“Many of them said they had never heard of electrical sensitivities before, were developing strange symptoms they never had before, could not use computers, wi-fi or cell phones any more without painful symptoms (even though previously they had been using them heavily with wi-fi in offices and on in homes 24/7). Weeks or months after their symptoms began they first discovered a smart meter on their home. Upon inquiry, they found out it had been installed at the time or just before their symptoms initiated… All this was surprising to me because this device was initiating ES (electrosensitivity) in previously normal, healthy persons who had tolerated wi-fi and cell phones for years with no problems.”
Richard H. Conrad, Ph.D., John Hopkins trained biochemist, Pre-Filed Testimony to the Maine Public Utilities Commission regarding Smart Meter Opt out Program, Feb 1, 2013
- Bay Area Safety Power Outage Sparks a Fire and Electrical Hazard Report by Local Resident Sent to Officials: Information on hazards of smart meters and other electrical transformers (October 2019).Fire and electrical hazards report
- Michigan Senator Colbeck sponsors International Wireless Forum. December 4, 2018 Senator Colbeck held the first of it’s kind forum on Wireless Technology with a variety of speakers. To link to Smart Meter discussion go here. To view entire speaker series go here
- PG and E Removes Smart Meters from homes with Solar. To see how Smart Meters can be removed from homes with Solar installations and replaced with the prior analogue meter and attach to landline go here. Eric Windheim moderates this demonstration.
“Smart” Meters for a “Smart” Grid
Utilities in all states have been replacing decades old but still perfectly functioning analogue meters with so-called Smart Meters on peoples homes for the purpose of wirelessly reading electricity use by sending radio frequency signals to neighboring houses which then are sent to local nodes and then to the local utility. This creates a continuous “Smart Grid” blanket of electromagnetic radiation in neighborhoods for the purpose of efficient wireless transfer of household data on energy use to the main utility carrier for billing and data analysis. The human meter readers are no longer needed to read the meters directly. Although convenient and cheaper for utilities there have been a host of problems reported from privacy and security to serious health effects and fires. Many residents have organized nationwide to educate others about these risks and pass legislation to allow residents to Opt Out of Smart Meters.
Convenience or Hazard?
Smart Meter placement seems to be a wonderful convenience, however, these meters use 2.4 GHz microwave (and 900 MHz) radiation for communications which is what our microwave ovens, Wi-Fi routers and other wireless devices use. The Smart Meters are also on 24/7. Although consultants average the electromagnetic radiation emitted, they do not take into account research showing that pulsed radio frequency radiation is harmful even at lower power. It is the spikes of pulsed energy and not the average power density that causes the harm to cellular structures. In addition the long term cumulative exposures have been found to be harmful and are not taken into consideration in the rollout of these devices . Smart Meters can pulse up to 190,000 times a day. The 2.4 GHz wireless technology frequencies pulse at 2.4 billion cycles per second. We evolved in the earth’s natural low magnetic field resonance of 7.83 Hz (7.83 cycles per second) and are now exposed in almost every environment- home, work, school and businesses-to continuous mix of manmade microwave frequencies.
Smart Meters and “Dirty Electricity”
Smart Meters placed on homes appear to have a particularly devastating effect on health as this pulsed non-ionizing radiation is transmitted through household wiring, creating widespread local fields of what is termed dirty electricity (Dirty electricity EMF Analysis) Although aiming to connect wirelessly to our appliances and Internet of Things Appliances that are now being sold, this disharmonic mix of frequencies from both wired and wireless sources can affect our biological functioning. This is despite the fact that these levels are well below the ICNIRP Guidelines that are considered “safe”. Sienkiewicz et al notes that with regards to research in this field, “there is a crucial difference between epidemiology studies and laboratory work in terms of signals investigated: most people are exposed to a complex mixture of frequencies and signals at varying intensities, whereas the majority of animal studies have been performed using a single frequency or intensity.” Are Exposures to Multiple Frequencies the Key to Future Radiofrequency Research?
