Town of Killian endures financial strain from problems with municipal water service

Town of Killian endures financial strain from problems with municipal water service

  • By John Dupont | Livingston Parish News
  • Updated 
KIillian Water Supply

Killian Mayor Peter Bock said he is exploring ways to make the town water system (seen in the background) run more in a more cost-efficient manner, but several hurdles remain before the town can meet that goal.

John Dupont | The News

 

KILLIAN – The lack of available funds to repair a functionally obsolete meter-reading system has left the Town of Killian at an impasse on how to determine an accurate fee for water services which are draining the town coffers, according to Mayor Peter Bock

The meters represent only a part of the town’s problems, which have included maintenance costs which cost the cash-strapped municipality between $5,000 and $10,000 per month.

The added costs have led Bock to consider options to ease the drain of funds.

“Are we losing money? Yes. Is it getting worse every month? Yes. And we have to address it somehow.”

A major part of the problem stems from inoperable meters, which have left the town in the dark on how much money it makes – or loses – from the system.

The flat fee of $26 per month comes as a bonanza for water customers in this town of 1,100 in the southeastern end of Livingston Parish. The flat rate for the 400 or so meters in the area and the costs of repairing the damaged meters have combined to deliver a double-whammy to the town coffers.

The town in 2010 acquired the “smart meter” wireless systems, which forwarded the data through a mobile system. The wireless system came into play the same time the town upgraded the water pipes and analog meters through a $100,000 grant from the Louisiana Government Assistance Program.

Problems with the meters surfaced approximately three years ago.

“It’s been at least two years since we’ve gotten anything from the smart meter,” Bock said. “We basically gave up on it.”

The town bought the “smart meter” system – a PTS-5 Tesla – from Infinity, a Texas-based firm which went bankrupt before it was acquired by RG-3 Meter Co. of Longview, Texas.

The town could get remanufactured analog meters for $100 apiece, but funds keep that idea from moving forward.

“You still have to install them, and who on earth is going to install meters for less than one hundred dollars,” he said. “The meters are difficult to find and nothing was done uniform, and then how do you afford to have someone read your meters?”

The lack of operative meters disqualify the town from securing federal grant funding. LGAP funds are out of the question, meanwhile, because of the state’s budget crisis.

If the town would continue the meter system, the options on how to read meters would be limited.

The town would likely contract the meter-reading and go back to a quarterly billing – or even a six-month system – because of the added costs from a monthly system.

Customers who own camps in the area already pay a lump sum and allow the town to pull from the money to pay it off, but the extended billing system could also cause the number of delinquencies to multiply.

“You’d have people whose water bills would go from twenty-five dollars to one hundred dollars,” Bock said. “The number of delinquent bills could escalate quickly, and then we’d have an even bigger problem.”

Limited funds may require the town to outsource water service, but not many options exist.

Additional mandates the federal government imposed – including Clean Water Act issues and monthly reports – have forced many of the small suppliers out of business, Bock said.

“All of those things are good things, but they just did away with the smaller entities,” he said.

Then-Mayor Gillis Windham sought grants through the Rural Water Act which yielded a $500,000 grant to the town for a water plant, but the federal money also comes with a myriad of regulations and upgrade requirements.

A tie-in to another system for backup is among the requirements. It is similar to a deal the Town of Springfield has kept in place with French Settlement Water Co., even though it has started its own system.

An iron-rich content in the water will require chemical abatement. Unlike chlorine, it’s not on a steady rise.

But the costs for an increase in chemicals could pose a further drain on the town coffers – enough, in fact, to take an unprecedented step.

“We may have to go into reserves for the first time ever for the water department, possibly next month” Bock said. “I don’t want to do that, and the ball is already rolling on how to get out of this.”

Bock cannot give an estimate on how much the system has lost.

A rate increase of $2.00 yielded very little. The town thought the increase would get the system over the hump, but the added costs and uncertainty over an accurate fee for water service makes it difficult to determine how much money it has lost, Bock said.

 https://www.livingstonparishnews.com/town-of-killian-endures-financial-strain-from-problems-with-municipal/article_94242362-0532-11e8-b352-175ea97d0e48.html

MICHIGAN-Rep. Glenn: DTE Energy shutoffs show more electricity choice needed in Michigan

Rep. Glenn: DTE Energy shutoffs show more electricity choice needed in Michigan

Categories: Glenn News,News

State Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Williams Township), chair of the House Energy Policy Committee, said testimony today about improper shutoffs affecting DTE Energy customers shows more customer choice is needed in Michigan.

Current Michigan law restricts alternative electricity suppliers to 10 percent of the state’s market, which Glenn said is an unreasonable and artificial cap harming electricity customers.

“If customers were unhappy with DTE service – if this were any other business – they would be free to choose another provider,” Glenn said. “In this case, customers don’t have that freedom of choice because the state as a matter of policy has taken it away from them. The state has created a government-privileged monopoly guaranteeing DTE and Consumers Energy 90 percent of the market, and we’re hearing from unhappy customers as a result.”

The Energy Policy Committee today heard testimony from DTE officials about recent shutoffs. Earlier this month, the committee heard testimony from utility customers who said they paid bills regularly and on time but still had their power shut off.

The Michigan Public Service Commission has said billing and shutoff issues have arisen since DTE’s transition to a new billing system last year.

DTE officials testified that errors in the new billing platform resulted in about 5,300 incidents of wrongful disconnection. The utility said 99 percent of the wrongful disconnections were customers whose accounts were in arrears and had received some notice about non-payment, but not the duplication of notice required by the MPSC.

Glenn noted a significant number of shutoffs were due to other errors, affecting customers who had paid their bills.

Some of the shutoffs have affected customers who do not want “smart meter” technology installed on their property. Glenn said he will propose changes to House Bill 4220, which he introduced last year, to allow Michigan residents to opt out of the technology and avoid any potential shutoff issues. Glenn said he will consider amendments to allow cost-free opting out for customers who self-report their utility usage.

http://gophouse.org/rep-glenn-dte-energy-shutoffs-show-electricity-choice-needed-michigan/

Utility raises its fee on SM opt-out

Decision affects 20 CU customers

Posted 

About 20 Cleveland Utilities customers who refused to have high-tech AMI-AMR electric meters installed in their homes three years ago will face an increase in their monthly opt-out fee effective Jan. 1.

Currently paying $10 per month not to have a so-called “smart meter” connected to their homes, the handful of customers will now be paying $13.50 by vote of the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities.

