In this day and age of technological surveillance and diminished civil and personal freedoms, we need to be more and better informed than ever before.
Smart meters are definitely another example of being monitored.
There may not be anything nefarious about them, but they do infringe on our privacy by monitoring our power usage in great detail.
Patterns and amounts of power usage tell a lot about us, when we shower or turn on the hot tub or throw in a load of laundry.
We pay for our power and how we use it is our business.
This kind of information can be very valuable to third-party interests; look what has happened with Facebook and many other social media platforms.
The Clallam PUD needs to assure us that information gathered by smart meters is not being archived, sold or shared. Or if it is shared, then with whom.
At $30 a month, the opt-out option is not realistic and does not address the issues.
Health issues are a bigger concern for many people and that subject is hotly debated.
For example, the American Cancer Society has said that while there is no proof that smart meters cause cancer, there is real concern that they might pose a risk to people undergoing some kinds of radiation therapy.
The American Cancer Society also warns that they might affect pacemakers.
Josephine County fights back against Smart Meter opt-out fees
by Georgia LawsonTuesday, January 29th 2019
JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. — The Josephine County Board of Commissioners is exploring their legal standing to push back against Pacific Power’s Smart Meter opt-out fees.
The ordinance allowing Josephine County residents to opt out of the $36-per month, per meter fee went into effect on Tuesday, January 29th, but the county’s legal counsel says it can’t be enforced at this time. Regardless, that’s the ultimate goal the commissioners and their legal counsel are working toward.
On Tuesday, the counsel discussed some ways around which people could opt out, without paying the fees, like citing economic hardship of paying those fees.
When Smart Meters were installed across Oregon last year, some people in Josephine County worried the meters could harm their health and violate their privacy.
Amid a lawsuit, the Josephine County Commissioners discuss the rules for an ordinance that would protect residents who don’t want to pay smart meter opt out fees.
That prompted the county to pass an ordinance last October to allow residents to opt out without paying the opt-out fee. Pacific Power met that ordinance with a lawsuit, and Josephine County is now fighting back.
“This doesn’t have anything to do, really, with the cost of reading meters,” said Commissioner Daniel DeYoung. “That’s already been covered. It is punishment for not getting a Smart Meter, for not playing along with the big guy’s plan.”
DeYoung says it actually benefits Pacific Power to have people opt out, saving them labor costs, at the expense of residents.
As of now, the county is encouraging people to continue paying because they don’t have established jurisdiction on this issue.
The commissioners will continue reviewing the rules around which an ordinance would be implemented, hoping to get something done that’s enforceable by March 1st, 2019.
AEP Ohio is upgrading electric meters in the Lima area to new “smart meters.” These meters provide valuable information to customers, help us take more accurate meter readings and send information to our crews that speed response time and repairs.
We would like to respond to previously published “Letter to the Editor” submissions that do not accurately describe the safety and effectiveness of smart meters.
Smart meters report the same energy usage information to AEP Ohio that has been used to calculate bills for decades and eliminate the need for estimated billing. The meters also help our customers save money on their monthly bill by providing near real-time energy usage information to manage energy choices. Customers are in complete control of this information through the It’s Your Power app and through their AEP Ohio online account.
An in-depth review of scientific literature by the World Health Organization determined that the level of radio frequency (RF) energy produced by smart meters is not harmful to humans. RF emitted by smart meters is below the limits set by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and below levels produced by other common household devices including cell phones, baby monitors, satellite TVs and microwaves.
Smart meters are safe and proven technology. Each new meter must meet the rigorous safety requirements and standards spelled out in the National Electric Safety Code. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio requires independent certification proving that smart meters being installed are safe and show resistance to heat, fire and voltage surges.
If customers have questions about their new meter, they can contact our Smartgrid Customer Service Team at (614) 883-6977 or email email@example.com. For all other account questions, our Customer Solutions Center representatives are available at 1-800-672-2231.
On January 17, Virginia utility regulators rejected Dominion Energy’s bid to deploy ‘smart’ electricity meters across the state.
