Maine Supreme Court justices on Thursday heard arguments on
whether that state should allow a free opt-out. Justices
questioned a lawyer for the state Public Utilities
Commission on why the agency hadn't done more to investigate
the safety of smart meters before allowing them to be
Vermont joined the smart meter movement in 2008, when state
officials and utility executives announced plans to deploy
the devices. They said the system would allow power prices
to vary at different times of the day in keeping with
demand, with a resulting incentive for consumers to run
power-hungry appliances like dishwashers and clothes dryers
at night when demand is low.
Another benefit cited by supporters of the technology:
Because the meters would allow two-way radio communication,
the utility would be able to see immediately when even a
single customer lost power. No one would return from
vacation to find a warm freezer full of spoiled food.
Smart meters got a big boost in 2009, when the Obama
administration devoted $3.5 billion of its $787 billion
economic stimulus package to grants to help utilities
install the new technology. Vermont utilities got $69
million of that money.
Now, consumers and some government officials across the
country are starting to question the push for smart meters
on multiple fronts.
One concern is over the long-term health effects of being
exposed to the radio-frequency radiation emitted by the
meters. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a
branch of the World Health Organization, last year called
radio-frequency radiation, which is emitted by cell phones,
smart meters and many other devices, as a "possible
Smart meter supporters say the levels of RFRs emitted by the
devices are much lower than those emitted by cell phones,
and that governmental agencies have built big safety margins
into emissions limits for both.
The Federal Communications Commission has rated smart meters
as safe because they are considered very unlikely to cause
bodily tissue heating or electric shock. But Dr. Poki
Stewart Namkung, the public health officer for Santa Cruz
County in California, issued a report in January calling the
FCC standards "irrelevant."
"It says nothing about the safety from the risk of many
chronic diseases that the public is most concerned about,
such as cancer, miscarriage, birth defects, semen quality,
autoimmune diseases, etc.," Namkung wrote.
The Electric Power Research Institute, an industry-funded
group, responded to Namkung's report with an article citing
several scientific studies saying the levels of radiation
emitted by smart meters should not be a public health
Growing numbers of customers have raised their own concerns.
Sudi Scull testified at a California Public Utilities
Commission hearing in February that she developed painful
headaches and ringing in her ears after Pacific Gas &
Electric installed a smart meter on her house in San
Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood. The utility
ultimately restored her analog meter, but she said the pain
returned when smart meters were installed on her neighbors'
for 3 months, absolutely
RISK-FREE If you do not feel Q-Link improves your
focus, energy, or well-being, simply return it for a full
Airtube headsets have
30 a day refund.