“When we initially installed AMI meters, we had some individuals, that for different reasons, did not [want] the meters,” Ken Webb, CU president and CEO, told utility board members during a formal session Thursday.

At that time, some 29 CU Electric Division customers opposed having the automated meters hooked up to their homes. Reasons cited included variations on privacy, health and accuracy.

In order to complete the lengthy and expensive conversion of its 30,000 manually read electric meters, CU initially bypassed the customers opposing the move and continued to read their meters through the use of over-the-road routes.

In time, and as the conversion neared its completion, the local utility developed an opt-out fee program in which any customer refusing to use the AMI-AMR technology would be assessed a $10 per month opt-out fee.

Now, three years later the amount is increasing.

“We said at that time [in 2012] that as part of the fee we would review the costs on a regular basis, and to see if [the fee] is continuing to cover the actual cost for us to go out and read the meters manually the way we did for years,” Webb told board members in reviewing the history of the smart-meter conversions.

He said the most recent evaluation was conducted by Marshall Stinnett, chief financial officer.

“I [first] looked at it right at 18 months ago,” Stinnett told the board. “It was still fairly in line. We could have adjusted it a little at that point, but it was so small that we said we’d look at it again going forward.”

He added, “As I re-evaluated it, I took a look at it as far as the number of customers we now have on the opt-out program. I looked at the costs associated with doing that manual read; and, [I looked] at the actual fixed costs that we have associated with doing that.”

The end result, he concluded, is a fee increase of $3.50 per month.

“These costs are driven by the number of customers that want to be in the [opt-out] program,” he said. “When I looked at it this last time, there were 29. Now, we’re actually down to 20.”

Stinnett said the latest dropout came last month.

“It [the number] continues to change, and because of that we have to re-evaluate to assure that all our other customers are not subsidizing a cost for others to be a part of that program,” the CFO explained.

This type of automated technology came under fire several years ago when more and more utilities began embracing it. That’s because opponents feared that utility companies eventually could use the meters to control energy consumption inside homes, as well as to monitor homeowners’ energy-use habits. This was considered an invasion of privacy.

Others who opposed smart meters claimed health hazards associated with increased risks for cancer. Others doubted the accuracy of such automated technology in measuring customers’ energy use.

Utility companies wanted to convert to higher tech meters because of cost, efficiency and the environment.

The use of AMI-AMR meters, that are read by electronic remote via fiber optics, is supported by the utility industry because it saves power companies money on payroll, fuel and vehicle maintenance, all three of which are made possible by the elimination of manual meter-reading routes, according to published reports.

Utility companies also point to the efficiencies of AMI-AMR technology; that is, identifying the source and location of power interruptions, and the efficiency of automated reading. Companies also point to the value to the environment of taking more vehicles off the road.

When Cleveland Utilities began converting its fleet of electric meters, the change was accepted by most of its customers. However, a small number cited concerns and asked CU for options.

The opt-out fee was one of those options.

Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, who represents the City Council on the utility board, asked Stinnett if the few remaining in the opt-out program still oppose the meters for the same reasons.

“I’ve spoken with two in the last month and they’ve given different answers,” Stinnett said. “Some are for health concerns, and some are privacy concerns. Some have had comments about accuracy.”

Stinnett said CU has worked to help customers understand how smart meter technology works and that it poses no greater threat to customers’ health than cellphones and microwaves.

“… At the end of the day, it’s still their choice to make so we honor that,” the CFO said.

Asked by board vice chairman Eddie Cartwright what other utilities are doing to accommodate smart-meter opponents, Webb answered, “It’s all over the board. Some are not allowing the [opt-out] program at all.”

Cartwright said he wasn’t making a recommendation, but he wondered if eliminating the opt-out program altogether would simplify the complexities of establishing a fee and softening any ill will created by raising it periodically.

“One thing we’re hearing from our customers is, ‘I want options,’” Webb said. “This is an option that we’re offering. Now, options can sometimes come with costs. We just don’t feel like it’s fair for other customers who have the meters to absorb any additional cost [caused by customers not wanting the smart meters].”

Board Chairman Aubrey Ector asked if any new CU customers had walked in recently to ask about opting out of smart-meter use.

“I had one just last month,” Stinnett said. “She moved from another service territory … her reasoning was health.”

“Did she have a cellphone?” Rowland asked.

“She did,” Stinnett replied. “And I also discussed that with her. We try to give them all the information, but at the end of the day it is their choice.”

Like Webb, Stinnett said CU continues to review the opt-out program and its accompanying fee. But there are no guarantees for the future.

“As we move forward and we look into the future of rate designs, that option might not be there,” Stinnett said. “But currently, we are able to give them that option.”

Board members authorized the fee increase on a 5-0 vote after a motion by Joe Cate and second by Cartwright. Others approving the hike were Chari Buckner, Ector and Rowland.

Webb and Stinnett confirmed CU will review the opt-out program, and accompanying fee, each year.

 

http://clevelandbanner.com/stories/utility-raises-its-fee-on-sm-opt-out,23435

Ban student cellphones in Mass. public schools

Ban student cellphones in Mass. public schools

Sentinel & Enterprise

UPDATED:   01/29/2018 08:53:37 AM EST

Besides teachers spending less time teaching in classrooms, one of the biggest problems in student learning — and the overall mental health of children — is the overarching addiction to cell phones.

If Massachusetts is serious about what is taking place in classrooms, the state Board of Education should enact a blanket ban on all cell phones coming into the classroom.

The problem extends beyond the distraction and disturbances of buzzing and ringing cell phones when a teacher is trying to deliver a lesson plan. While recent studies show that Americans are spending more time on their electronic devices, the emerging problem rests with children becoming wedded to screened deevices for hours on end. It’s unhealthy.

Cell phone usage is taking up chunks of time previously reserved for engaging in social skill-building. Simple — and normal — after-school play time with friends is becoming less frequent. Experts say social development skills that form the basis to a fulfilling adolescence and lead to successful adulthood are being delayed or ignored.

But let’s get back to the classroom. A Pew Research Study found that 95 percent of Americans now own a cellphone of some kind, and 77 percent own a smartphone. Children as young as 7 years old are regularly carrying cellphones with them on their first day of school!

Cellphones should be used in moderation by the younger set. Sharing face-to-face experiences with classmates, learning to converse, work in teams and resolve disputes should be balanced with time spent on screen devices.

