30 mars 2011
Dossier des compteurs 'intelligents' - Une nouvelle menace environnementale
(Copie dune lettre adressée à André Bélisle, Président de lAQLPA)
Je voudrais soumettre à ton attention cet article ci-dessous sur les compteurs "intelligents" (smart meters) qu'Hydro-Québec entend semble-t-il installer partout au Québec en remplacement de nos bons vieux compteurs analogues. Dans cet article on y dénonce l'appui irresponsable des groupes écologiques américains à l'égard de cette nouvelle technologie que l'on cherche à faire accepter sous le couvert d'une prétendue aptitude à améliorer l'efficacité énergétique en donnant aux fournisseurs d'électricité la capacité de contrôler à distance - d'ici quelques années - le fonctionnement de différents appareils ménagers énergivores dans les résidences. On affirme également qu'en ayant une meilleure connaissance de sa consommation électrique, l'usager sera espère-t-on en mesure de choisr à quel moment il est le plus avantageux (sur le plan tarifaire) pour lui de faire fonctionner des appareils électriques énergivores. Ce que ces compteurs électroniques dotés chacun d'un puissant émetteur WiFi signifient surtout pour Hydro-Québec, c'est la possibilité à terme de ne plus avoir à envoyer un employé relever le compteur de chacun de ses clients, alors qu'ils signifient pour tous les Québécois-es le risque d'avoir en permanence une sale migraine (au sens réel et au sens figuré) et une sérieuse dégradation de leur qualité de vie (troubles du sommeil, impuissance, problèmes cardiaques et toute une floppée d'autres maux directement causés par ces émetteurs Wifi fonctionnant 24 heures sur 24, les pires cas étant ceux des personnes dont le lit se trouve adossé au mur sur lequel le (ou les) compteur(s) est (sont) installé(s) à l'extérieur UN VÉRITABLE ENFER!
J'espère que la lecture de cet article te permettra de mieux comprendre si ce n'est déjà le cas, ce qui ne m'étonnerait pas ! en quoi cette décision que vraisemblablement Hydro-Québec s'apprête à prendre serait préjudiciable à la population.
Dans cet article, la principale critique adressée aux environnementalistes est la suivante :
"Ironically, environmentalists are also pushing for Smart Grids without studying the environmental/health impacts or even calculating if such systems will save energy."
En outre, on y signale une donnée technique qui est de nature à décourager fortement la production autonome d'électricité, notamment au moyen de l'énergie solaire...
"But the biggest enviro-irony is that most Smart Meter models dont run backwards; if you install solar panels or other renewable-energy sources and want to sell energy back to the grid, without very expensive additional equipment the new metering makes that impossible."
Alors que la tendance dans plusieurs pays européens est de réglementer pour limiter l'électrosmog responsable d'une épidémie croissante d'électrohypersensibilité dans la population exposée comme en Suède où le gouvernement reconnaît officiellement que des niveaux trop élevés de radiations électromagnétiques constituent une contamination engendrant des allergies environnementales...
"Sweden has declared some beaches and public buildings RF-free areas where cell phones and wireless computers cannot be used so that people with electromagnetic hypersensitivity -- a form of environmental allergy that Sweden classifies as a functional disability -- can take a breather from contamination."
... ici en Amérique du Nord, l'industrie de la téléphonie cellulaire a la plupart des politiciens et les autorités réglementaires dans sa poche et peut faire pratiquement tout ce qu'elle désire -- comme installer des tours de retransmission pour les téléphones cellulaires sans devoir légalement obtenir l'approbation des autorités municipales ou des citoyens résidant à proximité de ces antennes, en se contentant de dédommager uniquement le propriétaire d'un terrain où une antenne est érigée... et elle possède même le pouvoir légal d'exproprier un terrain convoité contre le gré du propriétaire et de l'ensemble de la communauté dont la santé sera sérieusement affectée par les radiations des multiples antennes installées sur chaque tour... ce qui ressemble beaucoup à la situation de laisser-faire prévalant dans l'industrie du gaz de schiste !
L'article se conclut ainsi :
"But, in this current stampede toward everything green, many environmentalists are flunking the I.Q. test. We all need to smarten up."
De fait, je considère que la pollution électromagnétique déjà considérable que subissent les populations et la faune - sans compter les méfaits de l'électricité sale dont tu dois sans doute être au courant - est devenue une menace à la santé des gens, et tout particulière des personnes électrosensibles, un phénomène allergique qui ne peut que s'empirer et se généraliser vu l'explosion exponentielle de sources de pollution électromagnétique, tant dans l'environnement urbain que rural. Ce puissant électrosmog a également été lié par certains scientifiques à de nombreux problèmes affectant la faune et les insectes (surtout les oiseaux et les abeilles), ce qui s'ajoute à la disparition des habitats et à toutes les autres formes de pollution d'origine humaine que subit la faune.
En conclusion, permets-moi André de te suggérer de faire de cette menace environnementale un nouveau dossier prioritaire de l'AQLPA (en collaboration avec le Collectif S.E.M.O. de François Therrien avec qui tu es déjà en contact je crois)puisque c'est définitement par la voie des airs que cette pollution nous bombarde 24 heurs sur 24, 365 jours par année... Je me permets de rêver du jour où une large coalition de groupes environnementaux se prononcera publiquement d'une seule voix contre les normes trop élevées (le fameux code de 'sécurité' 6!) instituées il y a plusieurs décennies par Industrie Canada en matière de niveau d'émission de micro-ondes, à une époque où l'on ne connaissait pratiquement rien des effets non-thermaux nocifs aujourd'hui bien documentés consécutifs à cette irradiation électromagnétique constante et en constante augmentation.
