Smart Grid Advocates: Biased and Insensitive

On April 26, 2012, the Council of State Governments (CSG*) held a webinar with two policy experts from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI**), reportedly to address cybersecurity threats in the Smart Grid.  The webinar was represented to serve the purposes of being part “educational” and part “advocacy.”

During the course of the webinar, it was explained by EEI representatives that they believed that the Smart Grid policy focus would now shift to the state level to address potential privacy and accuracy concerns raised by customers with smart meters, regulatory issues with rate recovery with the new meters, and expanding “opt-out” initiatives by customers that do not wish to switch from analog meters.

Shown below is one of the slides used as a part of the webinar.  Regarding the “acceptance challenge” of “Radio Frequency,” public health concerns with regard to smartphones and smart meters were characterized as “unfounded.”  In addition, one representative further characterized the public’s health concerns to be “comic” in nature, indicating that people calling in to complain about smart meter health concerns were likely calling on cell phones.

Here is an audio clip of the actual words (click on link/play button below).

EEI Slide on Customer Acceptance

The individuals representing the EEI were clearly biased and insensitive to people who have health concerns regarding RF emissions.  These individuals are likely people who drink their own Kool-Aid, so to speak, in that they are most likely unaware of the serious health concerns regarding the use of cell phones and smart phones and that there are reasonable grounds through the concept of analogy to also then question whether smart meters are safe.  At a minimum, it is reasonable to question whether it is wise for an entire new smart grid industry to further saturate our environment with an added layer of RF emissions.

Beyond the webinar, if one goes to the EEI Smart Grid website, you will find a list of “Frequently Asked Questions.”  One of the questions is:  “Does the radio frequency (RF) signal produced from smart meters cause any health effects?”

Without any hedging or equivocation, the answer is simply, “No.”

Supplemental information provided on the EEI website includes one of the most misleading and irresponsible statements that I have ever seen on the subject of smart meters, where it says:

“While concerns have been raised about the potential impact of the RF generated by these smart meters, numerous studies have shown that smart meters using RF technologies pose no health risk.”  [emphasis added]

The moderator for this website has searched every database possible to find one peer-reviewed article that has studied the health effects associated with radiation emitted from wireless smart meters.  There are none.  As stated elsewhere on this website, Dr. De-Kun Li provided testimony on the subject of smart meters in December 2012, and stated that he was “not aware of any studies that have shown that exposure is safe for the human population.”

Also indicated in the testimony provided by Dr. Li, cell phone exposure is normally intermittent and is a voluntary experience, while wireless smart meter radiation exposure is chronic and involuntary.  Smart grid advocates never want to acknowledge this important aspect.  Nor do they acknowledge one of the basic tenets of risk perception, whereby people perceive risks differently based upon the nature of the risk, e.g., whether the risk is voluntary or involuntary.  Involuntary exposure to RF emissions may be deemed as high risk if a person concludes that there is no desired benefit in return for the exposure received.

What appears to be the situation here is that proponents of smart grid technology will document claims that there is no proof of harm from smart meters and then call that documentation a “study.”  So who is really making the wild claims?  The concerned citizens or the smart grid advocates?


* The Council of State Governments (CSG) describes itself as “our nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government.  CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy.”

** The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) indicates that it is “proud to sponsor”  Organized in 1933, EEI is an association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies.

To confirm information provided in this posting, visit the links provided below:

About SkyVision Solutions

Raising public awareness and finding solutions for smart grid issues related to invasions of privacy, data security, cyber threats, health and societal impacts, as well as hazards related to radiofrequency (RF) radiation emissions from all wireless devices, including smart meters.
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