Florida Man claims OUC’s smart meter made him sick, files federal lawsuit

Florida Man claims OUC’s smart meter made him sick, files federal lawsuit

ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE: http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/man-claims-oucs-smart-meter-made-him-sick-files-fe/njKZc/

ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orange County man claims OUC’s [Orlando Utilities Commission] smart meter, which thousands of residents have on their homes, gave him major medical problems and he’s filed a federal lawsuit.

“It leads to a lot of problems,” said disabled veteran Bill Metallo. “I’m looking at a lot of skin problems, sleepless nights.”
Metallo lists his medical problems in the federal lawsuit he just filed against OUC over the smart meters.

The digital meters are designed to make procedures easier for the company, and OUC has been installing them at thousands of Orlando homes over the past few years.

After the smart meter was installed at Metallo’s home, he chose to opt out of the program. The company returned his analog meter but then added a $95 enrollment free and a $13 monthly fee.

OUC said the fees were approved by Florida’s Public Service Commission, but Metallo claims it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“I want them to stop doing what they’re doing, it’s illegal what they’re doing,” said Metallo.

The smart meters have been criticized statewide in the past, and some claim they’re linked to cancer.

“Smart meters are emitting electromagnetic radiation that we can’t see or smell,” said biologist Diana Schultz.

OUC said it couldn’t comment about the pending lawsuit in Metallo’s case, but denied the meters cause medical issues.

“It’s fact. It’s proven,” said Metallo.

The utilities company released a statement to WFTV about the smart meter program:

“On the issue itself, the Public Service Commission has approved our fee structure for having a non-standard meter read. There is a cost for OUC to manually read the old meters which includes staff time and fuel. Less than one-tenth of one percent of all OUC customers contacted us about keeping their old meters, and of those only 125 out of more than 229,000 have decided to opt-out. There are many benefits of digital meters including the ability for customers to learn more about their daily energy use through an online customer dashboard, instead of having to open a bill at the end of their monthly billing cycle.”


Oklahoma: Class action lawsuit forming

Working to counter the growing cancer of smart meters in Oklahoma: Class action lawsuit forming

legalThe law firm of Powers at Law LLC, Stop Smart Meters in Oklahoma, and residents in Oklahoma are teaming up to “counter the growing cancer of smart meters in Oklahoma”.

They seek to raise awareness of the smart meter problem and want to connect with people who are opposed to smart meters.  They are preparing for a class action lawsuit.   Please see their letter here: Oklahoma smart meter class action lawsuit

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a group of scientists and engineers who are concerned about the perception of health risks from Smart Meters and…

Open Letter to the Public

We are a group of scientists and engineers who are concerned about the perception of health risks from electromagnetic radiation in the frequency range 3kHz to 300GHz (henceforth called “radiofrequencies” and/or RF) in Quebec and elsewhere in the world. We lament that the real social issues regarding the use of radiofrequency communication systems have been overshadowed solely by the question of their alleged health effects.

We believe that the fear of wireless technologies is based primarily on i) a misunderstanding of the nature of radio waves and their interaction with the human body, ii) a misreading of the scientific literature on this subject, and iii) a distrust of local, national and international public health organizations. It is desirable that important national political and economic decisions be based on careful consideration of the scientific evidence and should not be made in a climate of fear. We are addressing this open letter to the public in the hope that it will contribute to a real understanding of this issue and allow the real debate to progress in a responsible way, guided by the scientific method.

Since the beginning of 2012, the subject of the effects of radiofrequencies on health has been omnipresent in the mass media in Quebec and Canada . Public perceptions have been exacerbated by the announcement by Hydro-Québec of its plan to install 3.8 million so-called “smart meters” in Quebec households. These meters operate in the microwave spectrum at frequencies close to those emitted by cell phones and wireless routers (WiFi) . As for the intensity of these emissions, Hydro-Québec certifies that it is approximately 100,000 times lower than Canadian safety standards . Meanwhile, a number of activist groups continue to proclaim far and wide that smart meters represent a significant public health risk. A petition seeking a moratorium on the installation of these meters, submitted to the National Assembly in January 2012, received approximately 10,000 signatures . The proponents of this moratorium are hoping to emulate the county of Santa Cruz California , which on January 25, 2012 decreed a moratorium of one year on the installation of smart meters.

The main arguments that have appeared in the mass media against the installation of smart meters are the following. We report them in good faith, yet we disagree with them.

I. Some studies show that the use of cell phones increases the risk of brain cancer. In addition, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies radiofrequency electromagnetic fields under category 2B as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Therefore it is best to use the precautionary principle and reduce our exposure to radio waves.
II. Certain individuals claim to suffer various health problems (stress, headaches, insomnia, heart flutter, etc.) due to the presence of RF in their immediate surroundings. This condition is commonly known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity. It is suggested that this condition will become much more widespread with the installation of smart meters.
III. The existing safety standards do not take into account biological effects other than heating of tissues close to the source of EMF. Furthermore they do not take into account the cumulative effects from long term exposure to RF.
IV. Contrary to cell phones and WiFi devices, individuals have no control over the emissions from smart meters, which occur up to 1500 times per day for 0.06 seconds at a time (that is a total of about 90 seconds per day). Furthermore, Hydro-Québec measures only the average intensity of the RF instead of peak intensity, which is much higher.
V. The decision to deploy the meters was made without a public debate, and notably, without a hearing before Quebec’s Board of public hearings (Bureau d’audiences publiques du Québec (BAPE)).

The actions and claims of several anti-RF groups are based in whole or in part on the above arguments. As scientists and engineers, we would like to explain certain important facts about the scientific process and scientific publications. It is true that a certain number of scientific studies have reported results that support each of the above points. But the publication of such results, even in a peer-reviewed journal, in no way constitutes proof of their validity. Such papers will often provoke a scientific debate in which other researchers attempt to replicate the results. It is only after experimental results have been confirmed by several independent research groups that a consensus eventually emerges in the scientific community.