According to child psychologists, overuse of cellphones can create isolation; a student goes home, jumps on the bed, and begins texting with friends or playing electronic games. The lack of physical recreation can lead to obesity and even depression.

In the December issue of Atlantic magazine, San Diego State psychology professor Jean M. Twenge offers a chilling account of the behavioral effects of iPhones on the post-Millennials generation. Her 25 years of research leads to a sad pronouncement: These adolescents, who feel more comfortable online than out socializing, are on the brink of a mental health crisis. The article, “Has the Smartphone Destroyed a Generation?”, concludes that “the more time teens spend looking at screens (and social media), the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression.”

Twenge’s surveys show that kids are spending six to nine hours a week on social media alone. In turn, they’re not hanging out with friends, in no rush to learn how to drive (independence was a rite of passage for younger generations), date less, and are more likely to feel lonely.

People — and governments — are taking action. French President Emmanuel Macrom made banning cellphones in school a campaign pledge. In December, the French Parliament enacted a cellphone use ban for students 15 years old or younger. “These days the children don’t play at break time anymore; they are just all in front of their smartphones, and from an educational point of view, that’s a problem, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told The Telegraph of London.

The is not only a school issue. Parents should be monitoring how much time their children spend on screened devices.

In our view, though, Massachusetts can get a head start by enacting a law that tells kids to put down their phones in school.

Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/editorial/ci_31627505/ban-student-cellphones#ixzz55iXUe1Pm

 

Millimeter Waves Travel More Than 10 Kilometers in Rural Virginia 5G Experiment

Millimeter Waves Travel More Than 10 Kilometers in Rural Virginia 5G Experiment

NYU students Yunchou Xing and George MacCartney, pictured outside of a van in a rural Virginia field on a clear summer day, adjust the horn antenna of their receiver to find the strongest signal during a millimeter wave measurement campaign in August.
Photo: Hangsong Yan
Yunchou Xing (left) and George MacCartney (right) adjust the horn antenna of their receiver to find the strongest signal during a millimeter wave measurement campaign in August. They are within line of sight of a transmitter stationed 4.3 kilometers away at the home of their NYU professor, Ted Rappaport.

A key 5G technology got an important test over the summer in an unlikely place. In August, a group of students from New York University packed up a van full of radio equipment and drove for ten hours to the rural town of Riner in southwest Virginia. Once there, they erected a transmitter on the front porch of the mountain home of their professor, Ted Rappaport, and pointed it out over patches of forest toward a blue-green horizon.

Then, the students spent two long days driving their van up and down local roads to find 36 suitable test locations in the surrounding hills. An ideal pull-off would have ample parking space on a public lot, something not always easily available on rural backroads. At each location, they set up their receiver and searched the mountain air for millimeter waves emanating from the equipment stacked on the front porch.

To their delight, the group found that the waves could travel more than 10 kilometers in this rural setting, even when a hill or knot of trees was blocking their most direct route to the receiver. The team detected millimeter waves at distances up to 10.8 kilometers at 14 spots that were within line of sight of the transmitter, and recorded them up to 10.6 kilometers away at 17 places where their receiver was shielded behind a hill or leafy grove. They achieved all this while broadcasting at 73 Gigahertz (GHz) with minimal power—less than 1 watt.

“I was surprised we exceeded 10 kilometers with a few tens of milliwatts,” Rappaport says. “I expected we’d be able to go a few kilometers in non-line-of-sight but we were able to go beyond ten.”

The 73 GHz frequency band is much higher than the sub-6 GHz frequencies that have traditionally been used for cellular signals. In June, the Federal Communications Commission opened 11 GHz of spectrum in the millimeter wave range (which spans 30 to 300 GHz) to carriers developing 5G technologies that will provide more bandwidth for more customers.

Rappaport says their results show that millimeter waves could potentially be used in rural macrocells, or for large cellular base stations. Until now, millimeter waves have delivered broadband Internet through fixed wireless, in which information travels between two stationary points, but they have never been used for cellular.

Robert Heath, a wireless expert at the University of Texas at Austin, says the NYU group’s work adds another dimension to 5G development. “I think it’s valuable in the sense that a lot of people in 5G are not thinking about the extended ranges in rural areas, they’re thinking that range is, incorrectly, limited at high carrier frequencies,” Heath says.

In the past, Rappaport’s group has shown that a receiver positioned at street level can reliably pick up millimeter waves broadcast at 28 GHz and 73 GHz at a distance of up to 200 meters in New York City using less than 1 watt of transmitter power—even if the path to the transmitter is blocked by a towering row of buildings.

Before those results, many had thought it wasn’t possible to use millimeter waves for cellular networks in cities or in rural regions because the waves were too easily absorbed by molecules in the air and couldn’t penetrate windows or buildings. But Rappaport’s work showed that the tendency of these signals to reflect off of urban surfaces including streets and building facades was reliable enough to provide consistent network coverage at street level—outside, at least.

Whether or not their newest study will mean the same for millimeter waves in rural areas remains to be seen. Rappaport says the NYU team is one of the first to explore this potential for rural cellular, and he feels strongly that it could soon be incorporated into commercial systems for a variety of purposes including wide-band backhaul and as a replacement for fiber.

“The community has always been mistaken, thinking that millimeter waves don’t go as far in clear weather and free space—they travel just as far as today’s lower frequencies if antennas have the same physical size,” Rappaport says. “I think it’s definitely viable for mobile.”

Others aren’t convinced. Gabriel Rebeiz, a professor of electrical and computer engineering who leads wireless research at the University of California, San Diego, points out that the NYU group ran their tests on two clear days. Rain can degrade 73-GHz signals at a rate of 20 decibels per kilometer, which is equivalent to reducing signal strength 100-fold for every kilometer traveled.

“Rain at 73 GHz has significant, significant, unbelievable attenuation properties,” he says. “At these distances, the second it starts raining—I mean, misting, if it just mists—you lose your signal.”

Rebeiz says signals would hold up better at 28 GHz, only degrading 6 to 10-fold over a range of 10 kilometers. Millimeter waves will ultimately be more useful in cities, he says,  but he doubts they will ever make sense for rural cellular networks: “It’s not going to happen. Period.”