- For an engaging, concise and helpful explanation see also Electrical Pollution in Your Home. Alison Main. Nov 2017.
Research on Smart Meters
Although there is a growing body of peer reviewed evidence that wireless non-ionizing microwave electromagnetic radiation is harmful to all living organisms at high and low exposures and to all organ systems there is virtually no research on Smart Meters themselves. Dr. Lamech, however, examined a government survey in Victoria, Australia looking at symptoms development after smart meters were installed. One would expect adverse symptoms similar to electrosensitvity and this was confirmed by Frederica Lamech (2014).
She writes, “In 2006, the government in the state of Victoria, Australia, mandated the rollout of smart meters in Victoria, which effectively removed a whole population’s ability to avoid exposure to human-made high-frequency nonionizing radiation. This issue appears to constitute an unprecedented public health challenge for Victoria. By August 2013, 142 people had reported adverse health effects from wireless smart meters by submitting information on an Australian public Web site using its health and legal registers.”
After removing any ineligible participants without confirmed address, she took a survey of symptoms reported after the smart meters were placed. She found host of adverse physical health symptoms. These symptoms had a negative effect on these peoples lives in terms of normal functioning. Notably only 8% of the 92 final group reported they had electrosensitivity prior to the installation of smart meters, which Dr. Lamech states, “… points to the possibility that smart meters may have unique characteristics that lower people’s threshold for symptom development.” The most common reported symptoms were:
- cognitive disturbances
- dysesthesias (abnormal sensation)
Dr. Lamech Research
Self-reporting of symptom development from exposure to radiofrequency fields of wireless smart meters in Victoria, Australia: A case series. Self Reporting of symptom development from exposure to radio frequency fields of wireless smart meters in Victoria, Australia… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25478801
Dr. De-Kun Li Provides Testimony to the FCC on Smart Meter Harm.
Dr. De-Kun Li Testimonial Letter to FCC regarding electromagnetic radiation. https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/7022311506.pdf
Dr. De-Kun Li Testimony FCC– Docket2011-00262 https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/7520940945.pdf
Research on EMR Exposure from Smart Meter: Within ICNIRP guidelines
All measurements done in the lab were well below ICNIRP reference level for the general public. The issue that has been brought up by electrical engineers in that the radiofrequency radiation that ravels from the Smart Meter also apparently travels through the wiring of the house setting up an electromagnetic field in all of the electrical wiring. This could account for the symptoms felt by many when Smart Meters are placed.
- Exposure to electromagnetic fields from smart utility meters in GB; part I) laboratory measurements. (2017) Peyman A et al. Bioelectromagnetics. 2017 Mar 21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28324620
- Assessment of exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields from smart utility meters in GB; part II) numerical assessment of induced SAR within the human body. (2018) Quresho MRA et al. Bioelectromagnetics. 2018 Apr;39(3):200-216.
An Inconvenient Truth: Richard H. Conrad, Ph.D. Pre- Filed Testimony to Maine PUC on smart Meters
Dr. Conrad, who received a Biochemistry degree from John Hopkins University and completed post graduate work at the Institute of Molecular Biophysics of Florida State University and in the Department of Biochemistry of Cornell University, gave clear and compelling expert testimony to the Maine Public Utilities Commission in 2013 regarding Smart Meters. He describes the key issues with development of electrosensitivity symptoms after the installation of Smart Meters, reporting on his own Smart meter survey. He dispels the myths of electrosensitivity and provides scientific evidence that electrosensitivity in NOT a nocebo effect.
Dr. Conrad notes, “If a government agency or a corporation was forcing the deployment of technology on citizens that was known in advance to cause disability or significant harm to one out of every 100 citizens, would this amount of harm be “acceptable” or would it be cause to halt such deployment? What would the probability of harm have to be to be prevent deployment? The actual acceptable limit chosen would probably be proportional to the perceived degree of necessity of the particular technology. Most technology is not as necessary as we think it is. There is always a safer design. The precautionary principle is the only ethical way to proceed.