Je te souhaite un beau printemps et plein de bonnes vibes ;-)
PS Je te recommande également de lire l'article du Devoir du 1er février dernier Les villes se mobilisent contre l'invasion des antennes (suite ICI) où l'on peut constater les excès de l'industrie du cellulaire dont l'arrogance n'a d'égale que la cupidité. Pour en savoir plus sur les projets d'Hydro-Québec relativement aux compteurs 'intelligents' voir http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xdbvca_compteur-hydro-quebec-micro-ondes-d_news -- Compteurs intelligents: Invasion de domicile? (5 mars 2011) Excellent article! -- Voir cette image (tirée de http://stopsmartmeters.org/) qui en dit long sur les puissantes émissions de ces compteurs "intelligents"... Hydro-Québec semble avoir déjà fait son lit quant au choix de technologie... Voir cet APPEL DE CANDIDATURES - Préqualification pour l'installation des compteurs intelligents récemment émis. -- Compteur Hydro Québec - micro-ondes - Four - Danger -- L'intolérance électromagnétique élucidée (5 mars 2011) -- Voir aussi http://www.dangersemo.com/semo_020.htm -- Micro-ondes émis par des routeurs internet -- Are EMFs Wreaking Havoc on Your Health? -- WHAT IS ELECTROHYPERSENSITIVITY -- LIVING WITH ELECTROHYPERSENSITIVITY: A Survival Guide
En vertu du 1er article de la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne du Québec -- « Tout être humain a droit à la vie, ainsi qu'à la sûreté, à l'intégrité et à la liberté de sa personne. » -- on pourrait défendre l'idée que le fait d'être exposé contre son gré 24 heures sur 24 à des émissions WiFi potentiellement néfastes pour la santé est une atteinte à notre droit à la sûreté et à l'intégrité...
Si les responsables d'Hydro-Québec tiennent tant à installer ces compteurs, ils pourraient au moins placer en arrière des compteurs, lors de leur pose, un écran empêchant les ondes de pénétrer dans la résidence - un simple papier d'aluminium suffit paraît-il - et faire en sorte qu'ils ne fonctionnent que quelques instants par jour, ou le moins souvent possible...
J'ai inclus en Bcc plusieurs personnes et groupes environnementaux que ce dossier devrait intéresser.
Ce qui suit est inclut dans ma prochaine compilation anglaise qui sera archivée d'ici deux jours au http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2011/WritingWall67.htm
Cette lettre est archivée au http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2011/NouvelleMenace.htm
Note from Jean: I urge you to take 15 minutes to read this whole article - although non US subscribers will probably want to jump over the few paragraphs that deal solely with the situation in the US - so as to better understand the revolting electromagnetic assault on our health that so-called 'smart' meters represent. This matter is grave enough to elicit a massive public revolt, just like what happened in California where public pressures have finally forced Pacific Gas & Electric to accept to offer to its health-concerned customers to simply have the internal wireless radio function of the already installed 'smart' meters turned off and their meter manually read once a month (with an extra charge!) just as for the traditional meters - a proposal which prompted this virulent rebuke by those opposed to this abject scheme. IMHO it would have been smarter to not remove the original analog meters in the first place for those who are informed enough to understand just how terminally dumb and dangerous having a 'smart' meter is...
The Problems With Smart Grids: Dumb and Dangerous
by B. Blake Levitt and Chellis Glendinning
22 March 2011
Culture Change note: As if you werent getting enough radiation: now comes really bad news in the form of smart grids. GE -- the designer of Fukushima nukes and 23 nukes in the U.S. like Fukushima's -- is the largest manufacturer of Smart Meters in the world. The con job continues. The System is out to get us. - JL
How is it that so many intelligent, inside-the-beltway environmentalists are buying into an eco-health-safety-finance debacle with the potential to increase energy consumption, endanger the environment, harm public health, diminish privacy, make the national utility grid more insecure, cause job losses, and make energy markets more speculative?
Answer: by not doing their homework.
Welcome to the Smart Grid -- a government-funded money machine capable of intruding into every aspect of our lives. Smart Grid technologies -- initially funded to the tune of $3.4 billion through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and slated to cost $11 billion through 2011 -- are enough to make even die-hard liberals demand a claw back of misspent tax dollars.
On the surface, Smart Grids sound green -- with promises of saving energy, creating new power-line corridors run on wind and solar, way-stations to power-up electric vehicles, energy-efficient upgrades to an aging power infrastructure, and real-time customer knowledge of electricity use.
And theres the enticing communications factor: a nationwide high-speed broadband information technology barreling down high-tension electric corridors called Broadband-Over-Power-Lines (BPL). What could be more perfect for communicating facts about the planet, funding enviro-candidates, pushing legislation, and organizing Earth Days?
But few who actually study how these new systems function want anything to do with them. Other than those who stand to make enormous profits and the physicists or engineers who dream up such stuff, Smart Grids are giving knowledgeable people the willies.
What Is a Smart Grid?
These days the word smart is attached to anything even marginally digital -- and indeed its an effective marketing tool because who wants anything dumb?
But is the Smart Grid really smart?
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: thats every dishwasher, microwave oven, stove, washing machine, clothes dryer, air conditioner, furnace, refrigerator, freezer, coffee maker, TV, computer, printer, and fax machine.