George R. MacCartney Jr., a fourth-year Ph.D student in wireless engineering at NYU, thinks millimeter waves could perhaps be used to serve rural cellular networks in five or 10 years, once the technology has matured. One challenge is that future antennas must aim a signal with some precision to make sure it arrives at the user. That’s because millimeter waves reflect off of objects, and can take multiple paths from transmitter to receiver. But as for millimeter waves making their rural cellular debut in the next few years—“I’d say I’m a little skeptical just because you’d have to have a lot of small antenna elements and you’d have to do a lot of beamforming and beam steering,” he says.

By collecting rural measurements for millimeter waves, the NYU experiment was designed to evaluate a propagation model that the standards group called the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has put forth for simulating millimeter waves in rural areas. That model, known as 3GPP TR 38.900 Release 14, tries to figure out the strength of a millimeter wave signal once it’s emitted from a rural base station according to factors such as height of the cell tower, height of the average user, height of any buildings in the area, street width, and the frequency used to broadcast it.

The NYU group suggests that because this model was “hastily adopted” from an earlier one used for lower frequencies, it’s ill-suited to accurately predict how higher frequencies behave. Therefore, according Rappaport’s team, the model will likely predict greater losses at longer distances than actually occur. Rappaport prefers what’s called a close-in (CI) free-space reference distance model, which better fits his measurements. A representative of 3GPP was not available for comment.

In October, Rappaport presented the group’s work at the Association of Computing Machinery’s MobiCom conference and their latest study will be published in the proceedings. In the meantime, it is posted to arXiv.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/telecom/wireless/millimeter-waves-travel-more-than-10-kilometers-in-rural-virginia

Consumer Watch: 5G Cellphone Towers Signal Renewed Concerns Over Impacts On Health

by Julie Watts and Abigail SterlingBy Julie Watts

OAKLAND (KPIX) — Is a cell tower going up in your neighborhood? If it’s not now, it may soon.

Wireless carriers are installing millions of them across the country to enable the new, faster 5G cellphone technology. While many are looking forward to faster cell service, many are also asking: Are there legitimate health concerns?

That question is keeping John Hiestand up at night. Outside his bedroom window he can see a new pole where Verizon will soon install a next-generation cell tower.

“This would be a big tower generating lots of RF outside of our bedroom window 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for many years,” he said.

It’s called a “small cell” or “distributed antenna system.” The industry says they’re safe. Many in Piedmont aren’t convinced – including the Hiestands.

“Our daughter is a cancer survivor,” John Hiestand explained.

Thirteen-year-old Sophia Hiestand has been one of many petitioning the city council to deny this cell tower.

“I mostly talked about my cancer and how it affected me, even though you’re not supposed to talk about health issues, I still did,” Hiestand said.

However, according to federal law the city simply can’t consider health concerns. It’s outlined in a small section of the Telecommunications Act, based on science from 1996, back when we were still talking on cellphones that looked like bricks.

“I find it really unfair,” said Hiestand.

If cities do consider health, cell companies can sue them.

So, with few legal arguments to deny a tower, they’re popping up outside bedroom windows and school campuses, despite objections from across the country.

“5G can be a tremendous boom to California but only if it can be put up quickly and easily,” said Hayward Assembly member Bill Quirk. Quirk co-authored legislation that would make it even harder for cities like Piedmont to object to a tower.

“You wouldn’t have to go through the planning commission, through the city council,” Quirk explained.

Quirk, a former NASA scientist, says he may resurrect the bill that was recently vetoed by governor Brown.

“I know scientifically that putting up these cell phone towers is safe,” he said.

But the International Association of Frefighters disagrees. It began opposing cell towers on fire stations, after firefighters complained of health problems.

“These firefighters developed symptoms,” says Dr. Gunnar Heuser who conducted a pilot study on firefighters at a station with cell towers.

“The symptoms included problems with memory, problems with intermittent confusion, problems with weakness,” Heuser said.

Heuser says their brain scans suggest even low-level RF can cause cell damage and he worries about more vulnerable groups like kids.

“We found abnormal brain function in all of the firefighters we examined,” Heuser said.

So, following lobbying by firefighters, assemblyman Quirk and his co-author exempted fire stations from their bill, making them one place cell companies couldn’t put a tower.

“This is the first piece of legislation that anyone is aware of where somebody got an exemption because they were concerned about health. Did they tell you at all about the study?” we asked the assemblyman.

Quirk’s response: “All I know is that when the firefighters ask, I do what they ask me to do.”

“Because they are strong lobbyists?” we asked him. His response: “Yes.”

“So if school teachers and parents had a strong lobby and they ask you to pass something that would prevent these from going up near schools, would you do that?” we asked Quirk.

His response: “If I couldn’t get the votes any other way!”

We next spoke to Tony Stefani, founder of the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation.

“It’s not only the firefighters, it’s the people that live within the vicinity of these towers,” Stefani said.

Anthony Stefani started with the San Francisco Fire Department in 1974. The 28-year veteran retired as the captain of Rescue 1 in 2003.

Stefani notes that current regulations don’t take into account continuous low-level exposure from these small cells 24-hours a day. He also says some fellow firefighters reported that their symptoms disappeared when they move to a station without a tower.

“More of these studies have to be done,” he says.

Many international scientists agree. More than 230 scientists from 41 nations — who have published over 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on electromagnetic fields and biology and health — have signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal. 

They cite “serious concerns” about “increasing exposure to EMF” based on “numerous recent scientific publications” linking low levels of wireless radiation to health effects.

They’re calling for stronger regulations, disclosure about wireless industry ties to regulatory agencies, and they want publicly funded studies on the health effects of EMF emitting devices/base stations (i.e. cell towers).

“I do not believe that there is any health impact on firefighters or anyone else, from cells, period!” Assemblyman Quirk asserted. However he added, “I think doing more studies is always a good thing.”

Considering the  the circumstances, we asked Quirk: “Do you think that maybe you should consider putting a pause on legislation that speeds up these towers until there is definitive evidence that there is no harm?”

His’s response: “We can do a lot of studies and there are people right now believe it or not who are sure the world is flat.”

In a statement the CTIA says it defers to the experts when it comes to the safety of cellular telephones and antennas:

“According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society and numerous other international and U.S. organizations and health experts, the scientific evidence shows no known health risk due to the RF energy emitted by cellphones.

Likewise, the FCC monitors scientific research on a regular basis and its standards for RF exposure are based on recommended guidelines adopted by U.S. and international standard-setting bodies. That’s why the FCC has determined that all wireless phones legally sold in the United States are “safe.” This scientific consensus has stayed the same even after the NTP’s release in 2016 of its partial findings in a study involving cellphones and lab animals.

