Imposing dangerous ‘smart meters’ is wrong
More important is the claim quoted in the story from the so-called “independent” California Council on Science and Technology: “There is no evidence that additional standards are needed to protect the public from smart meters,” a claim made because the average radio frequency microwave radiation (RF) broadcast by smart meters falls below the 1996 FCC safety limit. (The California Council on Science and Technology was established by the California legislature and receives the majority of its funding from government agencies and institutions. Because the State of California, through its public utility commission, is actively supporting the rollout of smart meters, we do not consider California government-funded sources to be “independent”.)
The FCC safety limit is based on how much heat the RF causes in the body. What the FCC has willfully ignored is that there are other mechanisms besides heat by which RF causes harm to living things. A great deal of research shows that RF exposures well under this out-of-date FCC safety limit can cause harm.
For example, studies in 2016 by the U.S. National Toxicology Program(1) and in 2018 by the Ramazzini Institute(2) clearly demonstrated that exposures at frequencies emitted by smart meters caused both cancer and DNA breaks in animals at levels well below the FCC’s own “safe” limits.
Other replicated effects at lower levels of exposure(3) include neurological damage in animals after even short exposures, including leakage of the blood brain barrier.(4) Even more alarming is the fact that research has clearly established how children absorb far more RF radiation than adults, especially in the brain, making them much more vulnerable to harm.(5)
The article also claims that “… the radio frequency of a cellphone puts out 1,100 times more energy than a smart meter,” and that a “a wi-fi system puts out about 2.2 times more energy.” This seems grossly misleading, and deliberately confuses average power with peak power. According to the Silver Spring Networks Whitepaper on Radio Frequency Emissions(6) provided by Pacific Power, the average power output of a wireless laptop and the smart meters look pretty much the same, because they average out the daily output of each one. However, while laptop emissions are continuous, smart meter emissions come out in short, high-frequency pulses about 1,000 times higher than the average RF power a laptop puts out.(6,8) They know this, but don’t tell you. While recent scientific research shows that even the RF emitted from laptops has harmful effects,(7) other research indicates the exposure to pulsed RF in a smart meter will have a potentially greater, and more biologically disruptive, effect.(9)
In addition to the health risks posed by smart meters, there are also privacy concerns. Smart meters send and receive information. According to an article in the MIT Technology Review by Antonio Regalado, senior editor of Biomedicine: “Because smart meters yield readings frequently (every 15 minutes in some cases), it’s theoretically feasible to deduce what is happening inside a home — what appliances are being used, how many people live there, even what schedules they keep. In 2011, the University of Washington(10) showed that electrical signatures could determine if a TV in a house was playing “Shrek 2” or “The Lion King,” and are able to tell which electrical devices you are using in your home and when you are using them, which allows them to construct information on your habits and schedules.”(11)
According to an article in Politico, “’Smart online power meters are tracking energy use — and that data may soon be worth more than the electricity they distribute.”(12) When they sell your data without your permission to corporations and government agencies, that is a violation of our Fourth Amendment right to privacy.
For information on what you can do to try to protect yourself and your family and keep your safe, reliable analog meter, please visit http://www.freedom2sayno2smartmeters.org/.
Eli Dumitru of Medford works as a caregiver for the elderly. He has been a volunteer activist on several causes, including facilitating the Green Party meetings in Eugene in 1996 and was a member of the steering committee of GMO-Free Jackson County in 2012 and 2013. He is currently on the steering committee for Freedom to Say No to Smart Meters.
EMF: New Canadian RF Detection Meter
It was designed and Engineered in Canada by the Engineers of Safe Living Technologies. Circuit boards made in Silicon Valley USA, the unit is assemble in Cambridge Ontario Canada. The unit provides a quick and simple assessment of the RF present in your environment and requires no technical experience. The Safe and Sound also has a sound signature analysis mode which helps identify which RF Sources you are being exposed to. It is the most accurate detector in its price range ($149 US). It has been lab tested and has a true linear response in the entire frequency range (especially above 3 GHz) which sets it apart from all others. It measurement levels are in accordance to Building Biology Guidelines SBM-2015 and backed with a 2 year Warranty.
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What “Smart Meters” Are Supposed To Do
Smart phones are extremely common now, and nobody seems to have a problem with them. But smart meters? That’s a different story completely.
