People across the country are rejecting the installation of the advanced metering system (Smart Meters). If you think that you are free to choose and keep your analog meters, think again.
Jennifer Stahl of Naperville, Illinois, found out recently that opposing the installation of a Smart Meter at her house landed her in jail. She could see utility company workers replacing her neighbor’s meter although clear signs posted said, “Private Property, No Trespassing, No Authorization to Install Smart Meter.” Obviously, the utility company did not have the owner’s permission to proceed.
Once workers arrived at Jennifer’s house, she locked the gate and refused them access. The police was promptly called to force her to comply, the lock was cut, the smart meter installed, and she was arrested for interfering with a police officer.
The Chicago Tribune reported the incident. City Manager Doug Kreiger told reporters, “The city has always had and maintains the right to access our equipment, and today we were simply exercising that right.” What happened to the woman’s right to refuse the purchase and use of a particular good or service as is the case under capitalism? Do our rights disappear when a company has tyrannical monopoly power? (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/naperville/chi-naperville-smart-meter-arrest-20130123,0,6519967.story)
In spite of the work of the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group, Smart Meters had been installed in 57,000 homes, a 99 percent completion rate so far. The Group has filed a lawsuit against the city on concern over health, security, and privacy issues. Malia “Kim” Bendis was also arrested on charges of attempted eavesdropping and resisting a police officer. Both women are leaders of the Group fighting the installation of Smart Meters.
Smart meters have been at the center of controversy across the country for causing radiation exposure, health issues, fires from exploding meters, invasion of privacy without a warrant, increased electricity rates, decreased service, utilities cutting power during peak usage, selling of information to third parties without the owner’s consent, and hacking by thieves who could sell information and know when owners are not home. The Congressional Report Service has written two reports to Congress on Smart Meter cyber security and potential health hazards.
Many states have moved to file class action lawsuits and pass bills that would give customers the choice to opt-out and forbidding utilities to charge excessive fees for sending workers on site to read traditional meters each month. I wrote previous articles about the issues with Smart Meters. (http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/44757) and the potential health effects. (http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/41988)
Dr. Mercola’s health website, Mercola.com, has compiled a report on the Smart Meter debacle, including audio, video, and in-depth coverage of the serious issues with smart grid technology. (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/05/smart-utility-meters-aspx)
On Monday, January 28, 2013, the Virginia Senate Commerce and Labor Committee will hold a hearing on SB 797 introduced by Senator Thomas A. Garrett. This bill will prohibit any utility company from installing an advanced meter (Smart Meter) on private property or requiring the installation of one unless the customer requests it. If the utility already installed a Smart Meter, they would have to replace it with an analog meter if the customer demands it. If the customer refuses the advanced meter (Smart Meter), the utility company cannot charge a penalty or a higher rate.
According to Josh del Sol, Director of Take Back Your Power, a group in British Columbia had excellent success in helping 140,000-250,000 people to keep their analog meters and thus preserve their rights. (www.TakBackYourPower.net)
If Americans cannot control the type of gadgets and spying devices attached to our home, or what service providers do to us, just how much freedom do we really have left?