by Josh del Sol, filmmaker, Take Back Your Power
So-named “smart” meters constitute the basis of the current version of a “smart” grid – which is being rolled out in all western nations. Also referred to by utilities as “AMI”, “advanced”, “modernized”, or “automated” meters, they are chiefly data-capturing and 2-way wireless communications devices, which also have the ability to meter your utility usage (electricity, water or gas).
A vast array of personal information can be harvested on your in-home activities, and then transmitted to corporations and governments in hackable, low-level microwave radiation bursts. Approximately 50% of homes and businesses in North America how have a “smart” electricity meter attached.
Though the issue of utility meters may at first seem innocuous, this is set to have profound consequences for virtually all aspects of our lives, and even nature itself. As such, there is growing awareness and resistance – which has been met with massive utility propaganda.
Despite the resistance, utilities and governments are for the most part having their way with their deployments, charging punitive “opt-out” fees for those who do not wish to participate. But this may all soon be changing.
This fascinating investigation is the subject of our award-winning grassroots documentary, Take Back Your Power (now on Amazon Prime and iTunes), and of our solutions-based work at www.takebackyourpower.net.
Why are utilities saying “smart” meters are necessary?
It is rather ironic that the stated intentions of smart meters are:
A) “to give customers tools to save energy and/or reduce bills”;
B) “to increase grid resiliency”; and
C) “to save the environment”.
A) Smart meters do not save energy – but bills go up.
B) Individual homes and the power grid are much more vulnerable to hacking.
C) Pulsed microwave radiation from smart meters – usually several thousand times stronger than a cell phone – has been shown to negatively impact humans and the environment.
The issues with “smart” meters: What’s at stake?
Utility customers around the world are choosing to take a stand against the installation of smart meters for a variety of reasons, summed up below:
1. Billing increases
Whenever a smart meter is installed, the bill usually goes up. Your bill will increase in three ways: 1) upon installation, 2) with planned usage rate increases – happening everywhere, and 3) later, with “time-of-use” billing.
Bills immediately increase due to systemic accuracy issues with most types of digital smart meters – which have been demonstrated in the UK to show electricity usage even when power to the home is shut off.
President Obama stated in 2008 that, “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket.” So, the rate increases seem to be moving according to that plan… and it’s not just limited to the United States. However, there are no demonstrated energy savings – in fact, it appears that energy is being wasted by smart meters and related infrastructure.
The bottom line is that smart meters do not save energy, and you will be charged more for your electricity, water and gas.
2. Fiscal negligence
Utilities are spending billions of dollars to deploy smart meters. In addition, governments such as the United States have funneled billions from “economic stimulus” funds to provide incentives for utilities to deploy smart meters. (Time Magazine reported that the U.S. allocated $11 billion of stimulus funds to utilities deploying “smart” grid.)
In the U.S., utilities get government funds – up to $200M per utility – only if they install smart meters. This huge financial incentive is a huge reason why utilities are still attempting to continue installations despite an array of problems, legal violations and ratepayer pushback.
Whether it’s billions spent by utilities or government – it all ends up being paid for by the people.
3. In-home spying
Smart meters are designed to collect and report data of in-home activities, with corporations set to capitalize on your private data. The value of this data is considered to be likely worth more than the entire electric utility industry.
According to my research over the past 3 years, the plan involves achieving a greater and greater level of granularity and extraction of in-home data over time. Unless stopped by the people, a centralized smart grid will mean total eradication of privacy – even within your own home.
While the former CIA director admitted his intentions to spy on all Americans through their household appliances, even the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has confirmed that data harvested by smart meters and smart appliances will be very detailed and invasive. From the DOE report:
“Such information could reveal personal details about the lives of consumers, such as their daily schedules (including times when they are at or away from home or asleep), whether their homes are equipped with alarm systems, whether they own expensive electronic equipment such as plasma TVs, and whether they use certain types of medical equipment.”
So as far as privacy and surveillance go, even the reports from utilities and governments admit that smart meters are a trojan horse.
It does not take much digging to see that there is a corporate intention to effectively colonize your home. And your utility assumes that you comply, unless you notify them that you do not consent.
If your privacy totally falls into the hands of the morally corrupt and power-centric, your ability to make choices about how you live would be the next domino to fall.
4. Property rights violations
Utilities are actually wanting to use all of our private property to serve as relay stations for their for-profit data-collection network.
They have an easement to come onto your property to read and to service the utility meter. They do not have an easement to install unproven 2-way communication systems which send microwave pulses to the next meter over, about what you do in your own home.
5. Health effects
Smart meters emit microwave radiation pulses at levels more than 1,000x stronger than an active cell phone. The pulses are each several microseconds, and each pulse is typically spaced out by several seconds to a minute.
There’s a growing stack of published scientific evidence indicating a significant risk of adverse biological effects of this type of low-level microwave radiation… but we’re being told it’s safe.
The reason the utilities will tell you the amount is miniscule and attempt to claim safety, is because 1) government “safety” standards are outdated, based only on tissue heating, and actually ignore most peer-reviewed published science; and 2) utilities average the radiation output over time.
In the real world, there are now thousands of published scientific studies which indicate that the proliferation of smart meter (and tower) radiation could potentially be catastrophic for all organic life. With scientific evidence mounting, finally in 2011 the World Health Organization classified this type of radiation as a Class 2B possible carcinogen.
