If it’s “smart”, it must be a good thing, right?
Well, when I was younger, I was called smart in school. Most of the time it was a compliment. Well, sometimes it wasn’t but my mom told me those kids were jealous. It didn’t feel like it but in hindsight I think she was right.
Anyways, in most cases you’d like to be the smart kid in class.
And when people say “You look smart” they mean you look nice.
(I guess folks say “sweet” and such these days…..but that’s beside the point.)
So how about a Smart Meter?
Must be a good thing.
I got a notice in my mailbox about 3 weeks ago stating:
YOUR UPGRADED METER IS COMING.
ENERGY THAT WORKS SMARTER FOR YOU.
THAT’S OUR PROMISE TO MICHIGAN.
and another letter than said something like (this one I must have thrown out):
Congratulations! Smart Meters will be coming to your neighborhood in the near future.
I guess that’s supposed to make me feel good about this Smart Meter coming to my house.
But I am not.
I’d heard about smart meters, but I didn’t know much about them so I started to poke around.
It’s not typical for me to be excited about some technology thingamabob being added to my home without my knowing anything about it.
I didn’t like what I found.
Now let me tell you the truth. (Not that I typically–or ever–lie to you all or anything.)
I read A LOT. And I talked to a bunch of folks on the phone.
And I spent a lot of time emailing experts on Smart Meters and EMFs (one who wrote a post that I will share here soon).
I read articles on both sides of the topic and I even called my electric company several times.
Today’s post is the result of my having digested all of these conversations and emails.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that–
I DON’T WANT A SMART METER ON MY HOME.
And neither should you.
First of all, let’s talk about what a Smart Meter (NOT a good name for this thing, by the way) is:
What is a Smart Meter?
A Smart Meter (also called AMI or AMR) is a type of meter designed to eliminate meter readers (can you say “more unemployment”?). It’s a fairly expensive piece of wireless machinery that send information about your energy use (how much you are using at different times of the day) to your utility company.
They relay data about your energy
Proponents of these meters say that they will be used to show consumers how much energy they use at certain times of day and that they will help them budget their energy use (and therefore money) better.
Opponents say there are many risks involved.
After doing literally tens of hours of research, I’ve come to the conclusion that:
I DO NOT WANT A SMART METER ON MY HOME!!
5 Reasons You DON’T Want a Smart Meter
There are sooo many health problems with these smart meters.
Basically we’re talking about the same effects of EMFs (electromagnetic fields).
Now we all know that EMFs have been in the news a lot and that there is a lot of evidence mounting about the health risks of such radiation from microwaves, cell phones, WIFI, and the like.
In case you haven’t seen some of this, or aren’t convinced of it, following are some health conditions that are reported to be as a result of EMF exposure (Source)
- Heart palpitations and blood pressure increases
- Ringing in the ears
- Concentration, memory or learning problems
- Dangerous increases in blood-sugar levels
- Strange sensations in the body—including buzzing, shooting pains
- Anxiety and/or an anxious feeling in the body that is inexplicable
- Flu-like symptoms
Scientists have shown that the electromagnetic frequencies emitted by smart meters and digital meters:
- disrupt the blood-brain barrier, contributing to diseases like dementia and Parkinson’s
- disrupt nerve transmission, causing attention-related problems, insomnia, heart palpitations, and muscle pain
- disrupt cell reproduction and damage DNA, causing cancer and rapid aging
- disrupt the redox balance through oxidant/nitrosative stress
And here’s a biggie.
The World Health Organization (WHO) as classified the radiation that comes from Smart Meters as a potential carcinogen, in the same class as DDT and lead. Source. Now, I am not always in agreement with the WHO, but in this case I am listening.
And besides, even if you think that the FCC has protected you enough with their limits on human exposure to microwave radiation, Smart Meters have been known to exceed the FCC limits.
There’s been a lot of debate out there about whether or not this type of radiation (RF, or radio frequency waves) causes cancer or not, but some of the studies coming out are quite compelling. This recent one from Sweden being one of them.
I think of it like this. Years ago:
- the government and tobacco companies (of course) told us that cigarettes didn’t cause cancer. We know better now.
- the government told us that fluoride should be in our drinking water. We know better now.
- we were told that RoundUp would evaporate and not cause harm. We know better now.
I think these EMFs are a big deal and we are just starting to see the damage.
If you REALLY want to read some downright frightening and well-done research about EMF radiation and health problems, the BioInitiative Report will keep you busy for awhile.
For me, this is all a HUGE deal, considering that the Smart Meter would be right by my sons’ bedroom.
The data collected from Smart Meters is detailed.
And it’s worth money.
Think about it.
Data is ALWAYS worth money. Companies pay BIG money for information on your buying habits, for your email address, and more.
Technically, according to one of the Smart Meter experts I talked with, Smart Meters could track what TV shows you watch, and potentially what food you eat, if your refrigerator is equipped with “Smart” technology. The fridge could scan your Ben and Jerry’s and potentially report this to healthcare corporations. Time to start making your own Homemade Ice Cream folks :)!