The FCC also sets exposure limits for cell site antennas that transmit signals to phones. Those limits, like the limits for cell phones, are even more conservative than standards adopted by leading international standards bodies such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

The FCC states that typical ground exposures to base station antennas are “hundreds to thousands of times less than the FCC’s limits for safe exposure” and “there is no reason to believe that such [antennas] could constitute a potential health hazard” to nearby residents.”

The World Heath Organization’s  International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified RF radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Though the cell phone industry stresses there are “no known health risks.”

What about the unknown? Well, back in Piedmont the Hiestands don’t want to wait around to find out.

“We are going to get some meters. We’re going to measure the micro-radiation today and then when the cell towers go up, we can measure it and see how dangerous it really is,” said John Hiestand. He says if he has to they’ll move.

“For my daughter’s health, definitely,” he said.

Piedmont was able to temporarily block permits for some small cell towers but now the company installing them for Verizon, Crown Castle, is suing the city.

Meanwhile new research set to be published next month could radically alter the debate. For the first time it establishes a scientific link between RF radiation and cancer in lab rats:

National Toxicology Program

In response, the Chief Medical Director of the American Cancer Society said this first-of-its-kind government study “marks a paradigm shift in our understanding of radiation and cancer risk.”

    • 28 JAN 18

    A message from Stop Smart Meters New Zealand

    From Katherine Smith:

    Dear Friends,

    Latest updates from http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz

    Ongoing access to safe landline phones in many parts of New Zealand is now threatened.  Please read this important action alert email and help us save this tried and true technology.

    Kia ora and welcome to the latest newsletter from Stop Smart Meters NZ

    We have important news to share with you:

    1) New legislation could phase out access to safe copper-based landline phones (and phase out inexpensive hardwired internet access) for many New Zealanders.

    Submissions are needed NOW.

    Our landline phone system allows most people in NZ to choose to have a safe corded landline phone and an inexpensive wired internet connection. This is under threat by new legislation and YOUR help is needed NOW to help keep access to this important, safe, proven technology.  Please see this link for details and please share the link with everyone you know.

    http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/save-nzs-landline-phones-action-needed-now/

    We need literally thousands of submissions to be sent within the next few days on this issue as submissions close at 5 PM on Friday 2 February.

    Making a submission can take as little as 5 minutes of your time and the link below provides a “how to” guide for making a submission.  (There is also more information later in this newsletter.)

    http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/save-nzs-landline-phones-action-needed-now/

    A template submission that you can personalise and send to save time is available at this link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/template-submission-on/ (Information on making a template submission is also included later in this newsletter.)

    Save NZ’s landline phones – your help is needed NOW
    Introduction:

    It’s the number you dial in an emergency and for most New Zealanders it has been a reliable home phone that they have used if they have ever faced a medical emergency or needed to call the Fire Service or the police. Most New Zealanders cannot remember ever having lived without a basic home phone, thanks to the reliable copper-based infrastructure that has been installed all around New Zealand over the course of many, many decades. Now, a new bill threatens continuing access to a copper-based landline home phone and safe, low cost wired internet access for people living in many parts of New Zealand.

    The “Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill” could result in copper landline services being phased out in areas of New Zealand where fibre optic cables have been installed.  If the bill is passed in its current form this bill it would deprive people of the basic home phone service and safe wired internet connection. The entire  bill may be read at this link:
    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_74818/telecommunications-new-regulatory-framework-amendment

    The clause of the bill that proposes to deregulate the copper phone line infrastructure in parts of NZ where fibre optic infrastructure has been installed and could result in copper based infrastructure being phased out is below:

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2017/0293/latest/DLM7393574.html

    The parliamentary website link that details how to make a submission is below:
    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/make-a-submission/document/52SCED_SCF_BILL_74818/telecommunications-new-regulatory-framework-amendment

    Here is a brief guide to how to make a submission on the bill:
    Please take five minutes to make a submission before 5 PM on February 2 2018.  It is extremely important that as many people as possible express their opinions on the importance of maintaining landline phones.

    Open a new document on your computer, or get some writing paper. Start your document with your name, “Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill”, and “I oppose any change to NZ’s telecommunications regulations that could mean that people who live in areas where fibre optic infrastructure has been installed would lose access to a safe and reliable copper cable based landline phone line and internet access service”.

    You can then write as little or as much as you want, sharing your views about why it is important for people to be able to have access to a copper phone line.
    If you would support 30 year moratorium on the removal of copper landline infrastructure, please state this in your submission.
    If you need ideas for your submission many reasons why reasons why copper based phone lines are important for a safe home phone line and inexpensive internet access are listed at this link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/reasons-oppose-legislation-reduce-access-copper-landline-phone-system/

    NB: If you are really pressed for time there is a template submission that you can download and personalise from this LINK of the Stop Smart Meters NZ website.

    If you wish to appear before the Committee to speak to your submission, then state that also. (NB: Speaking before the committee is optional).

    If you’re emailing your submission, ATTACH your submission document (step 1) to the email, and in the email itself, put the heading: Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill” and your details: Name of Individual / Family / Organisation, Address, Phone, Signature. Don’t put your personal details in the attached submission document as your submission is posted on the government website.

    Send your submission to: edsi@parliament.govt.nz
    If you are emailing your submission, please send an email through the Stop Smart Meters NZ contact form to let us know that you have sent a submission.
    If you’re posting your submission, once you have completed step 1, do a covering letter (separate piece of paper) with the heading “Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill”, and your details: Name of Individual / Family / Organisation, Address, Phone, Signature. Don’t put your personal details on your actual submission (step 1) as your submission is posted on the government website (but not the covering letter)
    7. Post to: Matt Lamb, Committee Secretariat, Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160.

    Thank you in advance for making a submission!
    The closing date for submissions is 5 PM February 2.

    SOURCE: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/save-nzs-landline-phones-action-needed-now/

    Template submission

    NB:  Ideally it is better to write a submission from scratch rather than use a template as non template submissions generally carry more weight with government select committees than template submissions. However numbers also count so if you do not have time to write a submission from scratch please do personalised the template submission below and send it.

    Below is a template submission that you can use.  Please note that the text in bold italics is designed to edited out when you add your own details to personalise the submission.

    Template submission

    Your name here

    “Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill”

    I oppose any change to telecommunications legislation or regulations that could make copper landline phones and/or internet access via the copper landline system unavailable to New Zealanders.