In doing so, Virginia joins state regulators in Kentucky(Aug 2018), Massachusetts(May 2018), and New Mexico (April 2018) in rejecting ‘smart’ meters. In Canada, New Brunswick (July 2018) also rejected ‘smart’ electricity meters.
UPDATE 29 Jan 2019: We received word that parts of Kentucky do have ‘smart’ meters, and KU seems to be still deploying even though the PSC ruled against their proposal. There’s also a similar situation in New Mexico, where the regulatory ruling there seems to not apply to all utilities. We’d like your help to get to the bottom of such situations where regulatory rulings seem to be only partially applicable. If you have further info on these details, please comment below!!
The official reasons for energy regulators’ decisions in all of these regions has been a) exorbitant costs; and b) lack of customer benefit. Though in my view, it is very likely that the liability associated with other aspects about this dangerous technology also played motivational factors, such as privacy violations, documented biological harm from radiation and voltage transients, home fires (including fatalities), and hacking / securityissues.
Dominion Energy’s plans included spending a whopping $5.07 billion just for ‘smart’ / AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) meters. The denial by the State Corporation Commission is “without prejudice,” however, allowing Dominion to refile a revised proposal in the future.
UtilityDrive.com identified this this latest rejection in Virginia as
“part of a trend that has seen AMI deployment flatline at roughly 50% of electric customers [in the USA].”
In response, Marjorie Leach-Parker, Chair of Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter, stated:
Today’s decision by the SCC was a victory for all of Dominion’s customers who have grown tired of watching the corporation’s pockets get fatter at their expense. We would have loved to support a true “grid modernization” proposal by Dominion, if the company had proposed measures to increase renewable energy penetration, reduce energy waste, and facilitate electric vehicle integration. Instead, Dominion’s self-serving proposal was met with a firestorm of opposition, and the SCC rightly rejected it.
I envision that since the trends strongly indicate that ‘smart’ meter technology is being widely recognized as useless if not harmful, the “50% deployed” number will diminish as ‘smart’ AMI meters start to be replaced with safe, proven electromechanical technology which does not waste money, lasts 6-8 times longer, is far more accurate, does not surveil utility customers, and does not cause either physical harm or damage to property.
However, whether the trend of ‘smart’ meter proposal rejection (by PUCs) leads to the widespread replacement of ‘smart’ meters (with safe technology) is entirely dependent on the actions of utility customers.
For assisting with the return to responsible and safe technology, our award-winning documentary Take Back Your Power, which blew open the ‘smart’ meter agenda since our initial 2013 release, is now freely available on YouTube.
In many states and provinces, utility customers can have a ‘smart’ meter removed by opting-out – which typically means an extortive fee.
Note to Reader: If you have more info on other regions where ‘smart’ meters have been rejected by regulatory boards, or additional info pertaining to the content above, please post in the comments below. Thank you!
Hat tip: Einar Olsen for contributive research.
Josh del Sol Beaulieu
Josh del Sol Beaulieu is the creator of Take Back Your Power, a documentary about ‘smart’ meters which won the AwareGuide Transformational Film of the Year, the Indie Fest Annual Humanitarian Award, and a Leo Award. In 2017, Josh co-founded InPower Movement, pioneering a process using commercial liability to halt harmful technology such as ‘smart’ meters, 5G and mandatory vaccinations. Josh is passionate about human rights, consciousness, decentralized energy, safe technology and being a dad.
SO CALLED SMART METERS ARE HAZARDOUS TO ANIMALS, CHILDREN, ADULTS AND WILDLIFE. THE PUBLIC IS MISINFORMED BY CORP AMERICA. WHY DO YOU THINK THE MEDICAL PROFESSION WARNS THOSE WITH HEART ISSUES, ESPECIALLY, HEART TRANSPLANTS? IT IS NOT ABOUT THE CUSTOMERS PROTECTION OR SAVING MONEY; IT IS ABOUT MAKING MONEY……..SANDAURA
RG&E’s new meters: Here’s what you need to know
Steve Orr, Rochester Democrat and ChroniclePublished 3:56 a.m. ET Jan. 3, 2019 | Updated 9:48 p.m. ET Jan. 5, 2019
RG&E/NYSEG are planning to install nearly 2 million smart meters to the home of its customers. Here’s what you need to know. Matthew Leonard and Steve Orr, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
One of the biggest programs ever proposed by Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. and its sister company was supposed to have begun last year.
