- What is the “Home Area Network” and how does it relate to “smart” meters?
- Will all new appliances have these RF transmitters in them for the HAN?
- If my utility makes my “smart” meter “radio-off”, will that shut off this second “HAN” transmitter, too?
- What can I do to avoid these new emitting appliances? How can I register my objection to this extra layer of RF radiation in the home?
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Q: What is the “Home Area Network” and how does it relate to “smart” meters?
Inside many “smart” meters is the capacity to connect wirelessly with home appliances that contain RF antennas on the same frequency (usually 2.4-2.5 GHz). This is supposed to mean you can control your appliances and monitor their electrical usage and so on. Google “zigbee” for some technical info. It is this system that will produce detailed data on your home’s electricity usage—right down to which appliance was used when and for how long.
More importantly, what this new technology in reality means is that households will be adding layer after layer of wifi-type RF emitters, one in each appliance, throughout the home. The effectiveness of a Home Area Network for saving energy has not been shown conclusively. In the UK, it was recently observed that the novelty of such a system wore off quickly, and after a few weeks, people stopped utilizing the data. It also created discord between family members!
Think about it: an RF transmitter capable of transmitting hundreds of feet, installed and transmitting from the moment they are plugged in, in each and every appliance in your home. Here’s a story about one person who tried unsuccessfully to purchase an appliance without the RF transmitter.
Q: Will all new appliances have these RF transmitters in them for the HAN?
As far as we understand, appliance manufacturers are moving to install them in new appliances. Here’s an example, GE’s “Brillion” program. Their “smart” appliances include dishwasher, washer/dryer, fridge, water heater, oven, and thermostat.
Q: If my utility makes my “smart” meter “radio-off”, will that shut off this second “HAN” transmitter, too?
We do not know. This issue hasn’t been discussed in the opt-out process in California in any detail, and since the meters are a “black box”—the internal details are a proprietary secret—there is no obvious way to find out. See the section on measuring RF yourself .
Q: What can I do to avoid these new emitting appliances? How can I register my objection to this extra layer of RF radiation in the home?
Contact manufacturers directly to express your desire to have appliances free of RF emitters. Write, call or email. They won’t change unless they see that there are people who don’t want this new RF source inside their homes. Talk to friends and family, to let them know about this—people will be buying these appliances without knowing that this wireless radiation is on from the moment you plug it in. There is no “off” switch for the RF chip. Disabling the transmitter is likely to void your warranty.