For several months now Victorians have been compelled to join up to the Smartmeter grid. A long time PWF reader, Kate Everke, has contacted us saying:
“Most people I have spoken with are against the roll out. We have conducted Petitions to Parliament and contacted various MPs in our bid to get the powers that be to listen to their constituents. The problem with the grid is that it is going to cost consumers far more than the present system and down the track there are big privacy issues, and most importantly, there are big health problems with an increasingly man-made microwave polluted environment which shows no sign of abating.”
Kate and her colleagues believe the community needs more information and want to counteract the spin they believe is being put about by energy companies.
The US Energy Bulletin maintains that a lot of intelligent environmentalists just have not done their homework. Their clarification is as follows:
“The problem: smart metering will turn every single appliance into the equivalent of a transmitting cell phone, and this at a time when public concern about the safety of exposure to the radiofrequency radiation (RF) of wireless technologies is on the rise. Heads up: that’s every dishwasher, microwave oven, stove, washing machine, clothes dryer, air conditioner, furnace, refrigerator, freezer, coffee maker, TV, computer, printer, and fax machine..
Meanwhile, people who don’t want to use such appliances won’t be able to deactivate the wireless component without disabling it and voiding warranties. Citing ‘electricity theft’, it could also be illegal to do so.
Yet, not one safety concern regarding the cumulative effects of 24/7 exposure to RF radiation seems to have occurred to the backers of Smart Grids. And this is despite the fact that all appliances will transmit wireless data with peak power bursts far above current safety standards – at frequencies between 917 MHz and 3.65 GHz in the ultra-high frequency/microwave ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum, several times a minute.
And that’s just the indoor part. All transmitters inside your home or office will communicate with a Smart Meter attached to the outside of each building. That meter, in turn, will transmit at an even higher frequency to a central hub installed in local neighborhoods. In what are called ‘mesh networks’, signals can also be bounced from house-meter to house-meter before reaching the final hub. So exposures will not just be from your own meter, but accumulating from possibly 100-to-500 of your neighbors’ as well..
In addition, the meters and the antennas will act as transceivers, allowing both you via mobile phone or computer – and take note: your utility company – to remotely control your appliances… one such system in the Midwest already allows the utility to cycle furnaces and air conditioners on and off every 15 minutes, with the stated purpose to reduce peak-loads on electric grids.
The States in the US are weighing up whether or not to go with Smartmeters:
“Proponents say the smart meters could alert utilities of outages, like the massive loss of electricity in Connecticut during the recent October snowstorm. And, they say it can help consumers take advantage of time-of-use rates and new ‘smart appliances’ programmed to run when electric rates are lower, so they can better manage their power usage. And by shaving electricity demand during peak times, they say, utilities and consumers would ultimately see savings because of the reduced need for generating additional power, especially on steamy hot days.
“If you want to dry a pair of blue jeans at 5 o’clock on a summer night … you should pay more for it. It shouldn’t cost the same as doing it at four in the morning,” said Jonathan Schrag, Connecticut’s new deputy commissioner for energy. “And doing it at four in the morning should be basically free because there’s plenty of electricity getting kicked out of power plants in the middle of the night.”
The Dutch consumer association, Consumentenbond, has long opposed a mandatory rollout of smart meters, maintaining it is not obvious that smart meters would lead to energy saving by consumers. Consumentenbond commissioned a report last November that states:
“the introduction of smart meters would constitute a violation of the consumers’ right to privacy and the freedom to do as they please within their homes, and consequently would be in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights. The frequent meter reads would give information about the habits and living patterns of consumers, such as when they enter or leave the house. There was also a risk of such information falling into the hands of a third party.
One year later, the Netherlands Government has backed down and now joining the Smartmeter grid will be voluntary.
There will be a Public Forum about Smartmeters in Pakenham in Melbourne’s outer east with expert Speakers and personal accounts of the effects of the Smartmeters.
Date Wednesday, 30th November
Where Uniting Church Hall, James Street, Pakenham (MEL 317 D8) Parking available in street and adjoining carpark.
Cost Gold coin donation to cover Hall costs.
Kate suggests people check the following websites:
The new digital world – and ‘hastening slowly’?