Nicor Gas Begins Deployment of Smart Meter Radio Modules in Northern Illinois

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

With little advance notice of what is really happening, Nicor Gas in northern Illinois is quietly attaching wireless transmitters to existing natural gas meters located at customer homes and businesses.

Nicor Gas customers have begun receiving postcards that say:

“In the near future, a small two-way communication device will be installed on the existing natural gas meter at your home or business.  The device will collect natural gas usage information and securely send it to Nicor Gas.”

In addition, at a Nicor Gas webpage dealing with frequently asked questions (FAQs) on meter modernization [1], it says:

Does Nicor Gas offer any opt-out or deferral options?

Nicor Gas does not offer an “opt-out” or deferral option.

You may be aware of other utilities in the area charging a fee to opt out. However, their opt out is only for a brief period and all customers will need to comply.

I consider the last statement above as false.  For example, in Naperville, Illinois, I am currently opting-out of a wireless electric smart meter (and have been for 5 years), and there has never been a warning that this opt out is “for a brief period” of time.

At the end of the Nicor Gas FAQ webpage [1], it states:

Health and Safety

This device complies with all FCC health and safety standards.

That’s it on the topic of “Health and Safety”?  If you have read other articles at this website, you can surmise that I am not impressed with such a simple and misleading statement as above.  The fact that the “device complies” with FCC guidelines is irrelevant to safety as the FCC does not actually have a standard for safe levels of exposure to RF emissions [2].

To expand upon this point, let me quote respected scientist, David L. McCormick, Ph.D., who was a member of the Working Group for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and who voted to declare RF radiation as a possible carcinogen in 2011:

“FCC regulations were driven by thermal effects, by tissue heating.  We know that any long-term effects of [radiofrequency electro] magnetic fields are going to result from effects that occur at non-thermal temperatures where there is not obvious tissue heating.

So the fact you are below a thermal level says nothing about whether or not there is any risk associated with that exposure.” [3]

As you saw above, Nicor Gas is not currently offering an opt-out or deferral option for its smart gas meter upgrade program.  But then it didn’t ask any customers how they felt about having a wireless transmitter installed upon their property or if they have any health or other concerns.

If you are disturbed by what you have read in this article and are a Nicor Gas customer, I suggest you call 888.Nicor4U (642.6748) regarding your opposition and demand an opt-out program be implemented.  If they get enough calls, maybe they will respond favorably.

References and Notes

[1] Nicor Gas Meter Modernization webpage on Frequently Asked Questions, at https://nicorgas.com/residential/meter-reading/advanced-metering-infrastructure

[2] “Wireless Devices and Health Concerns, FCC Consumer Facts, at https://skyvisionsolutions.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/fcc-consumer-safety-info.pdf; simply put, per the FCC, “there is no federally developed national standard for safe levels of exposure to radiofrequency (RF) energy.”

[3] A Critical Review of the ComEd Radiofrequency ‘Fact Sheet’, SkyVision Solutions Blog Article, June 2015, at https://smartgridawareness.org/2015/06/11/review-of-comed-radiofrequency-fact-sheet/; the above article includes the following relevant video:

[4] Additional Information:  Per the link below, Nicor Gas chose a Sensus FlexNet® communication network and radio modules for its so-called gas meter modernization program.

The Nicor Gas meter upgrades are properly characterized as “smart” meters since the new Sensus radio modules enable 2-way communication, and the “FlexNet” communication system allows collection and transmission of granular consumption data.

Nicor Gas Selects Sensus for Meter Modernization Program, March 8, 2018, at https://sensus.com/news-events/news-releases/nicor-gas-selects-sensus-meter-modernization-program/

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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23 Responses to Nicor Gas Begins Deployment of Smart Meter Radio Modules in Northern Illinois

  1. Cindy says:

    We are under attack. I have been deathly ill ever since I unwittingly agreed to a smart water meter in February of 2009. The constant body aches, headaches, unexplainable pains, general malaise, and no uninterrupted sleep will be the death of us all. When Com Ed came around I knew better and refused to allow them to smart meter my home of forty-six years. Now comes Nicor claiming they don’t have an opt-out? How dare they! These people belong in jail for their greed and complete disregard for the people’s right to protect themselves. These fools are all going to Hell for the destruction they have unleashed on an unknowledgeable and naive public. This is war and the hoi polloi don’t even know they are under assault.

  2. Pingback: Are We All Unwitting Subjects of a Huge Experiment? | Healing Heart Issues

  3. molly says:

    I just now stopped them from installing this. We don’t have the Comed smart meter, we refused it. Didn’t know this was coming too. The installer was a very young Mexican guy with perfect English. He was very quick to back off and said he was told if the customer didn’t want it to move on. I told him I need to research it first. They’ll probably be back to try again.
    McHenry, il

    • Rick Beckham says:

      I recently talked to an installer of Nicor’s radio transmitters. He told me these meters are not as dangerous as ComEd’s smart meters. I told him that ComEd installed a smart meter on my home when there were no receivers any where near my home. ComEd denied the meter was a smart meter, but I have photos of the inner workings of the smart meter installed on my house that clearly showed it’s ability to transmit radio signals. This was proven by my neighbor, a licensed FCC person that used a digital radio frequency detector confirming the meter was a smart meter.

  4. Rick Beckham says:

    Part of a pre-employment to a factory It was required that I have a physical exam. The hearing exam was I was placed in a sound proof booth with head phones. I had a button to press when I heard the signal, one button for each right and left ear. I sat in the booth pressing the buttons for some time. The doctor/technician then got up and went out of the exam room. He returned with several doctor/technicians and began sending signals again. After awhile, I was let out of the sound proof booth. They explained that no one had ever scored as high as I did in the country. Years later, as part of several disabilities, the administration law judge ruled me disabled where being hypersensitive to RF/microwave emissions. Under federal law, being hypersensitive to these signals in a disability.

