- What is a mesh network?
- Why does my utility want to use this system?
- Are there other systems in use with “smart” meters?
- If I opt out, what happens to the mesh network around where I live?
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Q: What is a mesh network?
Unlike a cell-phone network, which has large antennas that capture and transmit data, with individual phones moving around and connecting to the closest antenna in order to utilize the network, a mesh network has no centralized antennas. Every meter in the network can connect to every other one (within a certain distance- roughly a mile or two in the case of some smart meters that have been tested). Information moves around and then is collected by centralized hub antennas usually mounted on utility poles called Data Collector Units (or DCU’s). There are also collector meters, which collect data from other meters- these tend to have higher emissions and (we believe) tend to be more associated with reported health problems.
Q: Why does my utility want to use this system?
It must have seemed like a great idea to them: little or no extra infrastructure—just install a powerful set of receivers and transmitters on each and every house you have an “easement” on—Voila! A massive “self-healing” connectivity network. Each meter transmits for incredible distances—if it can’t talk to its neighbor, it leaps to the next meter along, and so on.
Why it didn’t occur to them that people would object to have what is essentially a cell phone antenna facility mounted on the side of their house, we just don’t know. Perhaps that is the sort of disordered thinking that happens after years of unmitigated cell-phone use inside corporate offices buzzing with electro-smog. It is most certainly ignorant, arrogant, and dangerous. One day there will be prosecutions.
Perks for the utility: fire the meter readers, shut off customers without a field visit, and get access to a huge amount of free data from customer usage. Does any of that sound like it is for your benefit?
Q: Are there other systems in use with “smart” meters?
Utilities use a dizzying list of acronyms and technical terms to describe their ‘smart’ grid systems. Many insist that their meters aren’t the ‘smart’ meters that have been causing all the problems. ALL of the meter types below are ‘smart’ and are associated with health and safety problems:
AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) enables two-way wireless communication between the utility and the meter. Enables remote shut off & control of appliances.
AMR (Automatic Meter Reading- or ERT) meters are typically wireless one-way meters that report usage to utility personnel in a vehicle with a handheld device. Includes ‘bubble up’ meters that transmit all the time, and ‘wake up’ systems that transmit when they receive a signal from a drive by meter reader.
PLC (Power Line Communication) uses the power lines to transmit utility usage data. Though this is a wired system, ‘dirty electricity’ used to send the signal also radiates into living spaces from unshielded wiring, and can be just as dangerous to your health than these other systems. Read more about PLC at EI Wellspring.
“Radio Off” Digital Meters can still act as a surveillance device. They also use switch mode power supplies, linked to dirty electricity and health problems.
Bottom line: A ‘smart’ meter is any utility meter that contains electronic components. Do not accept anything less than a ‘purely electro-mechanical analog meter with no electronic components.’ Be aware that some utilities have been installing meters that appear to be analogs but in fact are fully activated ‘smart’ meters.
Q: If I opt out, what happens to the mesh network around where I live?
On Sept 14, 2011 at the CPUC opt-out workshop, PG&E’s “smart” meter representative Jim Meadows stated that for every ten people who opt out, they will be forced to install one pole-top data collector unit (DCU) in order to close a “hole” in their mesh network. Those opting out would have no say over where that unit would be installed, raising serious questions about other ways a customer could be exposed to the network’s RF radiation. They were asked, but did not answer, what would happen if whole communities opted out.