Oct. 4TH Day of Action: PUBLIC DEMANDS A HALT TO ‘SMART’ METERS AND ‘GRID’
Burning Homes and “Adverse Neurological Effects” Add to Growing Public Rejection
WASHINGTON D.C.— More than thirty-five demonstrations against ‘smart’ meters will be held throughout the US and Canada today, including Washington DC, Naperville IL, Detroit MI, Maui HI, and Santa Cruz, CA. The wave of public protests is timed to coincide with “GridWeek,” a conference being held in Washington D.C Oct. 2-4th by industry and government proponents of the ‘smart’ grid.
Citing thousands of reported health problems, ‘smart’ meter fires, and violations of privacy laws, the National Campaign to Stop Smart Meters! and the Wireless Radiation Protection Coalition, along with more than thirty-five grassroots organizations around North America, are holding an International Day of Action today to demand an immediate halt to deployment – and a recall – on smart meters. ‘Smart’ meters are digital, wireless devices that monitor utility usage and maintain continuous two-way communication between the customer’s property and the utility company. Many utilities are replacing traditional analog meters on homes and businesses in the US and other countries as a supposed energy-saving measure.
(For a full list of demonstrations, news updates, links to additional resource sand protest coverage see http://actiondaytostopsmartmeters.org)
Opponents say that promised energy savings are failing to materialize, and point to the need for massive new data storage facilities, energy consumption of the meters themselves, and the need for frequent replacement as evidence that “smart” meters are not “green.” They say smart meter mesh networks in fact consume significant energy, and are causing numerous problems in communities where they have been deployed. The “smart grid” is being charged directly to the customer through taxes and higher bills, and is costing thousands of meter reader jobs during tough economic times. In response to these problems, there has been strong and sustained resistance from the public in many regions.
HEALTH: ‘Smart’ meters emit strong bursts of microwave RF radiation that the World Health Organization labeled a Class 2B carcinogen in May of 2011. This is the same category of possible carcinogens that includes lead, DDT, and chloroform. Studies show that the meters subject residents to significantly higher levels of radiation than cell phones and wifi. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has warned people with medical conditions to avoid exposure. An announcement by 54 scientists and medical experts from 20 countries who have authored hundreds of peer-reviewed studies on the health effects of electromagnetic fields last week warned of severe impacts of widespread pulsed microwave exposure from the meters:
“Adverse neurological effects have been reported in people who sustain close proximity to wireless meters, especially under 10 feet….Children may particularly be at risk of developing electromagnetic hypersensitivity or diseases such as cancer from overexposure to radiofrequency(RF) microwaves emitted by smart meters and other wireless devices.”
PRIVACY: According to a Congressional Research Service Report, ‘smart’ meters will be able to reveal people’s daily schedules, the use of individual appliances, certain medical equipment and other personal information. The meters are “a detailed and warrantless information gathering device attached to our homes and businesses,” said Ed Friedman, lead plaintiff in a smart meter case that has been remanded to the Maine PUC after a victory in the Maine Supreme Court.
FIRES: Problems with internal wiring, and unprofessional, shoddy installations have been identified as potential causes of hundreds of fires and electrical problems caused by ‘smart’ meters. The vast majority of the meters are not UL certified. A series of 26 fires caused by the meters in Pennsylvania forced PECO Energy to suspend installations in August, and this has sparked inquiries in Washington D.C., Maryland, and other states. A June 15th 2012 presentation by the Ontario Fire Marshal analyzes the numerous smart meter fires being reported in Canada and abroad and states:
“We encountered an unusual amount of fire incidents involving smart meters…prior to any proper investigation the utility company had removed and replaced the meters from the affected areas…New meters may have defects that cause electrical failures (or they may be caused by) careless installation during change over…”
Despite these recognized safety defects, utilities in many parts of the country are unlawfully forcing smart meters onto private property and disconnecting people’s essential services or charging them extortionate fees for refusing to accept a smart meter, even though the meters are not mandatory by law.
Groups protesting on October 4th represent an international groundswell of opposition to smart meters. Anti-smart meter groups have formed in at least 30 US states and 6 countries, challenging the forced smart grid in a wide variety of regulatory, grassroots and legal venues.
“Like any defective product, whether automobile, food or drug, ‘smart’ meters require an immediate product recall,” says Joshua Hart, spokesperson for the Campaign. Analog meters are safe, secure, accurate, and last for 80 or more years. Utilities and governments need to face up to reality, re-install the analogs and fix the mess they’ve created.”