The average U.S. home has over 15 such appliances, each of which would be equipped with a transmitting antenna. While older models can be retrofitted, General Electric (GE) and other appliance manufacturers are already putting transmitters into their latest designs, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is already giving out tax credits.
Meanwhile, people who dont 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 thats 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.
Thats a hefty barrage of radiation.
Some gas, water, and electric utilities are now using such smart networks, each with its own metering system and separate exposures -- creating a multi-frequency wall of radiation that, in the history of living creatures, is unheard of.
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. According to Jenny Anderson and Julie Creswell writing in the New York Times, 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.
On closer scrutiny, Smart Grids look like another Build-It-Now-Deal-With-The-Consequences-Later fiasco. At a time when health concerns about the safety of cell phones, antennas, and Wi-Fi hotspots are mounting around the globe, Smart Grids will require literally billions of new transmitters, each pumping electrosmog into the environment -- for which there will be no mitigation, no conscientious objection, and no escape.
We Already Know a Lot about RF and the Environment
Living creatures are fantastically sensitive to low-level, non-ionizing radiation that includes everything from visible light to the earths natural electromagnetic fields.
Birds, butterflies, fish, marine mammals, bees, and other insects are particularly sensitive to the earths natural electromagnetic background, using it to guide their migrations, sense of direction, circadian rhythms, food-finding, and reproductive activities. Soil bacteria are also tuned to the natural currents of the planet.
But human-made radiation creates different exposures -- with unusual signaling characteristics like digital pulsing, phased array and saw-tooth waveforms, and at much higher power intensities than anything found in nature. RF is actually a form of energetic air pollution -- and if air were legally considered habitat like water and land, RF might be regulated differently.
Studies show that myriad wildlife abandons terrain when cell towers are installed. Cows have increased cancers, lower milk production, agitation [see Electromagnetic Fields], immune system disorders, more mastitis, miscarriages, and birth defects in offspring near cell towers. Birds with nests near antennas display lower reproductive rates, and chicks are born with birth defects. In simulations of whole colony collapse disorder, bees have disappeared entirely when transmitting cell phones were placed next to their hives. It is thought that RF interferes with their navigational abilities by coupling with a natural magnetic material called magnetite in bee abdomens.
Meanwhile, hundreds of studies done with laboratory animals found numerous cancers, immune disorders, and increased mortality from chronic, low-level exposures. This body of work should make us ponder the accuracy of the data -- and humaneness -- when biologists attach RF transmitters to elk, marine mammals, big cats, and other species to study them.
Trees also endure die-back near towers. Whole forests near broadcast antennas in Europe have suffered. Military-weapons designers have long used treetops with high moisture content as waveguides for missiles.
Some of this work goes back six decades in bioelectromagnetics and biophysics journals -- and is available for any curious environmentalist to see.
and We Know about RF and Humans
Research on RF and human health dates to the 1940s when World War IIs radar revealed infertility and cataracts in military personnel.
David O. Carpenter, MD, MPH, is the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York at Albany, School of Public Health. Along with EMF/RF consultant Cindy Sage in California, he co-edited the 2007 BioInitiative Report, which calls for significantly more stringent RF exposure standards than now exist.
Environmentalists may know Dr. Carpenter, who blew the whistle on PCB contamination in farm-raised salmon. He is also an expert on the biological effects of electromagnetic fields. To him, the decade-long, 13-country World Health Organizations 2010 Interphone Study confirms what previous reports and many experts have been saying all along: RF exposures at current levels are already unsafe.
According to Interphone, talking on a cell phone for 1,640 hours over a 10-year period -- the equivalent of 30 minutes a day -- increases an adults risk of malignant glioma brain cancer by 40%.
While this [Interphone] study is not perfect, Dr. Carpenter said, it should serve as a warning to governments that the deployment of new wireless technologies may bring risks to the public that are widespread, involuntary, and increase long-term health care costs.
His assessment ipso facto includes Smart Grids.
Over 70 studies have found effects at frequencies with very low-power intensity, many with implications for human health. Fifteen studies report effects among people living 50-to-1500 feet from a cell tower -- including cancers, immune system effects, fertility problems, heart arrhythmias, miscarriages, sleeplessness, dizziness, concentration difficulties, memory loss, headaches, skin rashes, lowered libido, fatigue, and malaise.
And many of these symptoms mirror what some people are reporting within days of Smart Meters installed at their homes.
In addition, several studies report increases in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, which protects brain tissue from bacteria, viruses, and toxins. One study found increases in stress markers in human saliva near cell towers. Also reported are calcium ion changes in cells -- with implications for the ability to metabolize. Other studies link exposures to Alzheimers, Lou Gehrig Disease, and Parkinsons.
In fact, every system of the body appears to be sensitive to low-level electromagnetic fields -- and why not? Living cells are electromagnetic systems.
Research by Magda Havas, Ph.D., of Trent University in Canada, and U.S. epidemiologist Samuel Milham, M.D., links something called dirty electricity with diabetes, malignant melanoma, and cancers of the breast, thyroid, uterus and lung. Dirty electricity is an industry term that describes a multi-frequency exposure when higher frequencies like RF couple with the lower frequencies running along power lines. BPL (Broadband-Over-Power-Lines) is 100% dirty electricity -- thats how it functions -- and people barraged by it can now measure RF radiation emanating from their light sockets.