    The copper landline system is a proven and safe technology that is better for people’s health than wireless systems.

    [Please add a personal comment here]

    For example:
    * Is it important to you to keep access to a landline home phone in case of a medical emergency?
    * Do you have a friend or relative whose life was saved by being able to make a 111 call from their home phone?
    * Are you on a low income and could not afford to replace perfectly good corded home phones and install fibre optic cabling in your home in order to have a corded VOIP phone if the copper landline service were no longer available in your area?
    * Are you planning to start a family and want to ensure that you maintain access to a reliable copper landline service so that you can have a safe corded landline phone in your home for use in pregnancy
    * Do you have children and want to ensure that you maintain access to a reliable copper landline service so that you can have a safe corded landline phone in your home for their use?
    * Are you a business owner who wants to help meet your obligations to workers to provide a safe working environment by having safe copper corded phones available for their use on your premises?

    The government needs to ensure that regulations are in place to protect access to copper landline phones in New Zealand and ensure that the infrastructure for this service remains well maintained and available at an affordable price.

    There should be a thirty year moratorium on the removal of copper landline infrastructure,

    Contractors installing fibre optic cabling in existing homes or buildings should be prohibited from removing internal copper phone wiring so that a dual system remains available for the use of the current (or future) house/building  owner or tenants.

    Installation of the copper landline system should be mandated to be installed in new housing areas and new commercial developments.

    To reduce the burden of illness on individuals, families and taxpayers, the use of copper landline based phones and safe hard wired internet should be encouraged by the government to minimise the avoidable health risks from unnecessary use of cellular phones.  Likewise, the government should encourage the use of hardwired computers for internet access.

    I would/would not (please delete one of these options depending upon your preference) like to speak to this submission.

    Yours sincerely,

    You can attach your submission to an email that includes your name, (and organisation name or family name if you are making a submission on behalf of an organisation or family members who do not have internet access) and contact details.

    Email your submission to: edsi@parliament.govt.nz

    Please also email through the Contact Form to let Stop Smart Meters NZ to let us know that you have sent a submission, http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/contact-us/

    if you feel you need more information about making a submission, this is the link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/save-nzs-landline-phones-action-needed-now/

    Thank you for reading this email.

    Your support on the smart meter issue and your help to  retain the safe and reliable copper based landline system is most appreciated.

    There are now Facebook pages for Stop Smart Meters NZ and Save Our Landlines NZ. If you are on FB, please like and follow these pages.

    https://www.facebook.com/Stop-Smart-Meters-NZ-1211462805538548/

    https://www.facebook.com/Save-Our-Landlines-NZ-1626155717464225/

    Wishing you all the best for a safe and healthy 2018,

    Katherine Smith and The Stop Smart Meters NZ Team

    follow on Twitter | friend on Facebook | forward to a friend
    Copyright © 2018 Stop Smart Meters NZ All rights reserved.
    You are receiving this mail because you subscribed at http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz.
    Our mailing address is:
    Stop Smart Meters
    PO Box 44-128
    Auckland, Point Chevalier 1246
    New Zealand

    We have important news to share with you:

    1) New legislation could phase out access to safe copper-based landline phones (and phase out inexpensive hardwired internet access) for many New Zealanders.

    Submissions are needed NOW.

    Our landline phone system allows most people in NZ to choose to have a safe corded landline phone and an inexpensive wired internet connection. This is under threat by new legislation and YOUR help is needed NOW to help keep access to this important, safe, proven technology.  Please see this link for details and please share the link with everyone you know.

    http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/save-nzs-landline-phones-action-needed-now/

    We need literally thousands of submissions to be sent within the next few days on this issue as submissions close at 5 PM on Friday 2 February.

    Making a submission can take as little as 5 minutes of your time and the link below provides a “how to” guide for making a submission.  (There is also more information later in this newsletter.)

    http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/save-nzs-landline-phones-action-needed-now/

    A template submission that you can personalise and send to save time is available at this link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/template-submission-on/ (Information on making a template submission is also included later in this newsletter.)

    Save NZ’s landline phones – your help is needed NOW
    Introduction:

    It’s the number you dial in an emergency and for most New Zealanders it has been a reliable home phone that they have used if they have ever faced a medical emergency or needed to call the Fire Service or the police. Most New Zealanders cannot remember ever having lived without a basic home phone, thanks to the reliable copper-based infrastructure that has been installed all around New Zealand over the course of many, many decades. Now, a new bill threatens continuing access to a copper-based landline home phone and safe, low cost wired internet access for people living in many parts of New Zealand.

    The “Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill” could result in copper landline services being phased out in areas of New Zealand where fibre optic cables have been installed.  If the bill is passed in its current form this bill it would deprive people of the basic home phone service and safe wired internet connection. The entire  bill may be read at this link:
    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_74818/telecommunications-new-regulatory-framework-amendment

    The clause of the bill that proposes to deregulate the copper phone line infrastructure in parts of NZ where fibre optic infrastructure has been installed and could result in copper based infrastructure being phased out is below:

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2017/0293/latest/DLM7393574.html

    The parliamentary website link that details how to make a submission is below:
    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/make-a-submission/document/52SCED_SCF_BILL_74818/telecommunications-new-regulatory-framework-amendment

    Here is a brief guide to how to make a submission on the bill:
    Please take five minutes to make a submission before 5 PM on February 2 2018.  It is extremely important that as many people as possible express their opinions on the importance of maintaining landline phones.

    Open a new document on your computer, or get some writing paper. Start your document with your name, “Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill”, and “I oppose any change to NZ’s telecommunications regulations that could mean that people who live in areas where fibre optic infrastructure has been installed would lose access to a safe and reliable copper cable based landline phone line and internet access service”.

    You can then write as little or as much as you want, sharing your views about why it is important for people to be able to have access to a copper phone line.
    If you would support 30 year moratorium on the removal of copper landline infrastructure, please state this in your submission.
    If you need ideas for your submission many reasons why reasons why copper based phone lines are important for a safe home phone line and inexpensive internet access are listed at this link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/reasons-oppose-legislation-reduce-access-copper-landline-phone-system/

    NB: If you are really pressed for time there is a template submission that you can download and personalise from this LINK of the Stop Smart Meters NZ website.

    If you wish to appear before the Committee to speak to your submission, then state that also. (NB: Speaking before the committee is optional).

    If you’re emailing your submission, ATTACH your submission document (step 1) to the email, and in the email itself, put the heading: Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill” and your details: Name of Individual / Family / Organisation, Address, Phone, Signature. Don’t put your personal details in the attached submission document as your submission is posted on the government website.