Pacific Power’s announced plans to convert Oregon residential customers to smart meters–devices that deliver power usage information through a wireless network–have met with vocal opposition.
Members of the public have expressed concerns about the meters and what they are capable of doing, both in tracking power usage and in emitted radiation.
Christina Kruger from Pacific Power visits to explain the workings.
SMART METERS OPT OUT DECISION NORTH CAROLINA:
The official decision. Pages 10-14 are especially interesting. Commission acknowledged out-dated FCC standards.
Have you ever got a song stuck in your head that you just can’t seem to shake? That catchy piece of music on a recurrent loop in your brain, also known as an earworm, may seem torturous but pales in comparison to actual sound torture employed for military purposes. Sound torture is a type of psychological warfare used to break the will of prisoners using loud music or white noise. While many of us use music to escape or even center ourselves, it can also be used as an instrument of torture under the right conditions.
Sound Torture During The Iraqi War
After details emerged regarding the U.S. military’s use of torture during the Iraqi War, common methods of physical torture, including “waterboarding,” hooding, and physical abuse, came under immense national and global scrutiny. The use of torture remains a widely debated issue when it comes to the treatment of military detainees. Music torture is currently banned by the United National Convention Against Torture, but it is still permitted under U.S. law. The United National Convention Against Torture defines torture as:
any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
Errol Morris’s 2008 documentary “Standard Operating Procedure” focused on abuse and torture of prisoners at the Abu Gharib prison in 2003 by U.S. soldiers. A clip from the film features a U.S. soldier explaining the use of deafening music to have a psychological impact on prisoners of war.
So-called “no touch” torture is by many considered more humane compared to waterboarding or hooding, but it’s just as effective when it comes to coaxing information out of military prisoners. Other forms of “no touch” torture that are combined with sound torture include sleep deprivation, controlling the temperature of interrogation rooms, and violating the prisoner’s religious or cultural beliefs. Even though the prisoner is not harmed physically, human rights activists still find these techniques to be a violation of basic human rights.
How Sound Torture Works
Certain interrogation reports highlight the use of loud music reaching upward of 79 decibels for weeks and even months. Heavy metal music, such as Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name Of,” and Deicide’s “Fuck Your God,” often ends up on the CIA’s “torture playlist.” However, the most popular song used to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detention centers in Iraq or Afghanistan was “I Love You” by Barney the Purple Dinosaur.
In addition to the ear-splitting decibel level, the music’s content is often chosen to offend the prisoner’s cultural beliefs. Sergeant Mark Hadsell from the U.S. Psychological Operations Company (Psy Ops) toldNewsweek:
“These people haven’t heard heavy metal. They can’t take it. If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down, and your will is broken. That’s when we come in and talk to them.”
Although it may illicit the desired psychological effect of weakening the mental state of detainees, vice president of the Psy Ops Veterans Association Rick Hoffman said the interrogation technique has no long-term effect on the prisoner. Still, soldiers who are required to undergo sound torture for 45 minutes as a part of training would rather not do it again.
No matter how loud the music is or what its lyrics are about, the result is the same: the incessant use of music to cause discomfort among prisoners. Music used to break down the resistance of an enemy during interrogation is described as “futility music.” Professor Suzanne Cusick from NYU studied the effect of music torture in her 2009 paper, “‘You are in a place that is out of the world. . .’: Music in the Detention Camps of the ‘Global War on Terror.'” She describes futility music as a technique used to persuade a detainee that resistance to interrogation is futile.
History of Sound Torture
Sound torture is nothing new. In fact, using sound to psychologically attack an enemy has roots in the ancient Aztec culture. The Aztec “Death Whistle” served a variety of purposes from human sacrifice rituals to warfare. During a siege on enemy territory, the Aztecs warriors would sound the “Death Whistle” in an effort to cause their enemies psychological discomfort before the impending battle. The skull-shaped tool produces a terrifying screech that has to be heard to be believed:
The U.S. has also employed sound torture outside of the Iraqi War. In December 1989, Panama’s military dictator Manual Noriega took refuge in the Vatican Embassy a few days after President George Bush launched Operation Just Cause, an invasion of Panama aimed toward overthrowing Noriega. The U.S. military broadcasted a playlist that included Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Guns N’ Roses, and Van Halen’s “Panama” over a military radio station.