Of special concern are people with implanted medical devices like deep-brain stimulators for Parkinsons, some pacemakers, insulin pumps, and in-home hospital equipment. The radiofrequency interference (RFI) inherent to Smart Grids can cause such equipment to go haywire, or even to stop. And RFI from ambient exposures has caused wheelchairs to go off peers or into traffic; automatic ignition switches in cars refuse to start until cars are towed to RF-free blocks; and surgical beds have jumped during operations.
RFI is also suspected in sudden acceleration of automobiles.
Low I.Q. for Smart Grids and Government
Think of the static on your radio. Now imagine Smart Grids multiple frequencies overlapping with animate objects like your brain. The UHF used in Smart Grids couples best with brain tissue.
Several federal agencies actually do have a stake in RF safety, but the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) standards are the only ones in effect in the U.S. A major problem is that the FCC regulates only short-term, acute, high-intensity, thermal effects in humans, while no criteria exist to protect wildlife.
And theres more. FCC standards only regulate for whole-body exposure, not for specific organs -- like brain tissue which absorbs energy differently. Plus, FCC allowances are averaged over 30 minutes. With Smart Grids such time-averaging makes the peak pulses that blast for a fraction of a second when first activated vanish on paper.
These are holes through which the Queen Mary could sail.
According to Richard Tell, an electrical engineer formerly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -- in a 2008 report on Smart Grids for Hydro One Networks, Inc./Toronto -- antennas on appliances may transmit at a density of .18watts, each at ballpark 4.5 seconds per hour. But external meters on houses transmit at around 1 watt at less than 2 minutes per hour.
Such figures may sound low -- until the use of many appliances at the same time and exposures from the neighbors meters is lumped in. Nowhere in utility estimates are such peak pulses factored -- which, Tell has said, can be 20 times higher or more.
Still, he notes, the radiation from Smart Meters is 15,000 times lower than what FCC standards allow.
Too, the industry claims that meters transmit every four hours -- but engineers like Stephen Scott of EMF Services/California measure spikes every few seconds, especially from banks of meters attached to housing and office complexes, while others have measured firing between 9-and-15 times a minute.
Utilities dont release numbers for peak pulses, but one estimate by Southern California Edison -- since voided for P.R. reasons -- puts peak pulses at 229,000 microwatts per square centimeter at eight inches from the transmitter. That means if you sleep next to a wall with a smart appliance on the other side, strong UHF signals could be spiking several times a minute all night long -- right into your brain.
Compare that to cell phones that emit approximately 250-to-300 microwatts per square centimeter when placed directly against the head.
Vampires and Cyber Attackers Make the Honor Roll
For decades, knowledgeable environmentalists have advised people with remote-control appliances to unplug them because of vampire energy. Plugged-in remotes are never completely OFF; otherwise they wouldnt be able to receive the signal to turn back ON.
So what will happen to our aggregate energy use when all appliances become smart vampires? No proponents thought to ask that question.
Though supposedly secure, Smart Grids can be penetrated by both wired and wireless networks. In August of 2009, hackers robbed 179,000 Toronto Hydro customers names, addresses, and billing information from their e-billing accounts. Security consultant Mike Davis of IOActive, Inc/Seattle has shown how easy it is to install computer worms that can take over the whole grid, and such worms can be programmed to alter billing information, gather information on electricity use for sale to third parties, or shut down hundreds of thousands of households.
Ross Anderson and Shailendra Fuloria at Cambridge Universitys Computer Laboratory note that hostile government agencies or terrorist organizations could bring whole countries to their knees by interrupting electrical generation. More so than traditional grids, they stress that Smart Grids create a new strategic vulnerability as the cyber equivalent of a nuclear attack. Smart Grids are also easy to sabotage with simple jamming devices.
And if the problems arent human-created, nature could step in. The suns normal 11-year sunspot cycle -- ramping up right now, promising to pump sporadic blasts of electromagnetic energy toward earth -- could wreak chaos upon Smart Grids.
Dumb: Privacy Gone, Liability Shifted, Billing Errors Galore
Privacy is an issue as well. When the utility company records home energy use in real time -- with data held at a central hub, potentially accessible from a hackers laptop - the knowledge that you are not home becomes available.
Plus, do you really want the utilities remotely controlling your appliances?
And what about liability? Although grid engineers claim the systems are encrypted, encryption often fails. Imagine the utility -- or even a passing cell-phone user -- inadvertently turning on your oven when youre on vacation. Or shutting off the furnace on a subzero night. For insurance purposes, who is liable? What about civil rights violations? Or the legal ramifications of a utility partnering with the police?
In the purest sense, Smart Grids offer new opportunities for electronic trespass.
Then there are the billing errors. Some customers in California have seen their bills triple -- from $200/month to $600 -- when Smart Meters were installed. After a class action suit was filed against Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), that utility admitted that 23,000 of their Smart Meters might be defective, though they denied they were responsible for the billing errors.
Dumb is as Dumb Does
Smart systems can wreak havoc with electronics too. People are complaining of ceiling fans turning on in the middle of the night, speeds spontaneously changing, paddles reversing direction, and circuit boards burning up. A few meters have exploded. Others have fried electronics. Fires have started. In New Zealand firefighters report 422 fires in 2010 involved with Smart Meters.
