Smart Meter Opt-Out
PG&E to Now Offer Opt Out Smart Meter Option
Opt out option is not seen as a compromise or solution by those against the Smart Meter program.
PG&E customers may soon be able to opt out of having the controversial wireless Smart Meters installed, opponents of the device feel it is too little too late.
“The individual opt out is not enough,” said Joshua Hart, director of the grassroots organization Stop Smart Meters! “We never even asked for this technology in the first place, and most people don’t want it.”
The opt out program if approved by the California Public Utilities Commission would allow PG&E customers, for a fee, to have the communications radio of their electric and gas Smart Meter turned off. The radio is the part of the meter that beams the wireless radio waves. This would in turn require a meter reader to come and record the information of energy usage manually from the digital screen of the Smart Meter.
“The opt out will not help me,” said Winifred Thomas a Santa Clara County native who believes that the radiation from wireless Smart Meters is to blame for her sudden health decline.
Thomas managed to remove her own SmartMeter, but argues that she has not been able to shield her home from the electromagnetic frequencies of the other meters in her area.
“The meters from my next door neighbors are still emitting this radiation that is measured well through my house, so much so that I cannot live in my home,” she said.
People, like Thomas, believe to be sufferers from a condition referred to as “Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity.” This is a disorder that some believe can trigger headaches, insomnia and other more serious effects.
SmartMeter opponents believe that there is hard evidence of side effects that could result from the microwave radio emissions that are beamed through the wireless SmartMeters that PG&E has installed throughout homes in California.
“There is documented scientific evidence that these meters emit far more powerful pulses of radiation then common household devices,” Hart said. “We have been totally inundated with health reports from all over the state.”
Among the studies cited by Hart is a recent World Health Organization study that says there was enough evidence to classify “radiofrequency electromagnetic fields” in the same category as leaded gasoline in terms of its potential carcinogenic properties. And a Sage Report claims that SmartMeter emissions on a home are equal to that of living 500 feet from a mobile phone tower.
On the other hand, supporters of the technology see no harm in Smart Meters.
“Smart Meters are safe,” said Greg Snapper, spokesperson for PG&E. “The Federal Communications Commission has set the radio frequency exposure limit, which is acceptable for certain wireless technology,and Smart Meters operate well below that limit.”
Snapper further added that the California Council of Science and Technology has also backed this claim.
Some local detractors, however, question the efficacy of the FCC requirements.
“The FCC does not consider the non-thermal effects,” said Karl Maret M.D, president of the Dove Health Alliance, in a gathering organized by Stop Smart Meters! at Louden Nelson Center in Santa Cruz on Wednesday. “I believe, as well as a few other scientists, that these guidelines are outdated.”
The non-thermal effects are those that can result from continued exposure to lower levels of radio frequencies, which some studies have linked to some of the symptoms that Electromagnetic Hypersensitive sufferers claim to have.
However, the report by the California Council of Science and Technology takes issue with the result of those tests.
“The findings have not been scientifically established, and the mechanisms that might lead to non-thermal effects remain uncertain,” concludes the report.
PG&E officials insists that they are sensitive to the concerns of their customers, and that is why they have proposed the opt out option, as well as created another option to delay the set up of a Smart Meter in the home of those customers who don’t already have them.
“We work with every individual customer to address any concerns or questions they have,” Snapper said. “If they wish to delay a meter upgrade, we encourage them to call us on our delay list line.”
To opt out of or delay the installation of a Smart Meter, call PG&E at 877-743-7378.