READ FULL STATEMENT AT: http://www.activism.com/12727-Wireless-Technologies-For-an-Informed-and-Responsible-Debate-Guided-by-Sound-Science-Technologies-radiofrquences-pour-un-dbat-responsable-et-duqu-guid-par-la-dmarche-scientifique

Smart meter review finds rainwater sparked fires

Smart meter review finds rainwater sparked fires

Review says SaskPower had warning signs of problems with the meters
Reported by CJME staff
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Reports into Saskatchewan’s now-suspended smart meter program says customer safety wasn’t a high enough priority.

On Monday, the province released three separate smart meter reports. The province had called for the review in August after it suspended the program the month before.

Crown Investments Corporation (CIC) of Saskatchewan oversaw the review, which included reports by PrincewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Rittenburg & Associates and a summary of a report by Robertson Stromberg LLP.

The review finds that eight catastrophic failures where meters melted or burned and damaged homes can be tied back to SaskPower’s approach to the project.

Minister Bill Boyd said there was not enough consideration into customer safety.

“The program was rushed and there was warning signs that were overlooked and it was clear that there was no one that was in overall charge of the program,” he said.

Boyd assured the government is taking this report very seriously.

Rainwater sparks fires – not installation

The fires themselves have been tied to rainwater and contaminants getting inside the meter – not problems with installation or sockets. Rittenburg found evidence that the Sensus Generation 3.3 meters – which were used in Saskatchewan – do not properly seal out moisture and contaminants.

“There is no evidence that overvoltage caused the meters to fail destructively. In view of the above we are in the opinion that moisture and contaminants within the meter has been a major factors in the meter failures and ensuing fires,” said Rittenburg.

Moisture and smoke residue can be inside this meter, reported as a burnt meter. Photo via Ritenburg & Associates Ltd.

The fires took place from Jun. 16 to Aug. 9 in McLean, Pilot Butte, Regina, the Pasqua First Nation, Saskatoon and one home in the area of Strasbourg. Ritenburg’s report shows that each area saw an unually heavy amount of rain before the fires. SaskPower also found a high amount of dust within at least one of the meters.

CIC also pointed to several court cases involving Sensus meters and fires. Although SaskPower reacted to one such case involving fires in Philadelphia in October 2012, the review questions whether enough was done. PwC reported that SaskPower didn’t identify catastrophic failures like fires as a risk.

Photo via Ritenburg & Associates Ltd.

Procurement recommendation ignored

The CIC review summarizes that SaskPower did practice due diligence and follow its existing procurement policies and procedures. However, the review finds that the smart meter program should have prompted new formal processes as it was more complex.

SaskPower had received a recommendation to only buy small batches of meters in a “stepped procurement” process. That way, they could be installed gradually and SaskPower could watch for problems. However, the Crown first made a small purchase and then bought more than 100,000 meters and started installing them across the province.

Gary Young, Senior Litigator with Robertson Stromberg, said the report also noted there may have been a lack of leadership in the area of risk management.

“The procurement team did not give sufficient thought to the risk that a safety defect could lead to property damage for SaskPower customers or perhaps even to loss of life,” he said.

The review also reports that the smart meters remote reading function never worked properly. The meters still had to be read manually.

Going forward

Each report has included a set of recommendations including making sure all smart meters are removed in before spring 2015 to avoid possible issues with rainy weather. Other recommendations address SaskPower strengethening its risk-assessment process, and having more pictures taken of installations to help address future issues with a particular meter.

Following the release of the review, SaskPower CEO Robert Watson resigned from his position.

Follow on Twitter: @CJMENews

UK-Warning over smart meter costs!

Warning over smart meter costs

First published Monday 6 October 2014 in National News

A consumer group has called on the Government to take immediate action to cut the cost of the smart meter roll-out, warning it is in danger of “spiralling out of control”.

Which? has written to energy secretary Ed Davey ahead of his speech at the Liberal Democrat party conference calling on him “to act now” to reduce costs ahead of the official roll-out starting at the end of next year.

The £10.9 billion programme will see a smart meter installed in every UK home by 2020 in an effort to give people more control over their energy use.

Last month the public spending watchdog warned that the rollout will cost every home about £215 over the next 15 years but consumers will save just 3% annually on the average energy bill by 2030.

The Government estimated that consumers would save an average of just 2% on the average annual bill of £1,328 until 2020, rising to £43 a year or 3% by 2030, the Commons public accounts select committee said.

In its letter, Which? calls on the Government to explore the option of centralised procurement, warning that each supplier currently has its own buying plan despite the meters themselves being one of the biggest costs of the programme.

It also wants a more efficient approach to the buying and installation of meters in multi-occupancy buildings such as flats or high-rise buildings to reduce disruption and cost, warning that without central co-ordination there could be visits from multiple suppliers or incompatible equipment installed.

At present suppliers are required to take ‘all reasonable steps’ to install meters in every home by 2020, but Which? said a lack of guidance as to exactly what this meant was causing uncertainly among some suppliers and concern that there could be disproportionate costs for installing in ‘difficult’ properties.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Without immediate action the cost of the smart meter roll-out is in danger of spiralling out of control, while consumers foot the bill.

“The energy market is undergoing a full scale investigation, so the Government cannot expect competition alone will keep costs low.

 “Major reforms are needed to fix the ‘big six’ and restore trust in this broken market. At a time when energy bills continue to squeeze household budgets, the Government must urgently explore ways to ensure consumers get value for money from the smart meter roll-out.”