Oddly, given such dire safety issues, neither U.S. utilities nor their experts seem capable of answering simple questions. At a public forum in Sebastopol in 2010, PG&E pulled its speakers when they didnt get the format they wanted -- all questions in writing and in advance. Then, at a subsequent gathering, PG&E sent two experts -- Michael Herz and Leeka Kheifets -- neither of whom knew how often meters send or repeat RF signals, called the duty cycle. The two could not answer what the exposure would be for an apartment complex with banks of multiple meters, nor answer technical questions about peak-signal strength. And they didn't know the make or model of the meters so that people in the audience could look up the information.
One Sebastopol activist, Sandi Maurer, said in frustration: How can we trust a company to deploy such a massive RF installation on every home, if they cant even answer basic safety questions?
But not all utilities are rushing forward. In 2010 Dominion Virginia Power delayed a $600-million program because Virginias State Corporation Commission questioned its economic wisdom, noting that the savings to ratepayers would be less than the rate increases needed to pay for the build-out. Hydro One/Canada came to the same conclusion in 2007, and last year lawmakers in the Netherlands struck down a bill that would have made Smart Meters mandatory. The U.K. is reconsidering a smart metering system as well, and in 2009 the European Parliament ordered member states to study the economic feasibility of Smart Grids.
Electricity = Big Bucks
All the while private, largely unregulated hedge funds have been entering energy markets, betting on the potential financial bonanza. Its the big players who stand to profit, of course -- with your tax dollars going to the likes of GE, IBM, Siemens, Intel, Texas Instruments, AT&T, Verizon, Motorola, and other behemoths.
GE is the largest manufacturer of Smart Meters in the world. It has signed contracts with CenterPoint Energy and Grid Net to deploy WiMax-enabled radios for use in Smart Meters. WiMax is the fourth generation network that was earmarked by the FCC and the Obama administration to bring wireless Internet to rural areas -- so clearly the technologies are moveable pieces, depending on who owns the chessboard.
But its the taxpayer-customer who gets the double whammy: underwriting the infrastructure via tax dollars; enduring rate hikes and medical bills -- and then theres the burden of having to buy new appliances.
Plus, for citizens, real-time metering reveals when you wake up, go to work, make dinner, do the laundry, use the computer, go on vacation. While proponents see real-time knowledge in the hands of consumers as a form of empowerment, they ignore the gorilla-in-the-room: tiered pricing. Today, many utilities set flat, state-regulated rates for kilowatt hours, but tiered pricing will change that.
Critics say that tiered pricing penalizes the elderly, self-employed, unemployed, homemakers, and those with small children -- all of whom use more energy during the day. But a darker possibility exists: a utility could create special billing tiers just for you. In other words, if you work the evening shift and cook dinner at midnight, your rate could be highest when everyone elses is lowest.
Then theres mandatory shut-offs for people who dont pay their utility bills -- after which the unfortunate customer will have to buy a prepaid wireless-enacted electric meter like a prepaid phone card. Fantasy? Such a system was enacted in South Africa in the 1990s.
Before the Obama administration even took office, their pre-transition coordinator for climate and energy policy, Carol Browner, met with IBM CEO Sam Palmisano.
Browner was the director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Clinton and is now Obamas coordinator for climate and energy policy, while IBM has worked with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation think-tank in DC to develop three focus areas: increased broadband access, digitized medical records, and Smart Grids.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Palmisano told Browner that a $10 billion investment was needed to jumpstart Smart Grids. Palmisano also claimed that Smart Grids would create 239,000 new jobs -- with half of those resulting from start-up businesses. But his promise was not computed against the jobs lost, such as hundreds of thousands of unemployed meter readers. Nor did he consider the fact that new information technologies are typically seen as a way to consolidate through fewer employees.
Other former Clinton Administration officials on board for Smart Grids include Al Gore -- because of supposed lower carbon emissions -- and Reed Hundt, chairman of the FCC in the 1990s when that agency championed massive auctions of the public airwaves for cell-phone technology.
Hundt went on to become co-founder of Frontline Wireless and Sigma Networks. Sitting on several corporate communications company boards, including Intel and China Telecom, he is also co-chairman of the Coalition for the Green Bank, a capital-raising nonprofit that is lobbying Congress for more Smart Grid money -- through environment committees in Congress.
The Food and Drug Administration and FCC have a stake in Smart Grids, as do the EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). But neither EPA nor FWS has the funding or manpower to address the RF effects of Smart Grids or consider the effects of a new infusion of radiation into the environment.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has oversight over FWS. Salazar was a U.S. Senator (D-CO, 2005-to-2009) before he left to join Obama. He was also Colorados Attorney General from 1999 to 2005 and gets low grades from environmentalists as one of a handful of Democrats to vote against setting limits on offshore drilling and global warming.
And he is no stranger to RF politics. A go-around on RFs health and environmental effects raged from 2000 to 2006 in Colorado. At issue was a high-definition TV tower to be erected on Lookout Mountain near Denver, overlooking a community already burdened by one of the countrys largest antenna farms. After rancorous public hearings, the county board voted against the new tower. But Salazar attached a midnight rider to another bill right before Christmas recess pre-empting local decision makers.
Steven Chu is Obamas Secretary of Energy -- the agency from which Smart Grids originate. He is former director of the DOEs Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and professor of Physics and Molecular Cell Biology at the University of California. He has also held positions at Stanford University and AT&T Bell Laboratories -- all of which develop/deploy RF technologies. He is now Obamas Secretary of Energy, and in 2009 Chu issued a statement telling the states to take the federal stimulus money and not stand in the way of Smart Grids.
