation. i work in the environmental field and i can tell you that 9/10 times, problems with smart meters come from a lack of willingness to be held accountable for the energy we consume. no one feels they have any responsibility in curtailing their consumption. US makes up 8% of the worlds population, but uses 26% of all the energy. while other parts of the world have to ride their bikes to the grocery store b/c gas is too expensive. wear extra clothes inside the house when they are cold instead of crankin’ up the heat….the list goes on of how PEOPLE adjust, NOT the environment around you. but we are spoiled in the US. and i say that as an american born citizen. Smart Meters are one step closer to accountability. Not all of us are energy hogs, but some are and they SHOULD be pointed out.

       2 likes

    • Donna Marquart says:

      So people should be arrested when they disagree with having a “smart meter” installed? I think that is the issue here.

         1 likes

    • Arbil1971 says:

      if you are posting to this website and not reading the proof that these smart meters are dangerous, have been attributable for several house fires, they are capable of transmitting data from every appliance in your home, multitudes of children near the big tower in SF have gotten leukemia. They are ready to have new software loaded into them once everybody has one which is capable of watching you in your own bedroom via your smart tv. All rates will be exponentially increased to time of use rates just as Obama promised when he said, “under my plans, energy costs will necessarily skyrocket.” you have to be ignorant and insane to condone this for you, your family and all Americans struggling to keep a thin dime in their pockets and while poisoned with GMO food, insurance premiums doubled and already impovershed Americans also have to return their tiny tax returns next year to big brother, via the new fines for not being able to afford the insurance policies. Why don’t you move to China….you’d love it there.

         5 likes

    • Ed says:

      That’s why we are the United States and they’re not. If that sounds arrogant maybe it is but I’m tired of fools like you telling me I have to live like someone else.

         2 likes

  18. James McDonald says:

    Install a faraday shiels around the meter saying you dont want to be exposed to EMF radiation! They will have a had time say radiation wont hurt you! The faraday shield will help protect you and if they object remind them they said it wont hurt you so whats wrongwith a little protection? they would have admit the meters emit radiation! By the way ytou can record anybody on your property, have a link to a wireless to send directly to a tv station, the tv station will love it! I have a dvr in my car and will not turn it off for anybody! A policeman does not have the authority to tell you to turn it off!. Make sure you stream the video to a remote location or tv station, the cops will have second thoughts when they know it is being sent to a station.

       8 likes

  19. Gary W Smith says:

    The radiation from Smart Meters is not continuous; rather, it is less than a very small fraction of a second, one time per hour (sort of like a photographer taking only one snapshot, in bright sunlight per hour). This extremely short burst of electromagnetic energy only once per hour hardly constitutes any danger to our health! Even if the transmission emitted from these meters is greater in amplitude than that from a cell-phone, the distance one is from their meter, compared to having the cell-phone against one’s head, greatly overcompensates for the higher energy output from the meter. As for privacy issues, a hacker would not view energy usage from a given meter in real-time; this information is only accessible the day after, which tells the hacker nothing about what you are doing today! The arguments against Smart Meters are totally absurd!

       3 likes

    • Jo M says:

      @GaryM. I don’t know where you’re getting your info from. Our meters transmit continuously and in real time. That is why you can “adjust” your consumption in real time. They “talk” to each other continuously to relay information such as outages, use, power demand, etc. So, it is NOT a fraction of a second, it is constant, 24 hrs per day, 7 days per week. And hackers can get information, and hackers can shut the whole thing down. The FED was just hacked, the Dept. of Energy was hacked 2 days ago. You think Naperville is safe, think again. The city’s website, internet, and email was hacked in Oct. 12, and was down for over 3 weeks. You should do a little more research on the subject.

         5 likes

    • Anonymous says:

      Your argument is like saying if I am stabbed by an icepick very quickly it wont hurt me. The pick is very small and it was only in my body for a very short time so it can’t be that bad to be stabbed 24 times a day.

         0 likes

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