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH:
“Smart meters are sensitizing hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people all over the world to become Electrically HyperSensitive, regardless of the stubborn adherence of industry and the FCC to thermal “safety” standards. Their response to non-thermal evidence is to ignore, disregard, deny, and above all, disbelieve. They neither conduct nor support unbiased non-thermal effects research.” Dr. Conrad- Maine Public utilities Commission Testimony on Smart Meters. 2013.
Health Effects Reported with Smart Meters
Once these Smart Meters began to be installed in different states, reports of adverse health effects similar to electrosensitivity surfaced. These symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, poor concentration and heart palpitations. These are especially noted when Smart Meters are installed near where peoples heads are in the bedroom. When the Smart Meters were removed many people reported their symptoms resolved. Some people have to leave there homes due to immediate severe adverse symptoms. Because of the widespread health effects that were observed, in addition to reports of inaccurate inflated billing and privacy issues, at least 24 states have a Smart Meter Opt Out Law of one degree or another . Smart Meter Opt Out Laws in 24 States Massachusetts is one of the most recent states to consider a similar Bill- S1684 Smart Meter Opt Out Massachusetts.
Opt Out Option in 24 States
Many citizens and community groups have organized in the United States and abroad to oppose and stop Smart Meter installations for several reasons, including health effects. As noted above 24 states now have an opt out option. Reports of harassment and power being shut off has raised concern and awareness about this issue. Michigan is now in the middle of assessing their utility, DTE Energy Corporation, with testimony being entered into the record for 2018 (see below). Massachusetts is the latest to propose legislation allowing opt outs for smart meters Massachusetts Bill S 1864 , S 1864-An Act relative to utilities, smart meters, and ratepayers’ rights.
In Northern California you can call Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Opt Out Program at 1-866-743-0263 and ask to Opt Out or call your local utility. People who do not wish to keep their Smart Meters in the 24 states that allow this can call their local utility as well to return back to an analogue meter with a human meter reader. Note that municipalities vary even in states to allow opting out of Smart Meters.
Michigan Senator Patrick Colbeck Sponsors Wireless Forum
On Dec 4, 2018 Senator Colbeck sponsored a groundbreaking international wireless forum, with speakers discussing all aspects of wireless technology including Smart Meters. This is the first of its kind forum in the depth and breadth of this issue. Senator Colbeck states this is the most important environmental issue of our time as it affects every human. He also notes the first steps of awareness of wireless technology, similar to grieving:
Senator Colbeck then relates the need to depoy this technology in a safe manner.
Electrical Engineer Bill Bathgate on Health and Safety Issues with Smart Meters, Dec 4, 2018
At the Dec 4, 2018 Wireless Forum sponsored by Michigan Senator Patrick Colbeck Here is an eyeopening video of Bill Bathgate, an electrical engineer, reviewing smart meters and how these can be not only a health hazard but also a fire hazard.
Smart Meters: A National Crisis?
In this article in Health Impact News Smart Meters are discussed in detail and an engineer directly measures the difference between Smart Meters and Cell Towers.
Smart Meters: Countdown to a National Crisis of Illness and Death. April 15, 2018.Smart Meters- A National Crisis
How Smart Meters Work
Experienced engineer and lecturer Rob States describes below how Smart Meters and the mesh network is created in neighborhoods. He discusses how Smart Meters can increase exposure to potentially harmful microwave radiation. In addition, he looks at how Italy uses somewhat different “smart meters” that do not emit microwave radiation.
The “Dark Side ” of Smart Meters . Robert States describes the many dilemmas with Smart Meters including health, privacy and home security.
Are There Safer Smart Meters? Truckee California is Testing This
Jeromy Johnson, on his website http://www.EMFAnalysis.com, Do You Have a Smart Meter?, examines conventional Smart Meters versus newer models put in Truckee, California, that transmit infrequently and only once a month when the truck reader comes by. Are these safer? The question remains, however the Truckee Donner PUD aims to ” have the least amount of RF in their community as possible.” They also allow Opt Outs to any of its customers and they do not force this untested technology on their residents.