But perhaps the biggest lack of intelligence lies in the energy and environment committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Smart Grid legislation first passed in 2007 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act under the Bush administration. Additional legislation was contained in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 at the House Committee on Energy & Environment, formerly chaired by Henry Waxman (D-CA). A companion bill was in the Senate., while in 2010 twelve bills were considered, some of which were revived in 2011. Everyone, including the Committee of Environment and Public Works -- formerly chaired by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) with a grid-related subcommittee chaired by Bernard Sanders (I-VT) - has had a hand in Smart Grids.
Now some Republicans, especially Tea Party activists who view Smart Grids as massive big government intrusion, may be fighting Smart Grid proposals - a situation that is creating an odd alliance between the extreme right and left-leaning activists who find themselves on the same side.
Smart Grids -- Boondoggle or Economic Stimulus?
2010s federal appropriations for Smart Grids was $11 billion. But some financial analysts say it will take over $900 billion over the next two decades to upgrade high-tension lines, meters, central control facilities, and substations. In addition, they say to truly digitize and digitalize grids, it will cost hundreds of billions more, into 2030, because every utilitys computer network will need to be upgraded, new renewable-energy sources will be needed to plug into new access points, and recharging stations and power lines will need to be built. Proponents brag that the construction will be a bonanza.
But Smart Grids may be little more than a Trojan Horse donned in a green hat. After all the government mandates and stimulus money for Smart Grids, a veritable gold rush ensued -- with utility companies, hedge funds, meter vendors, patent owners, and colossi like Google and Verizon vying for taxpayer bucks.
In fact, few jobs were created.
Ironically, environmentalists are also pushing for Smart Grids without studying the environmental/health impacts or even calculating if such systems will save energy. Plus, provisions in the stimulus package exempt Smart Grids from National Environmental Policy Act review and allow federal preemption for siting new high-tension corridors through environmentally sensitive areas.
But the biggest enviro-irony is that most Smart Meter models dont run backwards; if you install solar panels or other renewable-energy sources and want to sell energy back to the grid, without very expensive additional equipment the new metering makes that impossible.
People Are Getting Smart
Connecticut Light and Power is currently petitioning the Department of Public Utility Control to allow Smart Meters to be placed on 1.2 million homes, over the objections of the states Attorney General George Jepsen. A pilot program of 10,000 such meters found no energy savings in 2009, he said, but would cost ratepayers $500 million.
Maine has begun a statewide Smart Grid project -- over citizen opposition. Smart Grids already exist in parts of Virginia, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and the Midwest, while PG&E in California has installed several million meters on homes and businesses; 73% of buildings in Alameda County already have them. As of June 1, 2010, the California Public Utilities Commission reports 2,000 health-related and 1,500 non-health-related complaints. The PG&E executive in charge of the Smart Meter program, William Devereaux, was discovered infiltrating activist groups opposed to Smart Grids. He was fired, and the utility admitted to monitoring online groups to track their strategies.
California customers continue to sign petitions, organize calling campaigns, form neighborhood groups, hold forums, throw protests, get arrested for blocking utility trucks from neighborhoods, petition legislators, sue the state, and threaten to go off the grid. Many communities have called for opt-out campaigns, insisting that PG&E allow old meters to remain or be wired to phone lines thereby avoiding the RF component. Over 30 communities, including several large counties have now passed either resolutions or actual ordinances banning Smart Meters and the number grows daily.
In 2010 Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) requested that the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) evaluate health effects. CCST issued a report in January, 2011, giving an all-clear that ignited more citizen anger. Experts who had been asked to contribute to the report later said that the reports conclusions were not supported by the evidence presented and that their input was ignored. Marin County Supervisor Charles McGlashan has called for state hearings -- with his county board declaring that the state should shut down all Smart Meters until billing, health, and safety issues are resolved. It was recently discovered that Smart Meters arent even Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certified -- something required under most state codes.
High I.Q.s in Europe
In 2007, Germany's Environment Ministry issued a warning to German citizens to avoid wireless technology when possible and return to cabled means of communication. The French national library banned Wi-Fi in libraries when librarians became ill. And the European Environmental Agency called for action to reduce public exposure to radiation from mobile phones, Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, and other antennas.
In 2008 the European Parliament proposed publicly displayed maps of RF-contaminated areas so people could avoid them, while the U.K.s Association of Teachers and Lecturers came out against Wi-Fi in classrooms.
Sweden has declared some beaches and public buildings RF-free areas where cell phones and wireless computers cannot be used so that people with electromagnetic hypersensitivity -- a form of environmental allergy that Sweden classifies as a functional disability -- can take a breather from contamination.
Individuals have also rallied. Spanish activists hold an annual International Day Against Electromagnetic Pollution. British and Irish citizens have taken to civil disobedience, bulldozing down cell towers. And Israelis have torn down cell towers with their bare hands and chased landlords who lease rooftops to tower companies through the streets.
All the while, a truly intelligent way to help an aging infrastructure does exist. Using closed cables, fiber optic boasts no environmental RF exposures, no dirty electricity, is resistant to sabotage and weather disruptions, and provides TV and high-speed Internet. For $11 billion, the U.S. could bring fiber optic to every home just as Japan has done.
And some towns arent waiting. Chattanooga, Tennessee already has a municipally owned fiber optic network. The community of Dunnellon, Florida is proposing a fiber-optic system for every home and business -- without increasing taxes. Meanwhile, Google is seeking prototype communities for a fiber-optic system that could possibly be licensed for utility metering. Unfortunately, Google has also wandered into wireless smart metering too.
