A public service brought to you by the Smart Meter Safety Coalition
Now that the Maine Public Utilities Commission has ruled that it is “unreasonable” for Central Maine Power to force every customer to accept a wireless meter, and that it is “in the public interest” for customers to opt-out, here’s a candid look at the information you won’t find in CMP’s promotional materials.
It’s information you need to decide whether the purported benefits of a smart meter outweigh the documented risks to health, safety, privacy and cybersecurity.
Here’s why people, communities and governments around the world are rejecting smart meters:
- Radiofrequency interference causing malfunctioning of wireless equipment such as Wi-Fi and Netflix
- Radiofrequency interference causing malfunctioning of medical equipment such as pacemakers and wireless insulin pumps
- Radiofrequency spikes causing appliances to break
- Health effects like migraines, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, heart palpitations and sleeplessness caused by intense bursts of radiofrequency radiation that has just been classified as a “possible carcinogen” by the World Health Organization — in the same category as lead, engine exhaust and DDT
- Cybersecurity breaches
- Excessive billing
- Interception of personal identity information
- Electrical fires
Here’s a more in-depth look at the problems associated with wireless smart meters:
Smart Meters have caused Wi-Fi, Netflix, security systems, appliances, and other equipment to malfunction and break. Interference with electronic devices (home office printers, fax machines, scanners, computers, television and cable settings, etc.) has been reported after smart meter installation.
Appliances and devices that are electrically connected in the home (plugged into home electrical wiring) can experience radiofrequency bursts of high enough intensity to cause malfunction and/or damage.
CMP has received more than 100 complaints about interference, and has hired a subcontractor to deal with these problems. However, the company has failed to follow the PUC’s order to prominently feature in its opt-out communications the phone number customers can call for help in dealing with these interference problems.
MEDICAL DEVICE MALFUNCTIONS
Wireless radiofrequency radiation from smart meters can cause medical devices to stop working. Medical implants such as pacemakers and deep-brain stimulators used to control the shaking of Parkinson’s disease can be turned off by the radiofrequency interference (RFI) caused by the signal. These signals are already reported in published studies to interfere with critical care equipment, ventilators, pain pumps, wireless insulin pumps and other medical devices.
Dizziness, migraines, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, insomnia and heart palpitations are some of the symptoms reported around Maine and around the world after smart meter installation. Smart meters transmit throughout the neighborhood in intense bursts, thousands of times during the day and night. Scientists have compared the intensity of each burst to 100 times the radiation from a cell phone.
The World Health Organization recently classified this type of wireless radiation as a “carcinogenic hazard,” putting it in the same possibly-cancer-causing category as engine exhaust, chloroform and DDT
Unlike cell phones and Wi-Fi, smart meters and the neighborhood collectors are involuntary exposure, and cannot be turned off.
The type of radiation emitted by a smart meter can cause changes in the biology of the body. This radiation promotes degenerative diseases and premature aging even at levels of below FCC limits.
Numerous other risks to human health from radiofrequency/microwave (RF/MW) radiation exposure, particularly to children and people with disabilities, at levels below the current FCC limits are summarized in articles published in the March 2009 issue of Pathophysiology.
Smart meters send and receive wireless RF/MW signals throughout homes and businesses. These smart meter RF/MW levels are far higher than those already reported to cause health risks. Compliance is not safety, since the existing FCC safety limits are under challenge, and have already been called ‘insufficient to protect public health’ by some federal agencies.
Concerns about the security of the US electrical grid have received widespread media coverage (Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2009). Smart meters present a new vulnerability to intentional sabotage as well as to inadvertent access to private information, since the network is wireless and it adds direct linkage to home computers and personal data.
The wireless network proposed to enable smart grid and smart meter technology is a full-saturation, full-coverage blanket of RF/MW radiation into every home and business that can increase the points of entry to malicious software (malware), to electrical service disruption or disconnection, and to terrorist attack on the electrical and communications grid throughout the US (Wired.com, March 4, 2010).
CNN launched a “Cyber Shockwave” program on February 20, 2011, that detailed national concerns over the security of the Internet and of wireless communications, which makes us vulnerable to loss of the electrical grid, Internet and wireless communications across the country. Banking, transportation and the electrical grid had the biggest vulnerabilities.
In addition to overbilling issues, many experts also warn that smart meters could cost consumers more money than they will save. Consumers Digest (Feb. 2011) did an investigative report exposing the fact that in order to fully utilize the smart meter home area network (HAN) that monitors how much electricity is used by different appliances, customers will have to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars in new appliances, each one outfitted with its own transmitter.
Privacy breaches have already been documented (illegal access of 179,000 accounts at Hydro Toronto, for example).
NO ENERGY SAVINGS
Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen studied that state’s smart meter pilot program and concluded that there was no energy savings.
“The pilot results showed no beneficial impact on total energy usage,” Jepsen said. “And, the savings that were seen in the pilot were limited to certain types of customers and would be far outweighed by the cost of installing the new meter systems,” he said. “Also, the existing meters, installed between 1994 and 2005, have a useful life of 20 years and replacing them early would incur additional costs for customers,” Jepsen said.
Now that you know the serious and documented risks, it’s up to you whether to pay the $12 per month opt-out fee to keep your existing meter (the “electro-mechanical” option listed below). If you haven’t already, you will soon be receiving this opt-out correspondence from CMP, giving you 30 days to decide which type of meter you want.
While we don’t believe that anyone should have to pay to protect their health, safety, security, or privacy — or to avoid exposure to a possible carcinogen within their own home — we also believe that a paid opt-out is better than no opt-out, considering the risks.
You’ll see that CMP lists another option (Option A), which is a wireless meter with the transmitter turned off. It’s $1.50 per month cheaper than keeping your existing meter, and while it doesn’t eliminate all the risks, we see it as a much safer alternative to the standard wireless smart meter.
Thanks for getting informed!