Dr. David Carpenter on Smart Meters and Health
Public health expert and Harvard Professor Dr. David Carpenter explains that there are no studies showing long term safety of Smart meters.
Smart Meter Versus Fruit Tree
This non-scientific observational testimonial video from EMF Analysis.com demonstrates what scientists have found with non-thermal cell tower radiation effects on trees. There are widespread environmental effects now emerging in peer reviewed journals. For Scientific Literature Environmental Effects see https://mdsafetech.org/environmental-and-wildlife-effects/
- Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations. (2016) Waldmann-Selsam C. Sci Total Environ. 2016 Dec 1;572:554-569. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27552133.
Privacy, Hacking, Fire and Billing Concerns
Privacy of utility billing and usage has been a consumer priority. Third party regulations lag behind in many states, however, some have put in place laws that afford some protection of information. The California Public Utilities Commission was the first to establish rules to protect the privacy and security of customer smart meter usage data to third parties. Unfortunately, when electricity data is transferred to a third party, utilities can no longer reasonably protect that information.
- Balancing Smart Grid Data and Consumer Privacy. Constance Douris. June 2017. https://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Lexington_Smart_Grid_Data_Privacy-2017.pdf
- Smart electricity meters can be dangerously insecure, warns expert. Hackers can cause fraud, explosions and house fires, and utility companies should do more to protect consumers, conference told. Dec 29, 2016. Alex Hern. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/29/smart-electricity-meters-dangerously-insecure-hackers
- San Francisco Water District- About Your Water Meter. Encrypted data read every 6 hours. https://sfwater.org/index.aspx?page=386
Hacking of smart meters has been reported for many years. In 2009 a series of hacking incidents was reported in Puerto Rico where smart meters were altered and settings changed to reduce electricity bills. The FBI got involved at that time. Hackers with not much sophistication according to experts can take control of your electricity as well as any IoT devices that are connected. Hackers RF device fools the “Smart Meter” into thinking it is a cell tower. IoT devices have unique signature loads and this information can be linked to personal information useful to police but also to others for surveillance purposes. Legitimate hacking concerns surround identity theft, burglary and vandalism. Encryption is now used but experts agree that there is no 100% hack proof system.
- Hackproofing smart meters. Science Daily. June 6, 2019. University of British Columbia. “He adds that as with all security techniques, there is no such thing as 100 per cent protection: “Security is a cat-and-mouse game between the attacker and the defender, and our goal is to make it more difficult to launch the attacks. I believe the fact that our techniques were able to find not just one or two vulnerabilities, but a whole series of them, makes them a great starting point for defending against attacks.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190606101822.htm
- How to hack a smart meter. Engerati Network. Feb 12, 2018. https://www.engerati.com/transmission-and-distribution/article/energy-security/how-hack-smart-meter
- Fired Employee Hacked Smart Water Meters Just to be a Jerk. June 30, 2017. Elizabeth Montalbano. https://securityledger.com/2017/06/fired-employee-hacked-smart-water-meters-just-to-be-a-jerk/
- Black Hat: Water Smart Meters Vulnerable To Attack. Jan 15, 2015. Stefanie Hoffman. https://news.hamlethub.com/swyonkers/life/1157-smart-water-meters-vulnerable-to-hacking
- Smart Meter Hack Shuts Off the Lights. European researchers will reveal major security weaknesses in smart meters that could allow an attacker to order a power blackout. Kelly Jackson Higgins. Oct 1, 2014. Dark Reading. https://www.darkreading.com/perimeter/smart-meter-hack-shuts-off-the-lights/d/d-id/1316242
Cybersecurity is an ongoing problem, despite encryption. The hackers are keeping up with more sophisticated technology. Having data in the “Cloud” is no assurance of security as well.