While General James D. Thurman said music acted as a “sound barrier” that would prevent journalists from listening in on negotiations with Noriega supporters, none could dismiss the psychological pressure it put on both the Vatican Embassy and Noriega. Noriega surrendered to the U.S. military on Jan. 3, 1990, after 10 days of listening to the hard rock playlist.
Between Feb. 28 and April 19, 1993, federal and state military and law enforcement in Texas executed what is now known as the Waco siege. The siege took place at the Mount Carmel Center that housed the Branch Davidians, a religious group led by David Koresh. Over the course of seven weeks, the FBI used an unconventional playlist that included Tibetan chants, Christmas carols, and Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” to weaken the will of besieged Koresh followers. In the end, a fire allegedly started by sect members killed 76 people, including Koresh.
Musicians Against Sound Torture
How do the musicians whose music is used for sound torture feel about this interrogation technique? Musicians whose songs have been featured on military “torture playlists,” including Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, have been outspoken over the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, especially when considering their music is used in the torture.
Reprieve, a British legal action charity that provides legal representation for Guantanamo Bay prisoners, launched the Zero dB (against music torture) initiative in 2008 to persuade musicians into standing up against the U.S. military and central intelligence agencies (CIA) use of their music as a torture device.
It’s difficult for me to imagine anything more profoundly insulting, demeaning and enraging than discovering music you’ve put your heart and soul into creating has been used for purposes of torture,” Reznor said in a blog post dated December 11, 2008. “If there are any legal options that can be realistically taken they will be aggressively pursued, with any potential monetary gains donated to human rights charities. Thank GOD this country has appeared to side with reason and we can put the Bush administration’s reign of power, greed, lawlessness and madness behind us.
Other musicians whose music has been used in this interrogation process don’t find it all that offensive. James Hetfield, co-founder of Metallica, whose music frequently pops up on reported “torture playlists,” is even proud that his music has been used by military personnel in the past.
We’ve been punishing our parents, our wives, our loved ones with this music forever. Why should the Iraqis be any different?” Hetfield said in a radio interview. “It’s the relentlessness of the music. It’s completely relentless. If I listened to a death metal band for 12 hours in a row, I’d go insane, too. I’d tell you anything you wanted to know.
Don’t Want a Smart Meter? Get a Doctor’s Note
North Carolina’s Duke Energy is giving customers a unique way to opt out of smart utility meters, but it requires getting a doctor to diagnose them with electrosensitivity.
/ JUNE 26, 2018
(TNS) — North Carolina will start offering an unusual escape clause for the thousands of North Carolina residents who complain that Duke Energy’s two-way communication utility meters give them headaches, ear-ringing and a case of the “brain fog.”
Residents who say they suffer from acute sensitivity to radio-frequency waves can say no to Duke’s smart meters — as long as they have a notarized doctor’s note to attest to their rare condition.
The N.C. Utilities Commission, which sets utility rates and rules, created the new standard on Friday, possibly making North Carolina the first state to limit the smart meter technology revolution by means of a medical opinion. It took the Utilities Commission two years to resolve the dispute — longer than it takes to review a complicated rate increase or to issue a permit to build a coal-burning power plant — after considering the warnings and denials of conflicting studies and feuding experts.
Charlotte-based Duke had proposed charging customers extra if they refused a smart meter. Duke wanted to charge an initial fee of $150 plus $11.75 a month to cover the expense of sending someone out to that customer’s house to take a monthly meter reading. But the Utilities Commission opted to give the benefit of the doubt to customers with smart meter health issues until the Federal Communications Commission determines the health risks of the devices.
“This is a huge step in the right direction,” said Andrew McAfee, a former music professor at UNC Chapel Hill and one-time principal horn for the N.C. Symphony Orchestra for 15 years who says proximity to cellphone towers, WiFi signals and wireless utility meters causes a burning sensation on his skin, gives him the sweats and makes him agitated.
“The removal of Duke’s opt-out fees stops that added insult to injury for many who suffer debilitating electrosensitivity conditions and their associated health costs,” McAfee said. “Most importantly, the NCUC order recognizes our medical doctor’s proper role in determining what is healthy, not the FCC.”
Duke Energy’s two North Carolina utility subsidiaries are in the midst of switching its 3.4 million North Carolina customers to smart meters, which record electricity usage patterns in minute detail, rather than just showing the total amount of power used in a month. The granular data can be used to develop and coordinate energy efficiency strategies and to better manage the power grid during heat waves and other times of high energy demand.