The proposal, estimated to cost upward of $500 million, called for installation of nearly 1.8 million “smart meters” in upstate New York homes and businesses.
The electronic devices are designed to measure, precisely and minute-by-minute, the electricity and natural gas used by each and every customer of RG&E and New York State Electric and Gas Corp.
The companies say the equipment, also known as “advanced metering infrastructure” or AMI, would aid both the utilities and their customers in several ways.
Smart meters are trending across the United States. Proponents see them as an essential component of the nation’s increasingly complex electric and gas networks, and a boon to renewable energy.
That’s not to say they’re without controversy. Some critics question their safety
and others say they’re not worth the half-a-billion dollar investment.
For reasons that are unclear, the RG&E/NYSEG proposal has been delayed as the company, state regulators and a handful of other parties negotiate the terms of the massive program behind closed doors in Albany.
Those negotiations are now entering their third year.
When the talks conclude, one thing is a near-certainty: Your utilities rates will jump to pay for the smart-meter rollout.
60-second read: New RG&E meters will shake up your energy bill
Here’s what we know about how your money will be spent.
Frank Scandale, the investigations editor and Frank Esposito, the data reporter for lohud.com, talk about the new smart meters coming to your home. Mark Vergari, firstname.lastname@example.org
A smart meter is what exactly?
Question: What’s a smart meter?
Answer: It’s an electronic device that will be attached to the wall of your basement or the exterior of your house just like the meter you have now. But unlike the old electro-mechanical meters, which measure usage by counting the revolutions of little disks, these new meters use microprocessors to track your energy use. They’re “internet-of-things” tech.
Question: What makes them so smart?
Answer: Your old meter is “dumb.” It just sits there until someone comes and writes down how many times the disk has turned since the last time they visited. These new ones will measure your usage constantly and communicate data about that usage to you and to RG&E/NYSEG. They’re interactive as well, meaning they are capable of doing things such as shutting off your service remotely if you don’t pay your bill or controlling your air conditioner if you authorize it.
Question: Who gets one?
Answer: Every RG&E and NYSEG customer. Over a period of five years or so, the company plans to install new electric meters in every residence and business in their service territories, and modify every natural-gas meter. That’s a total of 1,794,185 meters.
Question: I don’t get it. What’s the point of them?
Answer: RG&E/NYSEG point to several benefits:
Over the long term, smart meters should save the company money. This should translate to lower rates for consumers.
Because they will give the company near-real time data on energy use by every customer, the new meters will help RG&E/NYSEG manage their distribution networks more efficiently. Balancing the electric grid in particular is an increasingly complex task in an environment of high demand and an ever-growing number of smaller power sources such as rooftop solar arrays and wind farms.
The meters will tell the company precisely where power has gone out during a storm or other outage event, which RG&E/NYSEG says will make for faster power restoration.
The meters will provide an opportunity for customers to save (or lose) money by adjusting their energy usage.
Proponents say the new technology is to customers’ benefit as well. “Rather than be passive consumers of electricity who have no idea other than once a month how much they use, smart meters enable customers to engage with their electricity service,” said Karl Rábago, executive director of the Pace Energy And Climate Center, a Westchester County organization that is a party in the PSC settlement discussions. “It’s something that’s overdue for the industry. But it is expensive.”
Question: Ugh. Not interested. Do I have to let them install these meters?
Answer: Probably not. RG&E/NYSEG proposes to let people opt out, but they’ll have to pay a fee to keep their old analog meters. The fee is supposed to cover the cost of a meter-reader continuing to visit your home. In other places, utilities have charged a one-time fee of roughly $50, then $10 to $25 a month. It remains to be seen what fee will be approved by the PSC here. Critics have pushed the PSC to do away with these fees but so far they have refused.
