Take Back Your Power: The Power of Choice
There has been much debate nationally and internationally surrounding the utility's highly marketed "smart" meters. Utilities are touting them as the answer to freeing us from foreign oil and a gadget that offers consumer control. On the other hand, power executives are saying that the business case isn't there, physicians are warning of health concerns, and security analysts are warning that the necessary communication network creates security and privacy risks, leaving us vulnerable to hacking and remote shutdowns. When 54 local governments throughout California are placing moratoriums against the installation of "smart" meters and state legislatures in Vermont, Michigan, California and Maine, among others, are advocating for the rights of residents to retain their analog meters, shouldn't we take these as lessons learned?
Whatever side of the debate one falls on is not essential to resolving this hot topic. Rather, protecting our freedom to choose what will go on our homes and the choice to assume risks with which we are comfortable are the issues currently on the political table.
Harvard-trained physician David Carpenter, MD, the Director for the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-SUNY, recently submitted a personal letter to the City. Dr. Carpenter specializes in radio frequency radiation and its impact on human physiology. He has testified before both houses of Congress and in 2009 before the President's Cancer Panel. His letter makes four points:
1. The benefit of the smart meters is entirely to the utilities and is economic in nature.
2. When a wireless smart meter is installed, residents have no choice in the matter or ability to avoid exposure.
3. This device continuously generates RF radiation 24/7.
4. The evidence for adverse effects of radiofrequency radiation is strong and grows stronger with each new study.
One only has to witness the forced installation of "smart" meters against a homeowner's wishes to begin questioning the utility's claim that this project is about "proactive customer service and fundamentally about providing more choices and control over how you use electricity."
Where is the customer service and control for the disabled woman who was told that she was too late to say no after she struggled to get down the stairs and found the installer already in her backyard?
Where is the customer service and control for the resident who was showering when her power went out, and when she ran out to refuse the installation of a "smart" meter was told she should have answered the door?
Where is the customer service and control for the doctor who was working and couldn't be home, but had a sign posted on his door stating very clearly "Do Not Install A Smart Meter”?
Where is the customer service and control for the resident whose locked fence was jumped to install a "smart" meter against his will?
Where is the customer service and control for the cancer survivors who are trying to stay healthy in their own homes?
Who is authorizing these activities? Who do residents and the disabled turn to for protection of our rights? Shouldn't we be able to shower, shop, and go to work without the threat of someone coming onto our property without our consent?
If the “smart” meter product lives up to its marketed tagline of being environmentally responsible and consumer friendly, residents will opt-in to the program when they can see the proof of its value.
Kim Bendis MS, FNP-C
President, Naperville Smart Meter Awareness