This opinion piece was published today in the Portola Reporter.
Let’s Take Back Our Power & Wise Up to “Smart” Meters
By Josh Hart, Director StopSmartMeters.Org
My partner and I moved to Plumas County last summer from the Coastal Mountains. She and I love it here, and are grateful for the beauty and the people who have become our community. I work full time from home as a technology writer and researcher, and we support our local economy by shopping in the area. We save time and gas, and if it costs a little more, then that’s the price of a healthy local economy. In other words, we’re the type of people the Rec & Tech campaign is trying to draw to Plumas County.
Now Plumas Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative (PSREC) is threatening to disconnect our electricity. We have paid every penny of power we use on time, and in full. So what’s going on?
Nearly 4 years ago, PG&E tried to install a “smart” meter on our home. After an investigation, I realized there were serious problems with the technology. I started StopSmartMeters.Org in June 2010, to inform others about this threat to our health, privacy, and safety. The public remains overwhelmingly supportive of our ongoing campaign, with more than 57 cities, counties, and tribes throughout California having spoken out against the “smart grid.” More than a dozen have even outlawed the devices.
One reason is privacy. Intimate, private details of what goes on in your home are made available by the ‘smart’ meter to the utility and to whomever they choose to pass (or sell) this data.
Furthermore, hundreds of fires and electrical faults have led to property and appliance damage- even loss of life. The meters are cheaply manufactured in China and Mexico and are not UL certified.
Radiation from “smart” meters is hurting us, whether we can feel it or not. In May, 2011 the World Health Organization (WHO) classified wireless microwave radiation- used for cell and cordless phones, wi-fi, cell towers, baby monitors, and “smart” meters- a Class 2B possible carcinogen (pdf). This is the same category as DDT and lead. People are developing brain tumors on the same side of the head they use their cell phones. “Smart” meters can expose people to 160 times the cumulative radiation of a cell phone (pdf). Meanwhile, the FCC- who has a responsibility to set safe levels for human exposure- has been asleep at the regulatory wheel, allowing cell phones to be marketed to kids and wi-fi to be rolled out in elementary schools, even as European countries ban cell phone sales to children and remove wi-fi from their libraries. FCC guidelines recognize that it is not good for your health if you are heated like a hot dog in a microwave oven. Ignored are the thousands of peer-reviewed studies identifying non-thermal effects of microwaves- including cancer, DNA damage, breaches of the blood-brain barrier, ADHD, headaches, tinnitus, insomnia, heart palpitations, and other ailments.
PG&E and PSREC’s “smart” meters both emit sharp bursts of microwave radiation every few seconds, 24/7 (Liberty Energy generally uses safer analog meters). PG&E admitted their meters emit up to 190,000 signals per day. PSREC’s Itron meters emit constantly, even though the signal is only picked up by the meter reader once a month, wasting energy and unnecessarily exposing residents. I’ve measured radiation levels of 20.5 microwatts per square centimeter from one of their meters in the Mohawk Valley (see above), a level found to damage DNA, and affect memory and learning. These levels are so high they would be illegal in China, Poland, Russia, and Switzerland. Yet there is no warning to keep your distance.
Such a warning would have helped me in 2011. After measuring radiation from a bank of 80 PG&E “smart” meters at a complex in Berkeley, I began to get powerful stabs of pain in my temples often followed by waves of nausea, when near someone using a cell phone.
When my doctor later diagnosed me with electro-hyper-sensitivity, I learned that I had been injured by ‘smart’ meter radiation in the same way a sunburn from solar radiation makes you ultra-sensitive to sunlight the next day. Yet this “sunburn” has persisted- and it’s increasingly difficult to find places without wireless, as people are clamoring for cell phone coverage everywhere- even in the back country wilderness. For those affected, it can be a nightmare you don’t wake up from. And it’s often made worse by those who ridicule the injury as a “psychiatric problem” (it’s not).
Before we decided to move to Plumas, I called PSREC to explain my situation, and was assured there’d be no problem getting an analog meter. I never agreed to any fees, nor was asked to.
We moved to the Mohawk Valley in August last year and PSREC installed an analog meter right away. They asked for a letter from my doctor regarding my diagnosis, which I provided. CA utility code section 453(b) states that “no public utility shall…require different rates or deposit amounts from a person because of…medical condition.” Thus, I expected that my doctor’s letter would negate any charges related to the analog.
The PSREC board met in September, and decided to charge $141.60 for an analog meter (available online for $14) and $15/ month to pay the meter reader to walk from his truck to our meter. We offered to self-read our analog and phone in the readings, but our offer was refused, though dozens- possibly hundreds- of PSREC customers continue to be billed this way at no extra charge. Yet for me, with a documented medical condition, they demand that we pay or they will disconnect our electricity- even in the middle of winter.