Show me the money
Question: This is going to cost me, isn’t it?
Answer: No doubt. The latest cost estimate for rolling out the program is $522 million. RG&E/NYSEG want to add a surcharge to monthly bills to pay for purchase, installation and other work, then amend their monthly rates to further recoup the expense. They claim cost savings will offset much of that expense over time. The final cost and the impact on your monthly bill remain either undetermined or confidential.
Question: I’ve heard that smart meters lead to higher bills. True?
Answer: Consumers in some other locations have complained about unexpectedly high bills after smart meters are installed. Some believe the new digital meters are jiggered to generate higher revenue, a claim that utilities vigorously deny. In some cases, the utilities have blamed higher bills on old electro-mechanical meters that hadn’t been accurately measuring usage. RG&E/NYSEG said it believes both its current meters and the new smart meters meet state standards for accuracy, though it will have a program in place to assess complaints of higher bills. In Maine, where a sister company to RG&E/NYSEG installed smart electric meters in the early 2010s, regulators ordered a study of high-bill complaints. Central Maine Power said earlier this year it had found no evidence that smart meters were responsible.
Question: How does the company save money?
Answer: In their filings with the PSC, the company cites “soft” savings through efficiencies of various kinds. The big, “hard” savings will come from eliminating the manual reading of those 1,794,185 meters. That means cutting jobs. RG&E/NYSEG said meter-reading is largely done by a contractor and the AMI program “will significantly reduce the need for this service.” Figures about job cuts are redacted from company filings with the PSC.
Question: So these savings will be passed on to me?
Answer: If savings do accrue, they likely would be passed on. But the extent of any real savings remains to be seen. RG&E/NYSEG isn’t saying that every customer will come out ahead financially, and they aren’t selling their smart-meter program strictly as a cost-saver. Instead, they say it will improve “the overall efficiency and operational capabilities of our company.” In other states and in Canada, there have been numerous instances in which projected savings didn’t pan out.
What about me?
Question: How do I save money?
Answer: Two ways. RG&E/NYSEG says all customers will be able to access their usage data via a secure online portal. You’ll be able to study how you use your electricity and natural gas and look for ways to cut back. “Customers will be able to view usage for categories like their overall home usage, appliances and lighting,” RG&E/NYSEG told us. “They will also have the opportunity to set energy saving goals, put together a list of actions to help them reach that goal, and track progress in obtaining that goal.”
Question: And the other way I can save money?
Answer: You can sign up for a program under which the price of electricity will vary as the day goes by. During times of high demand for electricity, it will cost more. At other times, less. Generally, demand begins to rise as people prepare for work and school and peaks in the late afternoon and early evening.
Question: How might I use time-varying pricing?
Answer: Run the dishwasher while you sleep. Turn down the air conditioning or the furnace during the day. Don’t start binge-watching until 8 or 9 p.m. Do laundry early in the morning or on weekends. Rábago said time-varying pricing works better if more people take part, but added it could be unfair to force enrollment. Someone who rents may not be able to control their usage, for instance, and someone who works two jobs doesn’t have the luxury of shifting household chores to different times of day.
Question: How much cheaper will off-peak power be?
Answer: Unknown. Other utilities have divided the day into two or three periods, with different per-kilowatt-hour prices for each. In some places there are seasonal rates. RG&E/NYSEG says they do not know what periods they will use or how the prices will differ. Each consumer’s choices will determine how much savings he or she derives.
Question: What if I screw up?
Answer: If you consume too much electricity during peak hours, then you’d lose money. You should be able to quit the program when you like, however.
Wait a minute
Question: Is there opposition?
Answer: In this area, there’s been only a bit of grumbling on social media. As of last week, only a single public comment had been posted on the PSC website about the RG&E/NYSEG proposal in two years. But there has been vocal opposition in locations that are farther along in the process, both in New York and in other states.
Question: What are their objections?
Answer: Generally they are privacy, fire risk, exposure to electromagnetic radiation and the near-mandatory nature of the program.
Question: So, what — smart meters catch on fire?
