Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group Gains Support, Members–
Goes Straight to Voters
From Naperville IL (30 miles west of Chicago)
November 14, 2011
NAPERVILLE, IL – Over 35 Naperville Smart Meter Awareness volunteers collected 4,199 signatures in a mere 25 days, petitioning the City to give residents a choice in whether they want the “smart” meter installation to continue or “immediately and permanently stop the implementation of the $22 million smart meter project and dismantle all related equipment.” The petition requires the question to be placed on the City’s March 20, 2012, primary ballot.
The Naperville City Council has repeatedly stated that those opposed to the smart meters are a small minority of residents, but Naperville Smart Meter Awareness is proving otherwise. “Over 4000 residents we have talked with are now getting very familiar with the issue. They are surprised and upset at the council’s lack of transparency. They are mad that residents were not given a choice to vote on this highly controversial issue.” states Jennifer Stahl, one of the founding members of the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group. “Residents want to know why they have not been informed and why they are not being given a choice to participate in this program”.
The Naperville City Council has stated that no one has the option to opt out of the program. According to the Illinois Public Utilities Act, the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act, and the Energy Act of 2005, utilities are only able to offer smart meters to ratepayers but are not able to mandate that each customer receive a wireless radiation emitting smart meter. Additionally, there is nothing that states that smart meters must be wireless. Residents that would like to choose a non-wireless smart meter will be assessed a fee of $24.75 per month with an upfront cost of $68. Members of the NSMA group questioned the punitive nature of these fees and point out that the fees are intentionally high in order to discourage residents from choosing this option.
Across the country groups opposed to the installation of smart meters are forming, with 30% of states in the US now having active groups. In California, utility executives are removing smart meters and allowing customer to return to their analog meters due to public outcry. In Maine, privacy and safety advocates have appealed the PUC’s dismissal of their earlier complaint which raised concerns about safety, privacy, security and constitutional violations related to the meters. In Nevada, investigations have been launched into the health risks associted with wireless smart meters.
“There is a rapidly rising international tide of smart meter opposition. We have seen what is happening across the country, with utilities removing previously installed meters, opt out provisions being made, and investigations being launched into health complaints. Why the City’s utility managers and council feel that Naperville is immune to these challenges makes no sense. By the number of signatures we collected, residents are demanding to have a voice and a choice. We are hopeful that the council will come to its senses and listen to its constituents before any more money is wasted.“, states Tom Glass, lifelong Naperville resident and member of NSMA.
Naperville Smart Meter Awareness is a group of concerned citizens educating the public about the risks of wireless smart meters. They are comprised of lawyers, technology professionals, health advocates, accountants, business owners and parents in the community of Naperville, Illinois. Local coverage here.