This is not fair, reasonable, or legal. Like PG&E’s ‘opt out’ fee in dispute at the CPUC, and which thousands are refusing to pay, PSREC’s charges are a kind of extortion.
They accuse us of forcing our neighbors to “subsidize” us with the added costs of meter reading, but cutting our power would cost the cooperative hundreds of dollars a year in lost revenue. Is the cost of reading our meter really the problem, or is it that they don’t like us informing the community about their hazardous equipment?
We should have a free choice about what kinds of technologies we prefer to use in our own homes. I personally choose not to use any wireless- and that is my choice. The “smart” meter crosses a line and violates our property and constitutional rights. No one should have to pay for the “privilege” of avoiding headaches and nausea- or even exposure to a Class 2B carcinogen- in their own home.
I encourage the Plumas County community to learn more about this issue at our website: StopSmartMeters.Org. Watch the documentary Take Back Your Power, available on DVD at the Quincy, Portola, and Greenville libraries, and at the Graeagle Outpost (also through our website).
There are alternatives to toxic wireless technology. Wired technology provides a safer, faster, more secure connection.
In a world increasingly saturated with “electro-smog,” some of us get sick and show symptoms sooner than others. I happen to be one of the early ones, like the canary sent down the coal mine. PSREC, a local energy cooperative, created in the not-too-distant past, by and to serve local people, must remember the importance of health and safety even when- especially when- it’s inconvenient.
Josh Hart is a resident of Plumas County and is Director of Stop Smart Meters! For more information, go to the website at StopSmartMeters.Org or write to POB 682 Portola, CA 96122
Thank you Joshua for helping all of us get away from damaging smart meters , i have not yet been charged opt out but i do not intend to do it , thanks so much , i believe this will pass as people are getting more aware everyday and we cannot let those corporation control us , thanks again Claudy
Cut off the powerline! We don’t need A/Cond or non-LED lights and 24/7 gadgets. Use LED lights. Use 40watt laptop computers. Refrigerators are not necessary if you change your diet to raw grain (8hour sprout) fruit yogurt smoothies, etc. This change does not require a full rooftop of solar panels. Convert devices to DC current. TV, computers etc are all internally DC.
Thanks for your suggestions Jim. We’d like to eventually go off grid- in fact we lived off grid for a year and a half in the Santa Cruz mountains, but that place was set up for it, with a propane fridge, propane hot water heater, solar panels and DC lights. This rental is fully electric including the hot water heater, heating, stove, etc. so it would be quite a burden unless we wanted to sink thousands of dollars into a place that we do not own. I think we might wither away on a sprout based diet up here in the Sierra! But it may come to that. One thing is for certain- we are not paying to protect our health!
It’s sad to see a rural electric co-op making such a fuss about your analog. Clearly this has very little to do with money and much more to do with maintaining the dogma that electromagnetic fields (including 60 Hz AC) pose no threat to our health, by nipping aware individuals like Josh in the bud.
There can definitely be benefits to using the electric grid for cooking and heating, especially for sensitive individuals who might be more sensitive to the combustion gasses (or gas leaks) than the magnetic fields produced by these appliances. You only have to measure the fields once to know how far back from the stove/heater is safe to stand. There is never predictability with carbon monoxide, etc. A gas stove is great for the evenness of the flame, but we’re making do with an electric range and electric clothes dryer, which would not make financial sense to replace. We have a couple camp stoves that will work if the power goes out (see http://www.coleman.com/Products/2010/propane-stoves) and hang drying clothes doesn’t take gas or electricity.
The bottom line is that people who choose to live in civilized places have the right to access safe utilities, but wireless meters for electricity, gas or water (or extortionate opt out fees to avoid them) take away that right.
Josh – You have brought awareness to so many people around the world and that’s why they are after you; no different than any “whistle blower” of the evil that pervades our society today. You are in great and honorable company and they don’t like it. They have the “power” (pun intended) and trying to wield it against all who refuse to go along with their corrupt practices.
I have SCE. And I do pay their small (so far) extortion fee – “paid under protest” written on the front of the check and written on the back of the check – the list of severe health issues for all to read who come in contact with this check whether SCE or bank employees.
At some point I will stop paying it. They will no doubt off my electricity. In the meantime, I am preparing for that event. Will it be inconvenient for awhile? Sure, but we can prepare and plan ahead. What does that get them if more and more people refused their “service”!!?? They don’t get paid for a service they are no longer providing. Big drop in their revenues and perhaps angry shareholders.