Answer: There have been some documented fires. RG&E/NYSEG acknowledges this, asserting they happened in the “not-recent past” and were due to defects in a connector in the meter known as the jaw. RG&E/NYSEG says they will have a program in place to test the jaws of all they smart meters to ensure safety. It’s worth noting that fires in electronic devices, especially newly introduced models, aren’t a total rarity. Remember Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phones, of which nearly 100 burst into flames in the U.S. alone?
Question: Isn’t the chance of a few small fires worth it?
Answer: People such as Michele Hertz, a Hudson Valley resident who is president of the New York State Safe Meter Association, said any fire risk is too much. The old analog meters are fire- and surge-safe, she asserted, but she’s heard of several smart meter-related blazes in her part of the state. Power surges are a trigger, she said. Hertz said the PSC has not ordered testing of smart meters for fire and other risks, which she calls “irresponsible and a dereliction of duty.”
Question: Are their other worries?
Answer: A few studies have suggested an association between some forms of radiofrequency radiation and cancer, leading the International Agency for Research on Cancer to classify it as possibly carcinogenic. The conclusion is tentative and much debated but to Michele Hertz, it’s enough to warrant concern. “If a device has the smallest risk of radiation exposure, we can choose not to use it. We can choose to use a cellphone or not, or to use a computer connected to Wi-Fi or not. The point is we live in a society where we have choices. With utility meters, we are being given no choice,” she said.
Hertz and others claim people can suffer ill health after smart meters are installed, and she suggests the radio waves may be pulsing through homes via electrical wiring. But reports of health problems are anecdotal, and there seem to be few or no studies that examine possible impacts of smart meters. RG&E/NYSEG said the PSC did not require such a study. This may be one of those cases where citizens are either ahead of the science or ignorant of it.
Question: What are the privacy issues?
Answer: They’re the same as other smart devices. They collect personal data, and they’re theoretically vulnerable to hackers. Privacy advocates lump the new electric and gas meters with other types of “smart” hardware that are becoming common in homes — televisions, interactive speakers, phones, thermostats, security systems and appliances that gather information about your life and are capable of communicating it to the outside world. This makes that data potentially available to third parties who you’d rather not have it, and raises Big Brotherish concerns about outsiders being able to deduce what time you go to bed or if you have grow lights in your basement. RG&E/NYSEG says they haven’t heard of hackers gaining access to smart meters, but they plan to equip theirs with industry-standard protection, including encryption of usage data and various intrusion protections and alerts.
Question: Forget hackers. Who’s allowed to see my data?
Answer: You are, for starters. RG&E/NYSEG says you can reach it through an online portal that also will help customers “better understand and manage their energy consumption.” RG&E/NYSEG obviously will keep all customer use data for its own purposes, but the company insists it will never sell or share those data with third parties — except in cases where the customer authorizes sharing information with outside firms selected by the customer to help manage energy use or provide other services. The other exception would be if the PSC ordered the utilities to provide customer data or if a law-enforcement agency provided “legal authorization” for disclosure of records. The company’s statements notwithstanding,
Hertz has concerns about RG&E/NYSEG possessing so much personal data. But Rábago said it’s only an extension of what utilities have always done. “There are people who say ‘I don’t want you have that information, I don’t want you knowing how I use electricity,'” he said. “The truth is the utility already has the data. You can’t have electric service without the utility knowing how much you’re using.”
Posted: Jan 22, 2019 7:01 AM ESTUpdated: Jan 22, 2019 7:01 AM ES
EASTCHESTER –Eastchester officials are warning residents about a scam targeting Con Edison customers. Police say scammers, posing as ConEd employees, are going door-to-door and calling customers requiring a deposit for the installation of a smart meter.Con Ed says it will never require a deposit for the meters and will send you a letter with information about the installation process about 45 days before it begins.
Police say you can verify an employee by asking to see their ID badge and the unique “ticket number” assigned to your job.
Smart meter installations will continue through 2022.
A California health activist says the Massachusetts Department of Public Health may be withholding information about possible health risks posed by cellphones and other wireless technologies.
Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California Berkeley, said the state agency is refusing to release fact sheets about the health effects of electromagnetic fields, or EMF, that it began drafting two years ago.
“The higher-ups are very nervous about letting any of this information out to the public,” said Moskowitz. In California, Moskowitz fought a successful seven-year court battle to force that state to release guidelines for consumers on safe cellphone use.
Ann Scales, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts agency, said the DPH plans to release the guidelines within six months.
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Moskowitz and some other activists assert that exposure to EMF, the energy given off by countless modern devices, causes a variety of health problems, ranging from sleep loss to brain cancer. They say state and federal agencies have a duty to warn the public to reduce their exposure to EMF.
Moskowitz has joined forces with Cecelia Doucette, an Ashland resident and EMF activist who persuaded her town’s school district to set limits on student exposure to Wi-Fi radio waves. Doucette said she worked with Mass. DPH officials in 2016 to develop a fact sheet showing people how to shield themselves from Wi-Fi waves, as well as electromagnetic radiation from cellphones, cell towers, and high-voltage electric power lines.
But more than two years later, the fact sheet has yet to be released. “I don’t know why,” Doucette said. “They have not given me a reason aside from the fact that it is still under review.”
Moskowitz filed a public records request for the fact sheets with the Mass. DPH, but it was denied. Public records liaison Carolyn Wagner wrote that the document in question is exempt from the state’s disclosure law because it’s still in draft form.
Scales said that until the DPH releases its guidelines, consumers can find out about safe cellphone use from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, which has a Web page devoted to the subject.
Many scientists agree that EMF exposure may pose a health hazard. They’re especially concerned about cellphones, because of their position so close to the user’s head, thereby increasing the brain’s exposure to the phone’s electromagnetic field.
“The evidence that prolonged use of cellphones increases the risk of brain cancer is extremely strong,” said David Carpenter, professor of environmental health sciences at the University at Albany, State University of New York.
Carpenter pointed to recent large-scale studies in the United States and Italy that found that exposure to cellphone radio waves caused brain tumors in rats, as well as earlier studies that found evidence of increased cancer rates among heavy cellphone users.
“The degree of risk is debatable,” Carpenter said. “However, that there is a risk is really pretty clear.”
Richard Clapp, professor emeritus at Boston University’s School of Public Health, agreed. He recommended that consumers use wired earbuds to make calls instead of holding the handset to their ears.
“There’s good reason for being cautious,” Clapp said. “If you don’t have to expose yourself or you can reduce your exposure, do that.”
The World Health Organization states on its website that “to date there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health.” Yet the WHO also lists electromagnetic fields as a “possible carcinogen.”
The controversy is likely to intensify in the years ahead with the deployment of next-generation 5G wireless systems, which operate at higher frequencies than today’s cellular systems and will require a far more transmitters.
“5G is going to put an antenna every several hundred yards in cities,” Moskowitz said. “The exposure will be substantial.”
The nation’s wireless companies plan to spend billions on 5G networks, and the Trump administration considers quick deployment of the technology a matter of national security. But Markowitz and other health activists want a moratorium on 5G technology pending more research on health risks.
EMFacts blog Commentary by Don Maisch PhD 20, January 2019
In stark contrast to a recent Italian court ruling where three Italian government ministries have acknowledged that there is a need to raise public awareness on how to use mobile phones safely (previous message and see Lennart Hardell’s blog here) it is highly unlikely such concern for public safety will be issued from the Australian government, considering the pro-technology bias of the agencies and individuals who currently advise government ministers on telecommunications issues.
Whenever public concerns are raised with Aust. government and opposition members over telecommunications issues (mobile phones, smart meters, 5G), the standard response is to unquestionably follow the advice of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR). Both agencies steadfastly follow the Procrustean dictates of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) which do not allow for any deviation from ICNIRP’s dogma.
A Procrustean Approach
The following is the standard response from the current federal government to any members of parliament who dare raise questions on the safety of telecommunications technology.