    Send your submission to: edsi@parliament.govt.nz
    If you are emailing your submission, please send an email through the Stop Smart Meters NZ contact form to let us know that you have sent a submission.
    If you’re posting your submission, once you have completed step 1, do a covering letter (separate piece of paper) with the heading “Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill”, and your details: Name of Individual / Family / Organisation, Address, Phone, Signature. Don’t put your personal details on your actual submission (step 1) as your submission is posted on the government website (but not the covering letter)
    7. Post to: Matt Lamb, Committee Secretariat, Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160.

    Thank you in advance for making a submission!
    The closing date for submissions is 5 PM February 2.

    SOURCE: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/save-nzs-landline-phones-action-needed-now/

    Template submission

    NB:  Ideally it is better to write a submission from scratch rather than use a template as non template submissions generally carry more weight with government select committees than template submissions. However numbers also count so if you do not have time to write a submission from scratch please do personalised the template submission below and send it.

    Below is a template submission that you can use.  Please note that the text in bold italics is designed to edited out when you add your own details to personalise the submission.

    Template submission

    Your name here

    “Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill”

    I oppose any change to telecommunications legislation or regulations that could make copper landline phones and/or internet access via the copper landline system unavailable to New Zealanders.

    The copper landline system is a proven and safe technology that is better for people’s health than wireless systems.

    [Please add a personal comment here]

    For example:
    * Is it important to you to keep access to a landline home phone in case of a medical emergency?
    * Do you have a friend or relative whose life was saved by being able to make a 111 call from their home phone?
    * Are you on a low income and could not afford to replace perfectly good corded home phones and install fibre optic cabling in your home in order to have a corded VOIP phone if the copper landline service were no longer available in your area?
    * Are you planning to start a family and want to ensure that you maintain access to a reliable copper landline service so that you can have a safe corded landline phone in your home for use in pregnancy
    * Do you have children and want to ensure that you maintain access to a reliable copper landline service so that you can have a safe corded landline phone in your home for their use?
    * Are you a business owner who wants to help meet your obligations to workers to provide a safe working environment by having safe copper corded phones available for their use on your premises?

    The government needs to ensure that regulations are in place to protect access to copper landline phones in New Zealand and ensure that the infrastructure for this service remains well maintained and available at an affordable price.

    There should be a thirty year moratorium on the removal of copper landline infrastructure,

    Contractors installing fibre optic cabling in existing homes or buildings should be prohibited from removing internal copper phone wiring so that a dual system remains available for the use of the current (or future) house/building  owner or tenants.

    Installation of the copper landline system should be mandated to be installed in new housing areas and new commercial developments.

    To reduce the burden of illness on individuals, families and taxpayers, the use of copper landline based phones and safe hard wired internet should be encouraged by the government to minimise the avoidable health risks from unnecessary use of cellular phones.  Likewise, the government should encourage the use of hardwired computers for internet access.

    I would/would not (please delete one of these options depending upon your preference) like to speak to this submission.

    Yours sincerely,

    You can attach your submission to an email that includes your name, (and organisation name or family name if you are making a submission on behalf of an organisation or family members who do not have internet access) and contact details.

    Email your submission to: edsi@parliament.govt.nz

    Please also email through the Contact Form to let Stop Smart Meters NZ to let us know that you have sent a submission, http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/contact-us/

    if you feel you need more information about making a submission, this is the link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/save-nzs-landline-phones-action-needed-now/

    Thank you for reading this email.

    Your support on the smart meter issue and your help to  retain the safe and reliable copper based landline system is most appreciated.

    There are now Facebook pages for Stop Smart Meters NZ and Save Our Landlines NZ. If you are on FB, please like and follow these pages.

    https://www.facebook.com/Stop-Smart-Meters-NZ-1211462805538548/

    https://www.facebook.com/Save-Our-Landlines-NZ-1626155717464225/

    Wishing you all the best for a safe and healthy 2018,

    Katherine Smith and The Stop Smart Meters NZ Team

    follow on Twitter | friend on Facebook | forward to a friend
    Copyright © 2018 Stop Smart Meters NZ All rights reserved.
    You are receiving this mail because you subscribed at http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz.
    Our mailing address is:
    Stop Smart Meters
    PO Box 44-128
    Auckland, Point Chevalier 1246
    New Zealand

NB Power’s smart meters plan NOT so smart, 2 expert reviews find

NB Power’s smart meters plan not so smart, 2 expert reviews find

$122M-plan is poorly thought out, should be rejected by EUB, separately commissioned reports conclude

By Robert Jones, CBC News Posted: Jan 26, 2018 6:00 AM AT Last Updated: Jan 26, 2018 8:43 AM AT

NB Power plans to spend $122.7 million over three years to deploy smart meters for all its residential and commercial customers.

NB Power plans to spend $122.7 million over three years to deploy smart meters for all its residential and commercial customers. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

NB Power’s plan to spend $122.7 million over three years to deploy smart meters for all its residential and commercial customers is poorly thought out and should be rejected by the Energy and Utilities Board at hearings next month, according to separate experts hired to review the strategy.

“As currently proposed, the AMI [advanced metering infrastructure] project could commit NB Power and its customers to a heavy cost burden without fully defining and quantifying the future benefits to be gained,” wrote Edmund Finamore, a smart meter consultant from Pennsylvania commissioned by public intervener Heather Black to scrutinize the plan.

“It is not clear that NB Power has implemented sufficient project management controls methods to execute a firm plan, achieve firm project milestones and control project costs.”

A second review of the proposal by a Boston-area energy consultant hired separately by the Energy and Utilities Board also found significant flaws.

“NB Power has significantly understated the costs and overstated the benefits of its AMI proposal,” says the analysis by a group of five authors working for Synapse Energy Economics out of Cambridge, Mass.

“We recommend that the board reject the company’s AMI proposal.”

‘Essential’ to cleaner, more reliable grid

NB Power has been working toward upgrading its distribution system to a “smart grid” over the past six years and the wholesale installation of smart meters and other AMI to serve every customer has long been a centrepiece of the utility’s plan.

Unlike current units that have to be physically visited to be read, smart meters will connect directly to NB Power computers, allowing individual customers to have electricity consumption tracked several times an hour instead of once a month.

The utility says this will allow it to charge a variety of rates for electricity — more when consumption is higher, such as in the mornings, on weekends and during winter — and less when consumption is lower.