- Key Biscayne Hit by Cybersecurity Attack. Key Biscayne is the third Florida town to be hit by hackers in June. June 28, 2019. https://www.darkreading.com/attacks-breaches/key-biscayne-hit-by-cybersecurity-attack/d/d-id/1335086
- Hackers Won’t Let Up in Their Attack on U.S. Cities. Baltimore is still recovering month after more than one group breached its network. Wall Street Journal. June 7, 2019. Scott Calvert and Jon Kamp. https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-cities-strain-to-fight-hackers-11559899800
- Ransomware Cyberattacks Knock Baltimore’s City Services Offline. NPR. May 21, 2019. https://www.npr.org/2019/05/21/725118702/ransomware-cyberattacks-on-baltimore-put-city-services-offline
- Yes. Ransomware Can Encrypt Your cloud Storage. MUO. Gavin Phillips. March 29, 2017. https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/cloud-drive-ransomware/
Invasive surveillance makes consumers and the ACLU uncomfortable. A recent May 2018 article in the North Jersey USA Today states “Electric cars take the surveillance potential one step further, according to Kate Connizzo of the ACLU in Vermont, one of six states with more than 80 percent residential smart-meter penetration. “Determining how much electricity was required to recharge an electric car, and extrapolating from that how far it had traveled, would seem to be a pretty simple matter,” said Connizzo. “Put all this together with such devices as automated license plate readers, surveillance cameras, facial recognition technology, and you construct a detailed record of a person’s movements and activities.”
Fires and explosions have also been reported with smart meters that overload. This is another potential risk. EMF Safety Network has complied a list of smart meter fires. Installing smart meters takes expertise and time. According to an interview with a former Wellington Energy employee who installed smart meters, there was improper training. If the smart meter is placed too close to a gas line there could be arcing with resultant explosion.
Eight fires were documented by The Coalition to Stop Smart Meters in British Columbia. In a 2017 comprehensive report BCUC & SMART METER FIRES: THE FAILURE TO PROTECT
The author notes:
- Smart Meters in BC have never been independently certified by any agency as safe
- Smart Meters are being removed from the scene of fires without electrical inspections
- No agency is tracking fires
- Smart meters have burned, melted, and caused house fires
While cities across the country have spent tens of millions of dollars “upgrading” water metering systems, residents have frequently reported increased billing as soon as advanced water meters have been installed. The utilities have attributed this to leaks in the system or home renovations, which homeowners have found not to be the case.
- Water Bill Investigation: Are smart meters to blame for skyrocketing rates? There is still no explanation behind skyrocketing water bills across the City of San Diego. Steve Price. Feb 6, 2018. https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/water-bill-investigation-are-smart-meters-to-blame-for-skyrocketing-rates/509-3ac436c8-e822-4b0d-931a-1929ebfbc184
- Homeowners Question If City’s Smart Water Meter System to Blame for High Bills. NBC San Diego. Tom Jones, Consumer Bob and Erica Byers. Feb 6, 2018. https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Homeowners-Question-If-Citys-Smart-Water-Meter-System-to-Blame-for-High-Bills-473027503.html
- Residents claim water bills are rising after new water meters are installed. Jessica Bruno. Oklahoma News. August 3, 2016. https://kfor.com/2016/08/03/residents-claim-water-bills-are-rising-after-new-water-meters-are-installed/
- Problems with city’s new ‘smart’ water meters generate numerous written complaints. Daniel chacon. Dec 28, 2015. The New Mexican. https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/problems-with-city-s-new-smart-water-meters-generate-numerous/article_d4a8e931-9ff9-58a4-8a90-d366f2d3692e.html
- EMF Safety Network Smart Meter Bill Complaints. http://emfsafetynetwork.org/smart-meters/complaints/
San Diego Lawsuits Over Smart Meters: For Electricity, Then Water and Now for Everything
As Smart Meter systems are being installed in cities, there has been no premarket testing of these devices and no consideration for privacy or cybersecurity. All are significant threats to the health and wellbeing of the communities where these have been and are soon to be installed.