Our city has just installed huge – extra high – cell and power line towers very nearby. The ringing, hissing, humming in my ears, especially at night is nearly intolerable. Many homes closer to these killer towers are for sale. More and more people still need to wake up to this great devastation. You will find a way to proceed regardless of what they do because you are put here at this time.
A good site to investigate –
“If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey, he is obligated to do so.”
I have one of the Landis & Gyr analog meters on my property. It sits directly on the other side of my bedroom wall, perhaps 4 feet from where i sleep.
I have never ONCE paid SCE’s “fees,” nor will i be subject to extortion in exchange for my health & safety.
Each and every month i get my power bill, i pay all delivery and generation charges, along with any local and state taxes, on time every time.
The $10 /month “op-out fee” is NOT paid, nor is the “late” fee that is tacked on. In addition to my bill, i send a 5 page letter to both SCE and CPUC indicating what my charges are, and why i will not pay them. I have been doing this for almost two years, and despite numerous disconnection “threats,” i still have my power.
It’s YOUR money, and YOUR health. Don’t give in!
Josh, you are the father of the mother of all anti-“smart” meter websites, and I can’t even begin to express my appreciation for all you’ve done. It is a travesty that you all are being put through this, and over the stupidest device ever foisted on the American or any other public.
The utilities here have people over a barrel and they know it, as many elderly, ill, and young people could die in Georgia’s heat if they had no air conditioning. So we have to pay the extortion/blackmail to keep the “Spy and Fry” meter off our homes and businesses. Georgia actually cut off the power of an elderly, ill woman here, and her son kept the house going on a gasoline-powered generator and gas stove as long as he could. But most cannot afford to keep that up for too long.
We salute you for your stand, though, and pray that it doesn’t come to a power shutoff, that they are playing a game that ends with you retaining your power and them backing down. That would be ideal, and would pave the way for others to be free of the unfair fees.
Josh – One further comment – we live in an age when “good is evil and evil is good.”
Put nothing past these evil ones. Nothing. They lie, steal, and cheat and have no conscience about it. These evil ones, at every level – do not like their monies messed with. Their demonic deeds done in darkness do not like to have the light shown on them. Be cautious. Be nimble. They are ALL evil from the very top down.
From what I understand, the whole purpose of smart meters is to increase energy costs for several reasons. #1 More tax revenue for governments. #2 Protect the biggest criminal organizations in the world, oil companies from their current triple overpriced commodity gasoline. At past prices for electricity, electric cars would crash gas prices.
I’m curious about the “sunburn” you mentioned. I too had the same problem after being exposed to high levels of RF. It went away after drinking a raw “green smoothie”
You may be reacting due to a mold exposure that never left your body. Mold hates RF and reacts as if it were a threat. Try ginger, garlic, or cayenne pepper for a good detox.
Hope this helps,
These Electric Power Companies in America and Canada as well are The Pitts, The Pitts of Hell as far as I am concerned. Their great and growing EVIL is “The Love Of Money,” which is a CURSE. They don’t give a brass Razoo about your health and welfare. It’s only the money they want to keep on extorting from all of you. The Governments in America and Canada are just as bad as they these Electric Power Companies are now all Corporations driven by wicked greed. We here in Victoria Australia are having exactly the same problems as are you in America and in Canada. In England and the rest of the United Kingdom the Roll-Out of these now Human Health Wrecking so-called smart meters has been stopped, stopped for good I hope; this we will have to wait and see. Even now in England and the rest of the United Kingdom if one has a smart meter and wants to be rid of it one only has to send a polite and firm letter to the Electric Power Company and by LAW they have to remove it and replace it with the Safe and Passive Analog Electric Meter you once had. The cost for this change-over has to be paid by that same Electric Power Company.
Thanx for standing up. The reason they are doing this is to get money from selling data to advertisers and invade privacy at the expense of everyone’s health. The time to speak up is now!
I right now am living with parents trying to buy my own place but scared to buy a place then have a smart meter forced on me anyway I live in NJ right now its smart meter free but was looking to move to Pa Since I’m EHS and figured it I would have more land there away from neighbors wireless toys but First Energy tells me all of Pa will be smart meters by end of yr and no opt out .
Now a big problem the water company is wanting to put a digital RF meter on my parents house and they just sent notice if we do not let them in the next 10 days they will shut the water off . Now I heard two diff schools of thought one that it only transmits once a month the other it transmits all the time however if it does only transmit once a month I’m figuring that would be ok but could that cause dirty electricity throughout the house or would only the electric meter cause that ?