Smart Meters - not so smart!
In 2009, Victoria became the first state in Australia to introduce smart meters. In time, all states will be involved through the National Smart Meter Rollout, though they are being installed in other states if you have a grid connected solar system. Smart meters enable the utility companies to measure and record remotely how much electricity you use at different times of the day and week. As such they will be able to charge different rates for different times of the day, week and year. In order to be able to read your meter remotely, a pulsed radiofrequency is emitted several times per day (some say up to 6 times however this varies depending upon whom you talk to) using mobile phone technology in the range of 915 to 928MHz and 2.4GHz. Whilst these frequencies are within the Australian guidelines, our exposure standards fare poorly when compared with other countries. This is not good for individuals who are electrically sensitive. Given that it is mandatory, consumers are powerless to stop the installation of these devices. In 2010, the Netherlands prevented a bill making smart meters compulsory - Australia should do the same.
Download article: Smart Meters (543 kb pdf)
Here is my video presentation at the Stop Smart Meter Forum (November 2012):
- Why the authorities are not acting on electromagnetic fields (14.37 minutes)
- Electrical Hypersensitivity – what is it? (13:21 minutes)
- Reducing your exposure to electromagnetic fields (7 minutes)
8 reasons why they should NOT be compulsory!
Waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof before taking action on electromagnetic fields… can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco (Council of Europe, 2011).
How is it possible for a group of seemingly intelligent bureaucrats and environmentalists to spend billions of tax payer dollars in a scheme that will fundamentally:
- Expose your family to harmful radiation - the World Health Organisation has classified this type of radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans (IARC, 2011).
- Endanger species – there is mounting evidence that this type of radiation may adversely affect bees, bats, birds and plants, the impact of which will have a devastating impact on farming communities and ultimately our food source (Warnke, 2008) .
- Violate your privacy – apart from enabling utility companies to control YOUR appliances remotely, the system is much easier to hack in to and sabotage with jamming devices. This was evidenced in 2009, when the contact details of 179,000 Toronto Hydro customers were taken.
- Significantly increase your energy bill - despite reassurances from the utility companies and governments that your bill will decrease, the reality is that consumers have found a significant increase (doubling or even tripling) in their energy bills if they continue using electricity at peak period times.
- Renowned for billing errors – In 2009 a class action lawsuit was filed against the utility company Pacific Gas & Electric for installing thousands of faulty smart meters resulting in skyrocketing energy bills. In 2011, Californian residents filed a lawsuit against General Electric and Landis+Gyr - the manufacturer's of smart meters for incorrect billing errors in 1,600 defective meters (Edwards v. General Electric.Co, 2011). General Electric are the primary manufacturer of smart meters in Australia.
- Cause job losses – good bye meter readers. Automation generally equates to less employees; after all its all about higher dividends for shareholders!
- Increased fire risk– this technology may interfere with appliances as they can be turned on remotely. In New Zealand, 422 fires involved smart meters in 2010 (Clark, 2010). In addition, Victoria's energy regulator has conceded smart meter contractors might lack required skills and is reviewing the qualifications of workers rolling out scheme (Fyfe, 2011).
- Economic viability – the cost of the 'advanced metering infrastructure' required to upgrade high tension lines, meters, substations, central control facilities is in the billions... Consequently, the European Parliament has strongly encouraged member states to study the economic feasibility of smart grids before they implement them.
Radiofrequencies disrupt magnetite in a bee's abdomen which leads to increased swarming typically seen just before bees abandon their nest.
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO PREVENT A SMART METER BEING INSTALLED
The Stop Smart Meter website provides useful and up to date information on the concerns associated with smart meters including what actions to take to stop one being installed. For more information, click here.
RECOMMENDATIONS & TESTING
The smart meter is only one of several devices (wireless router, DECT cordless phones, mobile phones...) that use wireless technology in your home. Here are some tips to reducing your exposure.
Electromagnetic testing should encompass electric and magnetic field exposures derived from the 50Hz frequency as well as radiowaves used in telecommunications. Your consultant should have a nationally (government) accredited qualification to ensure they are competent to conduct electromagnetic field testing. Be wary of consultants who conduct testing that have no formal qualifications and have a conflict of interest to sell thousands of dollars in shielding materials - the majority of which is not justified to address the issues. For details, click here.
Clark, H. (2010). Fire prone meter boxes causing concern. 3 News. (Online). Available: http://www.3news.co.nz/Fire-prone-meter-boxes-causing-concern/tabid/423/articleID/159133/Default.aspx
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. (6 May 2011). The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment Report. Doc. 12608 (Online). Available: http://assembly.coe.int/main.asp?Link=/documents/workingdocs/doc11/edoc12608.htm
Edwards v. General Elec. Co., No. C 10-02431 SI, 2011 WL 479991 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 07, 2011).
Fyfe, M. (2011). Smart meter shock: electrical hazards found in 3500 homes. The Age. (13 February 2011). (Online). Available: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/smart-meter-shock-electrical-hazards-found-in-3500-homes-20110212-1are0.html?from=age_sb
International Agency for Research on Council. (24-31 May 2011). IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, vol 102. Non-ionizing radiation, part II: radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer (in press). Available: http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf
Warnke, U. (2008). Functionality Disorders in Bees, Birds and Humans. EM-Radiation Research Trust EMF & Health – A Global Issue Conference 8th & 9th September 2008, The Royal Society, London. (Online). Available: http://archive.radiationresearch.org/conference/downloads/021500_warnke.pdf