Electric Monitoring: In 2012 A San Diego Woman filed a lawsuit after her Smart Meter was installed and she became ill with symptoms typical of electrosensitivity. Smart Meter Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court by San Diegan
Water Monitoring Smart Meters: This 2018 lawsuit challenges where they money for these meters is coming from and rate increases. Environment Report: Lawsuit Targets Smart Water Meters
Population Monitoring: Jan 2018. New “Smart” monitoring equipment has been placed on streetlights in San Diego to monitor the sounds and sights of those in the city, as well as temperature, humidity and air pollution which will be uploaded to AT&T cloud. They claim it will save energy. San Diego Installs Smart Streetlights to Monitor the Metropolis
Testimony Smart Meters
Michigan House Energy Policy Committee Hearing 1/16/18 Smart Meters
Michigan residents testify about harassment by DTE Energy Corporation, with many testifying to poor customer service, lack of communication, un-consented removal of analogue meters with placement of Smart Meter as well as people having their power abruptly shut off.
At time 43:49 A 90 year old woman and her caretaker discuss how her power was shut off for 2 weeks in November 2014.
At time 1:00:00 A woman discusses the lack of communication with the DTE when she requested keeping her Smart Meter due to health issues with ultimate shutting off of her power.
At time 1:17:15 A doctor discusses her electrosensitivity and the lack of knowledge and respect for her condition from DTE when her power was shut off because of her refusal to have a Smart Meter.
Michigan Senator Patrick J. Colbeck Speaks on concerns about Smart Meters as a Part of Smart Grid and support for HR 4220 to allow Opt Out, March 9, 2017
Michigan Senator Patrick J. Colbeck discusses security threats and consumer protections regarding Smart Meters and a Smart Grid. He highlights a study done in California on failure mode and effects analysis showing that the power to our homes, offices and businesses is put at risk by using Smart Meters. Analogue meters do not carry this risk. He puts Smart Meter risks in three broad categories- National Security, Business Liability and Family Security. He quotes former CIA Director James Woolsley, ” A so called “Smart Grid” that is as vulnerable as what we’ve got is not smart at all. It’s a really stupid grid.” Business risks to their operation include “threats of terrorism” and “Cyber attacks”. These are listed in the Michigan DTE 10K filing. “Technology systems are vulnerable to disability or failures, due to hacking, viruses, acts of war…” Regarding Family risks there are No surge protectors thus risking fires, no conducted emissions filter leading to early appliance failure, Cyber security back-door access for hackers, no circuit breaker between the meter and the power source.
Michigan Senator Patrick J. Colbeck Speaks in Support of Smart Meter Choice for Opt Out, Nov 10, 2016
Senator Patrick Colbeck speaks in support of property rights to allow property owners the choice of having a Smart Meter during the November 10, 2016 session. He notes that there are many reasons citizens wish to have an analogue meter rather than a Smart Meter. These concerns include privacy, health, accurate pricing and data hacking on usage profiles. He states this comes down to property rights and the ability of people to refuse a device that causes substantial harm. Senator Colbeck notes there is no substantial harm in letting people have a choice.
Dr. Martin Pall Testimony in Massachusetts on Smart Meters
Dr. Martin Pall, Professor Emeritus at Washington State University and author of many papers on EMR on cellular structures, testifies June 20, 2017 in Massachusetts on Smart Meter bill SB1864.
Power Cut off in 4 North Carolina Homes as They Refuse Smart Meters.
On June 28, 2018, four Asheville North Carolina homes had their power cut off for refusing Smart meters. No advanced notice was given according to the residents. They state they had signed a notarized document requesting removal of smart meters and replacement with analogue meters.
Smart Meters, Dirty Electricity and Disease
Dr. Sam Milham, physician, epidemiologist and author of the book Dirty Electricity, is featured here, explaining smart meter devices, dirty electricity and adverse health effects. Informative. Research papers he highlights can be found on his website Sam Milham Research Papers.