The fact is: Smart Grids are dumb. Given known biological effects of RF -- together with the use of financial resources better spent on true sustainability -- this new roll-out adds yet another threat to the planet.
But, in this current stampede toward everything green, many environmentalists are flunking the I.Q. test. We all need to smarten up.
B. Blake Levitt is a medical/science journalist, former New York Times contributor, author of Electromagnetic Fields, A Consumers Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves and the editor of Cell Towers, Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard? She can be reached through her website: blakelevitt.com.
Chellis Glendinning is the author of five books, including When Technology Wounds and the award-winning Off the Map: An Expedition Deep into Empire and the Global Economy. She is Writer-in-Residence at Asociación Jakaña in Cochabamba, Bolivia. She can be reached through her website chellisglendinning.org.
Note:  Smart Grid meters arent the same as the older wireless models. With the first generation, a van would cruise a neighborhood once a month, call for a signal to get the info on energy use, and be done with it. Most of those meters dont put out radiation at any other time. But Smart Grids are that system on steroids, doing away with the meter reader and emanating 24/7.
stopsmartmeters.org Contact: info "at" stopsmartmeters.org, P.O. Box 66165, Scotts Valley, CA 95067 USA
This article also appears on counterpunch.org
Smart Metering in Canada (24.03.2011)
(...) Much like the push from State legislation in the United States, the pace of Smart Meter deployment in Canada has been driven by Provincial action. The installed Smart Meter base in Canada surged past 5 million in 2010 largely on the strength of Ontario's push towards full deployment. IDC Energy Insights estimates that more than 95% of the nearly 4.7 million eligible endpoints in Ontario had been outfitted with smart meters by the end of 2010. Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec have all flirted with smart metering, though, other than Fortis' PLC deployment in Alberta, installations outside of Ontario have been modest. IDC believes that British Columbia, lead by the full deployment of BC Hydro (slated to begin mid-2011) will lead the next wave of smart meter deployment in Canada, followed by Quebec and Saskatchewan. CLIP
Smart Gas Meter Penetration to Reach 11% by 2016, According to Pike Research (March 24, 2011)
THIS IS GETTING EVER WORST!
Gas utilities worldwide are placing increased emphasis on upgrading their operations with smart gas meters that utilize advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technologies to enable two-way communications between meters and utility systems. Mirroring electric utilities smart grid initiatives in many ways, these smart gas meter deployments are designed to improve the efficiency of utility operations, reduce costs, and improve the reliability and safety of natural gas distribution. A recent report from Pike Research forecasts that the adoption of smart gas meters will increase steadily over the next few years, and the penetration of smart meters as a percentage of total gas meters will rise from 4.1% in 2010 to 11.2% by 2016. CLIP
Smart Technology Not So Smart? - By Milt Bowling (just published in Health Action Magazine in Canada)
More on this matter through http://www.buergerwelle.de:8080/helma/twoday/bwnews/stories/2395/
PG&E Smart Meter Plan Turns Wireless Off (March 24th, 2011)
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) continues to suffer smart meter woes among concerns from those who worry about privacy issues and/or health concerns from the built-in wireless technology of these meters, even despite organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund expressing support for the smart grid tech. Now, at the request of the California Pubic Utilities Commission, the utility looks to have developed what may be a solution for at least the so called health concerns some have. PG&E today proposed a plan to the CPUC which would give customers with smart meters the option of having the internal wireless radio function turned off. Said proposal, in keeping with the CPUCs direction, would not increase the cost for those customers who choose instead to keep a fully functioning smart meter. Those that do want the radio shut off, however, would pay what are said to be reasonable upfront and recurring fees to cover the costs of turning off the radio, manually reading the meters every month, modifying IT systems and providing information to customers on the program through call centers and other channels. These fees would also cover what the utility says are any problems the existing, fully functional smart meter network might have to compensate for any degradation that turning off the radio causes. An option to move the meter to a different part of the home is another part of this plan, subject to its own set of costs, of course. CLIP
PG&Es Opt Out Plan a Trojan Horse- SmartMeter IS the Problem
So yesterday, after more than 100 outraged members of the public packed the CPUC meeting in San Francisco- a perfect storm of outrage against PG&E over San Bruno, Diablo Canyon, new rate hikes, and especially the smart meter debacle - the company had an opportunity to redeem itself and propose real solutions that would put health and safety first. They failed miserably. PG&Es plan would require that everyone in CA receive a smart meter on their home. Yes thats right. Its an opt out program that requires mandatory smart meter installation. This thing is getting more Orwellian by the minute.
PG&E says: Just trust us to turn off your radio transmitter while still being subject to all your neighbors who didnt want to shell out hundreds of dollars to get their switched off too. More false solutions, more doublethink, and more fees charged to the ratepayer.So, lets get this straight. The utilities go to the PUC several years ago, seeking a massive rate increase to pay for their smart meter program. An appointed, beholden PUC rubber stamps their request, raising $2.2 billion from its customers without even asking them (or so much as notifying them.) PG&E rates skyrocket to some of the highest in the country, but they insist that we will save money on our utility bills. Then when thousands of customers complain that (not only are seeing their bills getting higher than ever) and they are getting sick from the strong microwaves, they tell us we have to pay even more to have the privilege of slightly lower electro-pollution in our homes. Were not the best at math, but something just doesnt add up here.
