Archive for August, 2013

Dr. Ronald Powell: “Smart Meters are a community concern”

Posted on August 26, 2013 by admin

Dr. Ronald M Powell, PhD in applied physics from Harvard wrote:  Biological Effects from RF Radiation at Low-Intensity Exposure, based on the BioInitiative 2012 Report, and the Implications for Smart Meters and Smart Appliances

This is an important document to read and to bring to policy makers.

Dr. Powell’s Biological Effects Chart was produced from a review of the medical research literature on the biological effects of electromagnetic fields ( He concludes the following five points:

  1.  The current FCC Maximum Permitted Exposure (MPE) limits are so high that they provide no protection for the public from the biological effects found in any of the 67 studies.
  2. New biologically based RF exposure limits proposed in the BioInitiative 2012 Report are 1 million times lower than current FCC limits and would protect against the biological effects found in nearly all of the 67 studies.
  3. A single Smart Meter on a home can produce RF exposure levels that caused the biological effects found in either most or many of the 67 studies, depending on the distance from the Smart Meter.
  4. A single Smart Appliance in the home can produce RF exposure levels that caused the biological effects found in nearly half or fewer of the 67 studies, depending on the distance from the Smart Appliance. Multiple Smart Appliances in a home multiply the total exposure.
  5. A single Smart Meter on a nearest neighbor’s home can produce RF exposure levels that caused the biological effects found in many of the 67 studies. A given home may have one to eight nearest neighbors, each with a Smart Meter, multiplying the total exposure in the given home.

“Smart Meters are a community concern, not just an individual concern.”-Ronald Powell, PhD Applied Physics

Utility to hold off on energy-use tower, monitoring system



WORCESTER — National Grid is tabling its plan to install a specialized tower at a Tory Fort Lane substation.

William Jones of National Grid told the City Council’s Public Service and Transportation Committee Wednesday that based on feedback it received over several meetings with neighborhood residents and city officials, it has decided to explore other options and conduct further signal testing to see if another site for its so-called “WiMax” tower could be located.

The proposal for the new 80-foot-high lattice tower with a 10-foot-high mast extension at the Cooks Pond electric substation at 30 Tory Fort Lane was before the Zoning Board of Appeals, and has drawn strong opposition from residents in the area near Tatnuck Square.

As part of the utility’s Smart Energy Solutions program, formerly referred to as the smart grid program, the network of WiMax towers would collect data transmitted from “smart meters” installed for 15,000 customers so it could be passed along to the utility, and back to customers through Internet and mobile apps.

Mr. Jones said the meters, installed as part of a pilot program, would give the utility more pinpointed information about customer usage, and said it would allow customers to get a better sense of how they use electricity. Some levels of the new service will allow customers to automatically control their thermostat, heating and air conditioning controls.

Several residents and other speakers at Wednesday’s meeting at City Hall said they were concerned with the potential for adverse health effects of the electromagnetic and radio frequencies and radiation generated by the devices, which are typically being installed on the exterior of customers’ homes.

According to National Grid, the relative power density of the smart meters is 10 to 20 times less than a laptop computer, and 5,000 times less than a microwave oven. Mr. Jones said he is not aware of any adverse health effects of the devices.

But Clare Donegan of Quincy said National Grid was not using “apples to apples” comparisons when compiling those statistics. For example, she said the utility uses a measurement for the effect of a microwave oven with someone standing at 2 inches from the oven door. She said she would like to see a more realistic comparison of the effect of someone standing farther away from the appliance.

Other members of the audience questioned the source of National Grid’s research, and others complained about more mundane annoyances like a lack of attention to upkeep around the Cooks Pond substation.

That set off at-large Councilor Rick Rushton, who said he was growing tired of complaints about the utility.

“You are a terrible neighbor to that neighborhood,” Mr. Rushton said.

District 2 Councilor Philip P. Palmieri told National Grid officials that if they can’t do things like regularly mow the lawn at their substations, they will have trouble gaining the trust of residents on larger issues like the smart meter installations and tower locations.

The committee also asked for a report from the city’s Public Health Department on the potential health effects from the smart meters and WiMax towers.

Some residents at the four-hour meeting had problems with the way the program was presented to residents. They said the utility made it the responsibility of customers to opt out of the program, rather than inviting them to opt in.

Mr. Jones said the utility notified customers in writing that they were selected for the program, and gave them instructions on how to opt out. He said workers also notified residents when they come to install the meters; if they are not home, door hangers are left behind.

Residents also noted that the utility plans on seeking approval from the state to charge residents a one-time fee and a monthly fee for opting out of the program.

Mr. Jones said that request was for a separate program. He said there is no charge for customers to opt in or out of the pilot Smart Energy Solutions program.

Mr. Palmieri said a future meeting will be scheduled that will be dedicated to the Smart Energy Solutions program.

Worcester Is Front Line In Battle Over Utilities ‘Smart Meters’

Dean Starkman, GoLocalWorcester News Editor

Maybe Southeast New England is deciding that “smart meters” aren’t such a smart idea after all.