Thousands have already reported serious health problems since smart meter installation. Reported symptoms include: sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, headaches, ringing in the ears, mental difficulties, fatigue, physical weakness, dizziness, heart palpitations, chest pain, hyperactivity or changes in children’s behavior, and recurrence of cancer. (see full list of reported symptoms)
6. Hacking vulnerability
In the UK, the Institute of Directors (IoD) recently released a report, stating that smart meters are an IT distaster waiting to happen, and that the program should be “halted, altered or scrapped” to avoid an “unjustified, over-engineered and expensive mistake.”
Even in the media, it’s becoming common knowledge that the entire power grid will be at risk to be taken down by hacking. In July, 2014, an article was featured at Bloomberg.com regarding hackers finding an open back door to the power grid. According to the article:
“Adding wind farms, solar panels and smart meters to the power distribution system opens additional portals through which hackers can attack the grid, according to computer security experts advising governments and utilities.”
“… electronic meters that send real time power usage to consumers and utilities are providing new back-door entry paths for computer hackers to raise havoc with the grid.”
Smart meters are bad news for your home security – and for the entire power grid. It’s insane that one of the reasons they are being deployed is supposedly “grid resiliency”.
There have been thousands of smart meter-caused fires, including several fatalities. Smart meters are typically not UL- or CSA-approved (or equivalent). They are a plastic device designed to only function for several years before needing replacement or “upgrading.” Traditional safe analog meters are made of glass and metal, are more accurate, and last 40 years or more.
On March 30, 2015, hundreds of smart meters simultaneously exploded in Stockton, California, when a truck ran into a utility pole. There have also been several other incidents of simultaneous explosions, each causing fires or damage on between dozens and hundreds of homes.
Following a string of fires, utilities in Saskatchewan, Portland OR, Lakeland FL and other regions have removed smart meters. When a fire happens, utilities everywhere are removing the meters before firefighters can conduct proper investigations. This is a negligent, criminal act.
The utilities lied when they said smart meters would make the electricity grid “resilient” and “self-healing.” Nothing could be further from the truth, and this long, long list of incidents is more proof of the failure of “smart” meter programs everywhere.
Rolling out: The smart meter deployment agenda
What is perhaps even more disturbing than any particular issue listed above, is the way in which smart meters programs continue to be supported by public officials and implemented by utilities:
• in corporate secrecy instead of visibility – even in many cases laws being arbitrarily changed to facilitate rollout;
• without heed to personal privacy rights;
• without heed to personal property rights;
• without heed to published science;
• without heed to credible experts from a variety of industries;
• without any due process of testing to make sure devices are safe; and
• with PUNITIVE OPT-OUT fees in many cases for people who do not want a so-called “smart” meter.
While hundreds of cities and regions have now voted against mandated smart meters, utilities continue to steamroll the agenda forward –totally ignoring most of the ordinances and moratoriums passed. How is this possible?
The bigger picture
There is now obviously an awakening that corporations are going too far in their quest for ever-greater control at the expense of human freedom, health and basic rights.
The smart meter agenda is being deployed in the name of “climate action” – but it actually wastes energy and harms the ecosystem (including people everywhere) with a blanketing network of microwave radiation.
The actual reason for this deployment is the centralized powers in our society giving themselves greater control, more money, and detailed data about everything we ever do – which they consider to be financially worth more than the entire electric utility industry.
It is to facilitate a transition to an information-based economy, packaged as an “internet of things”, where we are all the human resource and product being packaged and sold.
Real solutions to the problems we face, such as new energy technologies or ways to produce clean water from seawater, are available – but are considered disruptive and thus currently suppressed by the corporate-government complex.
Participating: Three steps you can take
As the watchdog has left the building, it is now up to individuals to participate and change the situation directly.
- The first step is to remove your consent for a “smart” meter – in writing (see example). The utility will likely attempt to tell you that either you have no rights, or that you have to succumb to their extortive opt-out fee – but keep going. Remember that every communication you have with them can be deemed a contract, so only deal with them in writing, and rebut the propagandic letter(s) they send.
- The second step is to spread the word and get together with community to form an action group. The main purpose of our documentary Take Back Your Power is to offer a highly-impactful way people can get informed to a deep level in under 90 minutes.
- The third step is to go on the offensive against the utility and any public servants that are explicitly supporting the smart meter agenda, or allowing it to happen. While most traditional legal approaches and even class-action lawsuits seem to be stalled or delayed by a corrupt judicial system, an emerging way to take effective action is to do a liability-based private action – a Notice of Liability.
We can address the situation like a business contract – including a fee schedule. It’s all just business – all about money to them, right? What utilities are motivated by is money, and what they fear is liability and focused action.
Example: The utility’s offer to install a smart meter is a change of terms in your service contract. Whether you have one or not, you can do a “conditional acceptance” of this offer – similar perhaps to the process of selling a house. Along with this conditional acceptance is an affidavit (a document of the facts which you affirm to be true), which is required to be rebutted point-by-point. If it is not rebutted, your terms stand, which include a fee schedule chosen by you. There is a defaulting process, including a rebutting of anything you receive back, which appears to put a good deal of fear into those supporting the smart meter agenda.
As solutions develop and the movement continues to grow, we will have more news at our website and via various partners.
Please take the time to research this critically important issue of our time. In addition to having released the film Take Back Your Power, we produce credible, important research about this continually evolving issue and movement.
When you have done your own research, and come to your own conclusions, we sincerely hope you feel inspired to take a stand for what you value. You will be standing with millions of others around the globe who are waking up and taking back their power.
About the author
Josh del Sol is the director and producer of Take Back Your Power, a revelatory documentary feature film uncovering the worldwide ‘smart’ metering and grid agenda. Watch the film and subscribe to updates at www.takebackyourpower.net, and follow him via twitter @TBYPfilm.