That in turn will encourage consumers to shift demand to underutilized parts of the day, it says.

“We are going from reading a customer’s meter once a month, so 12 times a year, up to 12 times an hour,” former NB Power executive Neil Larlee said during testimony in front of the EUB last February.

The meters will also allow customers to sell electricity back to NB Power if they install solar or other power generating capability on their property and will give the utility instant information on outages, including the individual homes affected.

“This communication network along with the AMI meters is essential to a building smarter, cleaner, more reliable and efficient power grid and will lay the foundation for many of the long-term customer benefits that NB Power will deliver through its Energy Smart NB plan,” said the utility in its application to the EUB to acquire the units.

Cost outweighs savings

But even NB Power acknowledges the cost of buying, installing and operating 355,000 new smart meters to blanket the province in a three-year rollout is high without enough savings to completely pay for it.

The utility has detailed 15 ways the new meters will cut expenses but the combined benefits total just $121.4 million  That’s $1.3 million less than the program is budgeted to cost.

‘Spending so much money on an initiative that is not essential and not cost effective is unwise.’– Synapse report

Both Finnamore and Synapse Energy disputed the value of several of the claimed savings as inflated and Synapse further argued since NB Power’s own numbers show the investment in smart meters will cost money in the long run the case is too weak to proceed.

“The company’s own analysis suggests that the proposal is not cost effective and that analysis suffers from some fundamental flaws,” concluded the Synapse report.

“Spending so much money on an initiative that is not essential and not cost effective is unwise.”

Proposal needs refining

Both consultants suggested if properly handled, the introduction of smart meters could benefit both NB Power and its customers, but each separately concluded the utility’s plan lacks detail and a convincing rationale.

Both called for the application to be denied so the utility can offer a more refined proposal.

NB Power is facing a 12-day hearing in front of the Energy and Utilities Board beginning Feb. 8.

In addition to seeking permission to invest in smart meters, it is also attempting to win approval for an average two per cent rate increase it has proposed for April 1 and is asking for the flexibility to employ special rate increases when large unexpected weather or market events cause its costs to jump unexpectedly.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/nb-power-smart-meters-experts-eub-1.4504618

Smart Meter Bill: A cure

Smart Meter Bill: A cure

Sarah Hussain / Red Dirt Report
Foil covering the Smart Meter in the back of Debbie Vancendrock’s home in Midwest City, Oklahoma in 2015.

YUKON, Okla. — In 2012, Oklahoma Gas and Electric released a modern way to read electrical usage of each home. It was called the Smart Meter and it would replace old analog readers which were often found to be faulty and unreliable.

Six years later, the Oklahoma Legislature is attempting to sign a bill which will eliminate Smart Meters and replace them with an electric alternative.

The second session of the 56 th Oklahoma Legislature proposed House Bill 2872, commonly known as the Smart Meter Bill. Actions in this bill will replace Smart Meters from each home in Oklahoma with a safer, electrical-based meter.

One of the main reasons for the change is due to the health of the customers of OG&E.

Three health agencies and a medical report; the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Toxicology Program, the Studies of the Toxicology Carcinogenicity of Cell Phone Radiation and the 2012 Bio Initiative Reports; have shown a steady decrease in health among users of the Smart Meters.

“Non-ionizing radiation from radio frequencies shared by cell phones and smart meters produced increased rates of highly malignant very rare tumors: gliomas of the brain and schwannomas of the heart,” the House Bill, authored by Rep. David Derby (R-Owasso), reads.

This report has been confirmed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Gliomas are known as malignant tumors which are connected to the nervous system.

Schwannomas, according to the Cancer Research Institute, is a “tumor of the tissue that covers nerves, called the nerve sheath.

The report also concludes that the radio transmissions from the Smart Meter are the one of the direct causes of these issues.

Change of the electric meters has been called for as early as 2012. Reports from KFOR and News 9 report that many people throughout the state, including Oklahoman Monique Smith, were getting migraines, regular nose-bleeds and overall health issues. In 2013, Red Dirt Report covered one case of an Smart Meter bursting into flames on a house in Oklahoma City. And in 2015, this online newspaper reported on a Midwest City woman, Debbie Vancendrock, who had a confrontation with local police after demanding the radiation-emitting devices be removed from her home.

As Vancendrock told a Red Dirt Report reporter at the time: ““I’ve been totally surrounded by radiation. I am overloaded. It feels like I’ve been hit with a Taser when I’m overloaded. It’s all I can do to crawl into my bed. One time, I thought I was seeing Jesus.”

Indeed.

And yet the utilities like OG&E have largely ignored conerns of citizens over these devices and declined to remove the meters. This was due to large amount of effort put into placing these Smart Meters out across the state.

The people affected by these Smart Meters are experiencing what medical professional call Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity.

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, known as EHS, is a claimed sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. Some of the symptoms are similar to the effects given off by the Smart Meters.

House Bill 2872 will replace these Smart Meters will a more electrical based meter instead of a meter relying off of radio transmissions. The connections will account for each house and be directly submitted to the company. This action will eliminate the need for electricians to come to each house and read the meter on the sides of the houses.

Installation will happen within 90 days of the House Bill being signed into effect due to the nature of events surrounding the necessity for change.

There will be no additional cost or fee to OG&E customers as technicians install the new meter.

Like any machinery, it is only a matter of time before a malfunction happens. Aside from the monthly billing, there is no service charge for fixing the issue.

If the electric company needs to inspect the meter for malfunctions or routine maintenance is necessary, the company must have written consent from each customer and a 90 day notice. This alleviates the issue of impromptu service and no-one at home to ensure the job is done correctly.

One of the only added stipulations on the side of the customer is the information shared with the electric company.

When the electric company installs the electric meter, the electricity is charged through the outlets and outside power sources which is transmitted to the reader. Included in the written consent given by each customer, this is will require customers to give up their information to companies in order to keep track of electrical usage.

The information includes the customer’s name, address, electrical usage and appliances used.

Customers have the option to “opt in” or “opt out” of the option when it comes to electrical usage. What this does is it allows the customers to choose how much electricity the house uses and the options surrounding the uses.

This bill allows for the customer to make the whole bill an ala carte option.

The bill has gained backing from the Republicans and Democrats in the Oklahoma House and Senate. The decision on this bill has yet to be determined.

Red Dirt Report’s Andrew Griffin contributed to this story.

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