And smart meters automatically transmit customer usage data to the utility company for analysis and billing.
Duke Energy Carolinas has installed more than 1.5 million smart meters so far. Duke Energy Progress, which plans to install 1.4 million, has installed 34,560 since May, said Duke spokesman Jeff Brooks.
About 6,000 Duke customers have expressed concerns about smart meters, Brooks said. The ones who do complain about it can be very persistent.
“More than a dozen individuals, including a physician, stated that they have personally experienced debilitating health impacts from the cumulative impact of RF emissions,” the Utilities Commission said in its ruling. “A few went so far as to assert that RF emissions from smart meters contribute to violence and homicides.”
The commission received a statement from the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany in New York, co-signed by four other scientists and doctors. The letter said the greatest risk of radio frequency wave exposure is cancer, but symptoms include memory loss and fatigue.
Duke submitted a review by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services concluding there is insufficient evidence to link radio frequency exposure to health problems. DHHS based its conclusions on research and statements from the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences.
After endless pleas and living in four different homes in the Triangle, McAfee reached a truce with Duke and for the past several years has been served on a landline utility meter, not a wireless meter. It is costing him $5 a month, and he expects the Utilities Commission’s ruling will exempt him from the monthly fee.
It remains to be seen whether all doctors lend their name and professional reputation to affirming a highly disputed medical condition. But McAfee, who now runs a business to detect electromagnetic frequency waves, predicted those who experience the symptoms are determined to keep their bodies and brains from getting bombarded by wireless signals.
“People are motivated and will find a way,” McAfee said. “I have already heard of one person today bringing one to their doctor’s office.”
Duke won’t be obligated to provide a landline meter to all customers. The Utilities Commission said Duke can install a smart meter and turn off the wireless transmissions so that the computerized device works like an old-fashioned meter.
Duke had submitted information that 33 states have opt-out fees for customers; Vermont forbids utilities from charging opt-out fees to customers, while Pennsylvania doesn’t allow customers to opt out.
©2018 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
HOSED BY HYDRO
We recently received our hydro bill and were astounded to find that, according to hydro, our usage has actually gone up 24 per cent over the same period last year. Nothing has changed in this household: no more people, no more showers, no more laundry than last year, and we heat with natural gas so we are perplexed as to how this could be.
I have never had any faith in the “smart meters” that were installed years ago. I think they’re faulty and always to the benefit of hydro. When we went on holiday last winter, we turned off the water heater, turned down the thermostat and despite no showers, no cooking, no laundry and minimal lights, our bill was only $20 less. ONLY $20. We were gone for half the month so how does hydro explain that one?
The only thing I see that’s increased over last year has been our bill. We’re looking forward to seeing how Doug Ford is going to deal with this in order to give Ontario families some relief from being totally screwed for years by the Liberal government.
Michelle Mancini Smart Meter Trial Update
Bluffton, South Carolina, 6/6/18: Arrested for “tampering” with a smart meter Palmetto Electric Cooperative, Inc. forced on her home, Michelle Mancini argued in court that the prosecution (State of South Carolina) had not provided all the evidence in her case. Judge Nancy Sadler agreed and granted an extension of seven weeks to prepare for a jury trial. The new trial date is Friday, July 20, 2018, with a pre-trial roster meeting on July 11th. Also in Ms. Mancini’s favor, the judge ruled that lay witnesses may testify.
Maintaining that her arguments could be made at trial, Judge Sadler denied Ms. Mancini’s Motion to Dismiss based on the grounds that a vice-president at Palmetto Electric committed fraud when he claimed in a police report that Mancini stole electricity from Palmetto. Back in 2015, Ms Mancini began to ask Palmetto if it would change out the dirty-electricity-emitting smart meter for a safe, non-communicating analog meter, as other utilities do. After numerous requests over more than two years, with Palmetto always refusing to comply, Mancini hired someone to do just that, photographed the entire process, and documented her electricity usage. She sent the documentation along with the smart meter itself to Palmetto’s CEO via UPS.
Evidence that Ms. Mancini is seeking from the state includes a recording of a telephone call during which the Beaufort County Sheriff stated to Mancini that the matter concerning the change-out of the smart meter was civil, not criminal. One of his own deputies reviewed Ms. Mancini’s documentation of her replacement of the smart meter at her home and stated the same — further proof that she never should have been arrested.