    • Regarding comment that “Under federal law, being hypersensitive to these signals [is] a disability.”

      Sometimes when people make comments at my website I will give perspective where I think other people might be given somewhat misleading information. I have acted to help people sensitive to RF through the years, but the general impediment in getting help from the government is proving an impairment is due to the RF signals. I would consider it is a stretch to say by Federal law that being hypersensitive to RF (by itself) is a disability.

      At least in the U.S., what has been stated is: The United States Access Board, an independent Federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities, has stated, “The Board recognizes that multiple chemical sensitivities and electromagnetic sensitivities may be considered disabilities under the ADA if they so severely impair the neurological, respiratory or other functions of an individual that it substantially limits one or more of the individual’s major life activities.”

      So notice the “IF” in the above statement and the clause that would require showing major life activities being substantially limited. And unfortunately, certain government authorities would say those limitations cannot be demonstrated stating they have not seen sufficient medical research or scientific evidence indicating such limitations can be caused by RF, stating in effect that the “if” in the quoted statement above cannot be satisfied. … But if you personally were able to get an ALJ open to accepting EHS as a disability, that is great.

      • Rick Beckham says:

        Yes she did. It is in her reasons for adjudicating me totally disabled. I have a copy of her decision and will post it here. I was evaluated for hypersensitivity by Dr. Hart which he accepted in her decision. I used to have law this federal law as well on my other computer. Thank you for your response. I will get back to you.

  5. Barb says:

    Nicor has filed a lawsuit against me for refusing installation of the smart meter. St Charles IL 60174

    • I have heard of utilities playing “hardball” but that seems extreme. Generally their approach might be to threaten a disconnect if you don’t agree to a meter upgrade. I’m not sure of the basis for a lawsuit and would be interested in more details.

    • SE_Chicago_Burbs_Guy says:

      Tinley Park here, i was told of an impending lawsuit, any updates on your case?

    • Richard Beckman says:

      I know there are some in my neighborhood that has opted out of ComEd’s smart meter. I also know there are those like me that are sensitive to RF and microwave emissions. I have been seeking those like me to join me in an iinjuction and declamatory judgment in a class of individuals. All I need is a list. There is power in numbers.

      • Kat says:

        Hawthorn Woods here. How’s the class action list going. Interested in joining.

    • c says:

      We all need to get together for a class action suit against Nicor

      • Richard Beckman says:

        I have tried to drum up interest in a law suit to stop the deployment of smart meters. I have tried my useless congressman to gain an interest into an amendment to the smart meter act that states ALL residents of Illinois must have them. I was declared disabled where the judge listed sensitivity to RF and microwave radiation is one of my disabilities. It can be done through the courts. I have not had time to pursue this as I am fighting a very illegal foreclosure.

  6. Christina Giunta says:

    I called Tribus (company that Nicor is using to install their “Meter Modernization”) today and asked them how often this “Meter Modernization” is transmitting information. The guy on the phone stammered around a bit and said someone will drive by or walk by once a month and take the reading and that it will only transmit that one time. Then he said, the reading will be taken once a month between the 11th and 15th. He was not very accurate and did not make a lot of sense. He did not seem to know for sure what the process is or how these devices work. Or, maybe he does know exactly how they work and they don’t want the public to know!

    • The quickest response is that I would say the Tribus person does not know how they work. He seems to be describing how certain AMR “drive-by” meters work but not the “advanced” AMI type meters these are suppose to be. One of my other reply comments for this article provides more information.

    • SE_Chicago_Burbs_Guy says:

      I was told by Tribus that the meters use cellular technology very similar to comed’s “smart meter” and I was threatened wiuth a lawsuit and told they would peruse it because it is their device, I told them they do not have permission to access my property and the meter is on a gated premises, if an installer appears to install the upgrade he/she will be arrested for trespass and maximum charges will be filed, also am retaining a lawyer to speak on my behest, these devices are NOT safe, have NOT been tested and this will not stand!

  7. Rick Beckham says:

    I was just on Nicor’s FAQ for three different pages. I can’t find any reference to Health & Safety. Could you post the webpage? Thanks

  8. Douglas Campbell says:

    I found this information on Nicor’s website. Not sure if this is accurate information, seems to conflict with what I heard from Nicor personnel who said they will transmit to the nearest cell tower once a month. Handheld or vehicle reading would probably be ok with me, its the constant transmissions or a powerful burst that would cause problems and I would always be suspicious of the accuracy of the readings. “How Does Automated Meter Reading Work?
    A small, battery-powered radio transmitter is installed on the natural gas meter. Once the transmitter is installed, we will be able to read your meter remotely from a special device that is either handheld or installed in a vehicle. When our employee walks or drives by your meter, that device receives a signal from the transmitter on the meter with the usage data. Once the usage data is collected, it is processed through our billing system.”

    • I would say that the information in that link references an old pilot for AMR (one-way) type meters. This gas meter upgrade being rolled out is definitely a 2-way (AMI) “smart” type program.

      There is no detailed literature available for review by the public, which is part of the problem, but the information I have been sent via email indicates that the meters transmit to a fixed collector system once per 4 hours with hourly data. Generally, however, any AMI network also involves network management traffic (in addition to data transmissions), and I have not been able to get any information on the full profile of RF meter emissions.

  9. Warren says:

    Here in Sedona, AZ, we have found the similar looking gas “smart” meters to be transmitting every minute! Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxBD7s1Rt8U

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