Increasing evidence indicates that there are more health problems associated with the beleaguered smart meter than just the rf antenna. Researchers looking at the remote switching mechanism are suggesting that it may be responsible for many of the reported health impacts, especially tinnitus and other auditory impacts. Rob States, an electrical engineer who has been studying this, says: Since individuals with no history of RF disease are experiencing symptoms the first day the meter is installed, we can assume the meters RF emissions are not the only problem. The RF network is activated months after initial meter installation. Extensive measurements have demonstrated that all of the meters measured so far, including ABB, GE, and Landis Gyr, emit noise on the customers electric wiring in the form of high frequency voltage spikes, typically with an amplitude of 2 volts, but a frequency any ware from 4,000 Hertz, up to 60,000 Hz. The actual frequency of the phenomena is influenced by the devices that are plugged into the customers power. Some houses are much worse than others, and this observation has been confirmed by PG&E installers that have talked to us.
What is happening scientifically is beyond most of our understanding- yet there are experts who are beginning to realize what is causing so many reports of headaches and other health impacts from the meters. We need: - 1) Independent hearings at the state level on whats wrong with the smart meter program so that these experts can contribute their knowledge to keep us safe. - 2) an IMMEDIATE halt to any further deployment of wireless smart meters in California - 3) the right to keep your analog meter, and the right to have it replaced if you have had a smart meter installed - 4) Utilities ordered to keep ALL analog meters in safe storage in CA until resolution if this crisis - 5) and finally ..duh immediate order to decommission Diablo Canyon and all reactors built on fault lines. The CPUC needs to respond to this crisis in a meaningful way, and if they dont, perhaps mass civil disobedience is just what the doctor ordered.
Why Opt Out is a Cop Out
(...) Just dont allow the installers access to your meters. They might tell you that they will turn your power off but its an idle threat- no one has had their power turned off from declining smart meter installation. In fact that would be illegal. Lock up your meter if you have to, post a sign, a couple of tarantulas, and you are set. The smart meters send a powerful microwave signal roughly every 4 seconds that communicates with other meters in a mesh network and eventually to a DCU (data collector unit) mounted on a power pole and then to a cell tower and to the utility. Saves them a lot of money but costs your health. See latest newsletter for what you can do: http://stopsmartmeters.org/ssm-bulletins/vol-6-march-2011/
1. INSURANCE COMPANIES WONT INSURE THE HEALTH PROBLEMS FROM WIRELESS Smart Meters
And Insurance companies dont sacrifice insurance premiums ($$$) for no reason.
TV NEWS VIDEO (3 minutes, 13 seconds)
2. WIRELESS SMART METERS TRANSMIT RADIATION APPROXIMATELY 25,000 TIMES PER DAY, 24/7, not 45 seconds per day as claimed by Utility Company.
VIDEO Radiation Measured From Smart Meter Mounted On A Home (6 min)
3. CELL DAMAGE, DNA BREAKS & BREACHES IN THE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER observed in laboratory tests from low levels of pulsed RF signal radiation as emitted by Wireless smart meters reported by Top Wireless radiation scientists in the world:
4. THE KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE IN STOCKHOLM THAT GIVES NOBEL PRIZES ISSUES GLOBAL WARNING AGAINST WIRELESS SMART METERS.
(...) Smart meters are a menace to our health all of us, collectively, and individually. This is the worst case I have ever heard of, in modern times, of forcing people to have a new technology on their property that has zero benefits to the individuals and ignores the health effects warnings of scientists and research for the past four decades. I recommend everyone opt-out, as the mesh grid that is being set up is harmful, whether on your home or across the street. Further, even if you cant feel the harmful effects you are risking horrific health problems. I think that Californians should insist on NOT paying for the privilege of remaining healthy and for NOT being assaulted by this dangerous device on our homes. . Read more at http://www.smartmeterdangers.org. Demand immediate removal and Ban of smart meters Now!!
Refuse Smart Meters!
Migraines, Smart Meters and My New Movie About EMF's (MARCH 18, 2011)
I Want To Die - If it weren't for my children, I surely would have taken my own life this winter. To the outsider, my world is perfect. I am married to my true love, have three adorable children, and we live in an idyllic Northern California town, I had everything in the world to be grateful for, yet I could appreciate none of it. I was in excruciating pain day in and day out. I was suffering from debilitating daily migraines that went on for days without end. Some days I couldn't take my children to school because I would wake up in unbearable pain. Most people in that kind of pain would go to the hospital, yet I knew there was nothing anyone could do for me, and that made it all the worse. If you know someone who suffers from migraines, then you know that migraines are not just headaches. They are a neurological disease and when something triggers a migraine, the victims experience a complete meltdown of the senses coupled with excruciating head pain and nausea. For me light feels like knives twisting around in my eyeball, noise like someone jackhammering my ears and food seems like poison for my stomach as the nausea sets in at a sickening speed. I find it hard to speak or move and eventually end up in fetal position crying my eyes out and praying that someone will shoot me and put me out of my misery.
(...) He asked me if I too had gotten a smart meter installed recently. He said he had gotten one installed two weeks prior and had a headache every day since. He included two links one from the New York Times on the subject and one from Teens Turned Green (I have since then found hundreds of similar links). After reading them, "oh my god" was all I could think and say...could this be what is making me sick? I thought I vaguely remember PG&E saying that they were giving me a new meter, and I told them sure, great have at it. New is better! Well, it turns out, my meter was installed at the same time my migraines began to kick into gear. CLIP
The Dark Side of 'Smart' Meters (Nov 10, 2011)
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