For several years, a cadre of determined activists in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been waging what once seemed to be a quixotic campaign against a program to replace relatively simple and inexpensive residential electric meters with a high-tech version that critics say is a boondoggle for utilities and meter companies that takes yet another bite from ratepayers and, some say, raises health concerns.

On the face of it, the fight is a mismatch par excellence. On one side is a scattered group of homeowners and activists. On the other is a consortium of corporations, led by National Grid, a multinational power giant headquartered in the United Kingdom, and that includes Verizon, Google, Cisco, and government backers from the Obama administration on down.

And ground zero is Worcester, where, with the help of friendly regulators at the Department of Public Utilities and the support of Governor Deval Patrick, National Grid is already halfway through installing 15,000 of the meters in homes in the city.

Rhode Island, meanwhile, has a little-known pilot program of its own—a far more modest one on Aquidneck Island and one approved under a different economic rationale. There are no current plans to expand the meters in Rhode Island, and at least one member of the Public Utilities Commission is determined that the situation stays that way until much more evidence is brought to bear that these meters are worth it and have the support of consumers.

A prominent skeptic

In an interview with GoLocalWorcester, Commissioner Paul J. Roberti says smart meters don’t come close to justifying their costs and represent a misguided attempt to modify the behavior of consumers in ways that don’t conform the real world.


How smart is the choice to go for smart meters? Maybe not so smart.

“You know what? The markets, the structure of pricing is not there,” he says. “These people (meter proponents) want to push all this stuff–I call them behavior-modification specialists––forcing things on consumers that don’t come naturally. You can’t get consumers to fully embrace this unless you give them economic pain, which I won’t do.”


Utilities have already installed about 18 million smart meters across U.S., while $3.4 billion in economic-stimulus money is supporting the installation of 40 million more smart meters in 40 states, according to an in-depth look at the technology by Consumer Reports. By 2015, an estimated 65 million smart meters will have been installed.

Promise of savings

A central promise of smart meters is that the massive amount of information they generate could be used to get consumers to lower their power during peak periods–either through coercion via higher rates at peak hours or through rebates. The hope is that the new technology would lower overall usage and costs.

Trouble is, it hasn’t worked out that way as pilot programs around the country have failed to show that the meters actually live up to their main promise: actually reducing overall energy consumption. In a stinging letter to the state Department of Public Utilities Commission, for instance, a lawyer from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office pointed to large-scale tests in Illinois and elsewhere in which the meters failed to justify their costs.

“Despite these clear trends, [National Grid] proposes to launch a massive pilot at great ratepayer expense to test already tested hypotheses,” Coakley’s office wrote.

The industry-friendly DPU last year brushed aside such concerns, and, in a 103-page order, approved Worcester’s program.

Jillian Fennimore, spokeswoman for Coakley’s office, says, “We are currently monitoring the smart grid pilot program” and will review the results of the final report that results.

DPU referred questions about the Worcester program to National Grid.

“Best interest of customers”

In an email, National Grid didn’t respond to Coakely’s specific assertions, but said: “We followed a defined process with the DPU that the AG was part of. The DPU ruled and now we are executing the pilot that we believe to be in the best interest of customers and will help in defining the future grid that will serve customers for generations to come.”

The spokeswoman said the meters are “designed to provide participating customers a new level of choice and control over their energy use through advanced technology, with the goals of empowering customers to save energy, increasing electric service reliability and improving response to power outages.”

Worcester, the “lab rat”

The Worcester pilot is being closely watched as–yet another–test of whether the economic benefits of the meters come anywhere near offsetting the costs: $45 million just for the pilot. The stakes are high: it would cost an estimated $7 billion if the entire state were to switch to smart meters–the amount coming at the expense of ratepayers who will see the cost added to their monthly bills. Nationally, the grand total is pegged at more than a quarter trillion dollars. The rate increases come on top of federal taxpayer subsidies from stimulus.

“Worcester is the lab rat,” Patricia Burke, a leader of smart meter opponents, said recently on a local cable show. “They’re looking to see how low-income, middle income and upper-income groups respond to different price points and technology.”

“But we’re not monitoring health,” she says. “This is the big issue.”

The city is also being watched to see whether community opposition can have any effect — at all — in slowing a program that once seemed destined quietly to sweep the country. The immediate venue is a September 9 hearing before the city Zoning Board of Appeals on a controversial 80-foot cellphone tower in the city needed to support the wireless signals from meters installed in or outside residences to National Grid data centers. The hearing has been postponed several times but zoning laws general favor the towers. The longer-term, and perhaps more promising, fight is for public opinion: trying to convince ratepayers to “opt-out” of the program.

Many concerns

John Dick, a 59-year-old carpenter in Worcester, says the issue has generated high interested among neighbors who have come together to oppose the meters for a variety of reasons. Some are concerned about privacy (the meters will generate a substantial amount of information about customers’ power usage); some are worried about possible health effects of radio emissions; some about cost; and a vocal contingent raises NIMBY-esque aesthetic objections to the towers.