These are the potential privacy concerns regarding Smart Meters (Source):
Determine Personal Behavior Patterns
Determine Specific Appliances Used
Perform Real-Time Surveillance
Reveal Activities Through Residual Data
Targeted Home Invasions (latch key children, elderly, etc.)
Provide Accidental Invasions
Decisions and Actions Based Upon Inaccurate Data
Unwanted Publicity and Embarrassment
Tracking Behavior Of Renters/Leasers
Behavior Tracking (possible combination with Personal Behavior Patterns)
Public Aggregated Searches Revealing Individual Behavior
In California, the sharing of this type of data is already going on.
transparency reports filed by the California utilities companies and obtained by the ACLU of California show that a significant amount of data about the energy use of Californians is also ending up in the hands of third parties. In 2012, a single California utility company, San Diego Gas & Electric, disclosed the smart meter energy records of over 4,000 of its customers.
Now, THAT’S smart.
Yes, modern conveniences can help with some things, but are we trading our freedom for convenience?
We really need to count the cost.
3. Fire Risk
There have been hundreds of fires caused by Smart Meters.
I read in one place that analog meters cause fires too, but I have never heard of that and I believe this quote from Mindy Spatt of TURN (The Utility Reform Network)
Comparing analog to the new meters, she added, “In the collective memory of TURN, we have not seen similar incidents with analog meters.”
In fact, if you do an internet search of “fires caused by analog meters”, all that shows up is report after report of Smart Meter fires.
And Get THIS!
Most (if not all) Smart Meters are NOT UL Certified.
Now, how smart is that?
Which begs the question – if your house causes fire due to one of these meters, will your homeowners insurance pay for it since the device is not UL certified? I called my homeowners’ insurance company to find out.
They told me that in my case, my insurance would NOT be cancelled, but that if a fire were to be caused by the meter, they would go after the utility company for reimbursement.
They did advise, however, that every insurance company is different, so you should check with your homeowners’ carrier to find out their stance on this issue.
4. Lack of Energy Savings
These so-called Smart Meters are supposed to save us money.
Well, none of this savings has been proven, and in fact, there are some pretty important people saying that they think the savings simply aren’t going to happen. (Source.)
- It costs too much, and we’re not sure what good it will do. – John Rowe, CEO of Illinois utility ComEd.
- “[Smart meter] deployment . . . allows utilities to lower operating costs while increasing revenues. – Frost & Sullivan
– No net economic benefit to ratepayers.” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (yea for my home state!)
– Smart-meter conversion represents little more than a boondoggle that is being foisted on consumers by the politically influential companies that make the hardware and software that are required for the smart-meter conversion. – Consumers Digest
In this poll, about 1/3 of the people who had Smart Meters installed had an increase in energy costs, and one quarter had them double, triple, or more.
Hmmm…doesn’t sound so good now, does it?
5. Personal Safety
Think about it – if this data tells what electricity you are or aren’t using, couldn’t hackers get this information and know whether or not you are home or whether your kids are home alone?
6. Legal, Constitutional and Human Rights Violations
Our Constitution has been shredded recently by many government officials and courts.
Should we let it go even further?
So now we have utility companies forcing this technology on us that:
1. Is a health risk
2. Is a violation of privacy
3. Is a fire hazard
4. Costs too much
5. Has no real benefit
6. Potentially puts our personal safety at risk
Can you think of anything else that a corporation or government entity forces you to put on your house?
And you need to pay money if you don’t want it?
This huge list of violations will really get you thinking.
7. Exorbitant Cost
Check in your area how much money your utility want to charge you for not getting a Smart Meter.
Our charges in Michigan were really high and our Attorney General pressured the utilities to reduce their fees, which they did.
Now, our utility wants about $69 to opt out of the Smart Meter program, plus $9.72 a month.
About $120 a year for something I don’t want, that:
– puts my family at risk for health issues
– is a fire hazard
– violates my privacy
– doesn’t seem to really save any money (in other words, it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do)
– puts our personal safety at risk
– violates the Constitution plus legal and human rights issues
– has overpriced fees associated with not taking it
Whatever it is, it isn’t right and I don’t want it.
Next, I’ll share with you what happened when I called our local electric company and told them that I didn’t want their “Smart Meter”.
Seriously, I think I’ll call it a “Dumb Meter” or “Invasive Meter” or “Cancer Causing Big Brother Technology Doohickey”.
That last one has a good ring to it, dontcha think :)?
So now the questions are:
1. I don’t want a Smart Meter. What should I do next?
2. I have a Smart Meter already. What can/should I do?
I am going to tackle all of these questions, including:
– sharing with you what happened to me when I contacted my local electric utility and told them I didn’t want a Smart Meter
– what I have done about Smart Meters coming to my neighborhood
– what I am planning to do
I hope you all will help get the word out. Even if you have a Smart Meter installed, it’s not too late.
I’ll have more ways you can get involved in future posts so make sure to sign up for email delivery of my posts so you don’t miss anything.
More on Smart Meters:
What do you think?
Are you worried?
Are “Smart Meters” smart?