CPS Energy has options for homeowners in San Antonio, Texas who wish to opt out of the new “smart” meter program, but those options don’t apply to businesses or multifamily complexes. This appears to be a clear case of discrimination.
“We have some residents here who have some serious health issues and it came to light that there were a lot of questions about the health issues regarding smart meters,” said townhome manager Nancy Woodard.
In order to prevent CPS Energy from installing smart meters on the three master meters, the townhome management changed the locks, which are CPS Energy’s property.
In a letter, CPS Energy notified the townhome management if they didn’t put the correct locks back on by December 12th, they would begin the process of discontinuing their power service.
[The above video contains material used pursuant to the Fair Use Doctrine under 17 U.S.C. 107 and is presented in the public’s interest for non-commercial purposes.]
CPS Energy says smart meters are safe and as reported by FOX 29 News, “They point to information on the American Cancer Society’s website that says the amount of radiation coming from smart meters is most likely too low to be damaging.”
So, what does the American Cancer Society (ACS) website actually state on the subject of smart meters?
As retrieved on December 16, 2014, here are some selected statements from the ACS website with relevant analysis added by SkyVision Solutions:
“The frequency and power of the RF waves given off by a smart meter are similar to that of a typical cell phone, cordless phone, or residential Wi-Fi router. Smart meters typically send and receive short messages about 1% of the time.”
“Can smart meters cause cancer?
RF radiation is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans.’ This is based on the finding of a possible link in at least one study between cell phone use and a specific type of brain tumor. Because RF radiation is a possible carcinogen, and smart meters give off RF radiation, it is possible that smart meters could increase cancer risk. Still, it isn’t clear what risk, if any there might be from living in a home with a smart meter.”
Analysis: The above ACS statement is not one that the utility representatives will quote, i.e., “Because RF radiation is a possible carcinogen, and smart meters give off RF radiation, it is possible that smart meters could increase cancer risk.”
“Because the amount of RF radiation you could be exposed to from a smart meter is much less than what you could be exposed to from a cell phone, it is very unlikely that living in a house with a smart meter increases risk of cancer.” [emphasis added]
Analysis: The ACS conclusion that “it is very unlikely that living in a home with a smart meter” is flawed in that it relies on the premise that, “the amount of RF radiation you could be exposed to from a smart meter is much less than what you could be exposed to from a cell phone.”
Remember the above reference that the smart meter typically sends out messages about 1% of the time which is actually a reference to the smart meter’s duty cycle. Also please recognize that most people who choose to use cell phones do so on average about 15 to 20 minutes per day for voice communications, which just happens to be about 1% of the day. These factors roughly offset each other in terms of discussing the potential duration of RF exposure over the course of a 24-hour day. This is just one of the most obvious factors that has not properly been evaluated by the ACS in making its conclusion. But despite that, the ACS did say that “smart meters could increase cancer risk.”
“Do smart meters cause any other health problems?
Smart meters have not been studied to see if they cause health problems. Studies have looked at RF radiation from other sources. Exposure to large amounts of RF radiation, as from accidents involving radar, has resulted in severe burns. No other serious health problems have been reported.”
Analysis: So here the ACS admits that no studies have been done on smart meters “to see if they cause health problems.” Note that this contradicts typical utility company pronouncements that the health effects of smart meters have been studied. In addition, however, the ACS fails to acknowledge the “serious health problems [that] have been reported,” some of which were recently highlighted at this website in the article, “Published Article: Symptom Development from Exposure to Wireless Smart Meters.”
“Could smart meters cause health problems in cancer survivors?
While RF exposure might not cause cancer directly, concern has been voiced that cells in the body that have been damaged by exposure to some other substance might somehow be more likely to become cancerous when exposed to RF waves. In theory, this might be a concern for cancer patients being treated with ionizing radiation and/or medicines that might cause cancer themselves.”
Analysis: Here the ACS actually raises a possible concern with smart meters not commonly discussed, that smart meter emissions might actually be a concern for cancer patients.
“How can I reduce my exposure to RF radiation from smart meters?
There isn’t much you can do to lower your exposure to RF radiation from smart meters. In some places where smart meters are being installed, people have the choice to opt in or opt out of having them, but this isn’t an option everywhere.”
Analysis: Hopefully everything you have just read in this article supports the position that everyone deserves the right to refuse a smart meter installation whether it be for a single family home, business, or multi-family home.
Let’s also hope the people living at the above featured San Antonio, Texas, townhome can live in peace this holiday season without the threat of a smart meter installation or having their power disconnected and lives put further at risk.
Although not discussed in this article, customers also deserve the right to refuse smart meter installations free of charge. As has been said before, how can you reasonably charge a penalty fee to opt-out of a program for which you never opted-in?
Source Material for this Article:
“Townhomes At Odds With CPS Energy over Smart Meters,” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1DtRJu1ECQ
“Smart Meters – What are smart meters?,” at http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/smart-meters