“For a lot of people, it’s about the towers,” Dick says. “For me, it’s the whole thing. The people in the neighborhood are very much up in arms, from all sides of the political spectrum. It’s not a ‘right’ issue. It’s not a ‘left’ issue. It’s not crazies. It’s very moderate, very conservative people.”

Activists see more residents gravitating to their point of view.

“We feel the tide turning, and it’s a beautiful thing,“ says Clare Donegan, a 52-year-old mother of three grown children who lives in Quincy and who has helped organize opposition in Worcester and across the state.

Indeed, some political figures have opposed the meters or tried to moderate the terms of their installation. Connecticut’s attorney general, George Jepsen, came out strongly against a plan by that state’s utilities two years ago to roll out smart meters statewide, saying an earlier pilot “showed no beneficial impact on total energy usage.” Partly as a result, the state’s energy regulators shelved the plan. Meanwhile, Maine and Vermont joined six other states around the country to pass laws making it easier for consumers to opt out of smart meter programs and keep old meters. A similar bill, proposed by Rep. Thomas Conroy, D-Wayland, is pending in Massachusetts.

But while opponents may be gaining some traction, given the corporate power arrayed in meters’ favor, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to stop smart meters in the long run. Consumer Reports, for one, says that given the corporate forces arrayed in favor of the program, national smart-meter implementation is “all but a given.”

Health worries

Rhode Island, meanwhile, watches warily.

Mary Adkins, 52, an activist in Wakefield, has been primary concerned about what she describes as the health hazards posed by radio emissions of smart meters, which she believes in some respects are worse than similar emissions from such devices as cell phones and Wi-Fi.

“This is all about profit,” she says. “This is all about the economy. This about wireless companies making billions, hundreds of billions, while our health is jeopardized. And that’s not acceptable.”

Roberti says such health concerns among consumers should be taken into account in deciding whether to adopt a program of such scope. And in any case, he says, states should tread warily if even simple cost/benefit issues haven’t been resolved in the meters’ favor.

“If these things are going to happen, they should happen on their own,” he says. “We shouldn’t go around and frontload all these costs. There’s just not enough of a natural market mechanism to do this. I don’t like when regulators are trying to force things.”

Related Articles

New bill aims to make ‘smart’ meters mandatory for entire nation
Thursday, August 01, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: smart meters, national mandate, surveillance

(NaturalNews) There is a sinister agenda underway to forcibly convert every standard electric meter in the U.S. to the “smart” variety under the guise of promoting renewable energy interests. And one of the latest pieces of Trojan horse legislation pushing for this ominous transformation is the Smart Grid Advancement Act of 2013, introduced by Representative Jerry McNerney (D-Cal.) and co-authored by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.), which would force utilities all across the country to convert their customers to smart meters.

The new bill, as stated in a recent press release posted on Rep. McNerney’s website, would require virtually all energy utility companies nationwide to implement so-called “smart grid technologies,” which in turn would require the installation of smart meters on customers’ homes and businesses. Smart meters, as you may already be aware, contain wireless communication components that are not only a serious threat to human health, but also a monumental detriment to personal privacy.

But crafty politicians like Rep. McNerney and Rep. Cartwright are couching the technology as a viable way to help save people money by lowering their electricity bills. This explanation, of course, is meant to divert attention away from the not-so-enticing fact that the technology is really nothing more than a massive, interconnected government spying and control apparatus.

“[The bill] would apparently require all electricity providers, including rural cooperatives and municipal utilities, to join the ‘smart’ grid and install ‘smart’ meters,” explains the energy freedom advocacy group

What else does this inauspicious bill aim to accomplish? According to a summary of the bill, posted as H.R. 2685 at — you need to read between the lines to really understand what is being stated in this summary — certified Energy Star appliances and other energy-saving products will be required to contain wireless technologies capable of communicating with both energy providers and potentially even the government.

“[T]he bill would require appliances with the Energy Star label to include wireless transmitters that cannot be turned off, in order to communicate (and presumably cough up your private data and respond to orders from Big Brother Smart Grid to switch you off at a moment’s notice, as happened to dozens of people in Northern California recently when their not-so-smart-AC program cut off their air conditioning at the height of the recent heat wave,” adds

The bill would also establish a ‘smart grid information center’ that would presumably create pro-smart-grid propaganda at the taxpayer’s expense.”

Smart meters exposed as part of NSA ‘PRISM’ spying scam
Even worse is the fact that Landis Gyr, a major smart meter manufacturer that describes itself as a “world leader” in smart grid technology, let the cat out of the bag that the National Security Agency (NSA), which we now know actively spies on innocent Americans’ phone calls and text messages, also uses smart meters to spy on Americans.

Thanks to a NaturalNews reader tip, we learned that Landis Gyr recently had a company voicemail message that admitted smart meter technology is part of the NSA’s “PRISM” spying and surveillance program. Since gaining national attention about this admission, Landis Gyr has apparently altered its company voicemail message to omit this indicting information.

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Posted: August 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

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