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) provides expert advice on radiation protection and nuclear safety matters to the Coalition Government. In order to provide the best advice on the protection of the Australian public from the effects of radiation, ARPANSA undertakes its own research and reviews the relevant scientific research. . . The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s regulatory arrangements require wireless devices to comply with the exposure limits in ARPANSA’s Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3kHz to 300 GHz (the ARPANSA RF standard). The ARPANSA RF Standard is designed to protect people of all ages and health status against all known adverse health effects from exposure to RF EME. The ARPANSA RF Standard is based on scientific research that shows the levels at which harmful effects occur and it sets limits, based on international guidelines [ICNIRP], well below these harmful levels.
So, whenever a politician from any party is contacted by members of their electorate with concerns over “RF EME” that politician will understandably ask for expert opinion from the government’s own expert agencies: ARPANSA and/or ACEBR. These agencies will in response send a variation of the above, and perhaps even the heavily criticized analysis led by Ken Karipidis from ARPANSA and Rodney Croft from ACEBR . The ARPANSA/ACEBR paper claims that there is no link between the use of mobile phones and brain cancer. Karipidis even claimed that “People say mobile phones can cause cancer but our study showed this was not the case” . It has been pointed out, however, that this claim was apparently made only by excluding inconvenient data from their analysis. For example, Joel Moskowitz of the University of California, Berkeley called it a “biased study” and Australian neurosurgeon Vini Khurana called the use of selected data “quite bizarre and unnecessary”. Read the Microwave News analysis here.
So, how will Australian politicians respond to the public’s concerns?
ACEBR to the 5G rescue
Apparently writing in response to the above Jan 7 ABC article on Sydney residents concerns over small cells which will be part of the coming 5G networks, ACEBR’s Adam Verrender, essentially comes to the aid of the industry. In an ABC interview on Jan 9, 2019, Verrender claims that for mobile phone use (and other wireless devices) “Decades of scientific research has found no evidence of any adverse health effects” and that “even studies looking at long-term damage, such as brain cancer, have not found evidence of increased harm.” He then claims that the health hazard debate rages on “fuelled by misinformation, scepticism and a complex psychological phenomenon known as the nocebo effect, it’s little wonder this contentious issue persists, particularly given wireless technologies are so pervasive.”
In relation to electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), Verrender claims:
“Despite the countless stories suggesting a link between symptoms and exposure to electromagnetic fields in the media in recent years, the evidence from extensive scientific investigation paints a very different picture. While it has been estimated that up to 10 per cent of the population may suffer from the condition, no relationship between symptoms and exposure to electromagnetic fields has been uncovered.”
He goes on to explain that ACEBR research supports the view “that a complex psychological phenomenon, the nocebo effect, could explain the condition” and that Media “misinformation and alarmist coverage understandably fuel community concerns, leading some people to believe that they are sensitive”.
Verrender mentions in the article that this conclusion is backed up by the findings of a provocation study designed by ACEBR. To quote:
At the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research, we designed a study to address these criticisms. Interestingly, our results not only aligned with previous studies, but also supported the view that a complex psychological phenomenon, the nocebo effect, could explain the condition. 
What Verrender fails to mention, however, is that this study, which the authors call “ A novel approach”, while having seven investigators, only had three participants!
To say the least, it is a bit novel in science to attempt to use the findings of a provocation study, based on so few participants, and then make such sensational claims. Researcher Dariusz Leszczynski has criticised the limitations of such studies, perhaps Verrender and colleagues have not yet read Leszczynski’s critique, which is here. And my comments on Leszczynski’s blog here.
Perhaps Mr. Verrender’s research focus is somewhat understandable considering this is the firm viewpoint of his PhD supervisor Dr. Rodney Croft at ACEBR and his study focus is on “neurobiological and psychological determinants of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity”. In other words, his research has a preordained bias in trying to establish as a scientific fact that any supposedly health effects from wireless devices, from mobile phones, smart meters to 5G and beyond are solely a consequence of needless worry from a worried public led astray by alarmist media hype.
From the various fact sheets being produced by ARPANSA and ACEBR which increasingly reflect this bias, it is a brave politician who dares question the government’s own expert’s opinions, even if those opinions are somewhat disingenuous.