ANH attends inaugural Stop Smart Meters! UK conference and explains why public awareness about their possible risks is vital
A worldwide movement is building to stop the spread of so-called ‘smart’ meters into our homes and workplaces. Innocent looking, yet with potentially disastrous consequences for health and privacy, ‘smart’ meters may become as controversial as genetically modified (GM) foods. Last weekend, Stop Smart Meters! UK (SSM! UK) held its first annual Get_Wired event – and we were there.
‘Smart’ meters: the next GM?
Here’s one for you. What do smart meters and GM foods have in common? “Not a lot!” you say? Well, consider this: they’re both unnecessary, largely untested and potentially deadly technologies that governments appear determined to force on unwilling citizens. And if the push for ‘smart’ meters is going to be repelled, an awakening of public opinion on a grand scale is required – with the closest parallel being GM foods. That’s where SSM! UK comes in.
A worldwide movement comes to the UK
Mike Mitcham began SSM! UK in January 2012 after becoming concerned at the disturbing reality behind ‘smart’ meters, such as the government recently changing the rules so that ‘smart’ meters cannot be replaced with old-style analogue meters once fitted. “Governments and power companies tell us that ‘smart’ meters are going to save us money, make our lives easier, help the environment – that they’re an all-round wonderful thing,” he says. “But the truth is almost exactly the opposite. Put one of these in your home and you can kiss goodbye to any semblance of privacy, and possibly your health and that of your children. Plus your bills are likely to go up by at least 30%! If people knew the facts, it would kill the proposed rollout stone dead – overnight.”
‘Smart’ meters are a health disaster waiting to happen
Get_Wired 2013 kicked off with a presentation by Dr Elizabeth Evans, a former general practitioner (GP) and the co-founder with Mike of SSM! UK. She pointed out that the level of radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emitted by wireless technologies in our cities is up to 1 billion billion times greater than the background level. Because these pulsed microwave EMRs are an entirely new form of EMR exposure, we humans haven’t had the time to become evolutionarily adapted to these frequencies – if, indeed, such adaptation is even possible. As a result, the health risks posed by RF-EMRs are both numerous and significant – but governments and power companies worldwide insist that ‘smart’ meters are safe.
Take Back Your Power!
Get_Wired was the venue for the UK premiere of Canadian film-maker Josh del Sol’s as-yet unfinished feature on smart meters, Take Back Your Power!
Here’s a few gems from this must-see movie:
‘Smart’ meters are intended to form part of home networks in which everyday appliances, such as kettles, toasters and refrigerators, will be microchipped and transmit detailed usage data to the power companies
Spy agencies, such as the USA’s National Security Agency (NSA) currently saturating the news, will be able to use your own appliances to spy on you – and they will do so
Usage data from ‘smart’ meters are being sold to third parties
Power companies tell us that ‘smart’ meters communicate with ‘base’, i.e. the power companies, only several times per day. However, measurements show that most ‘smart’ meters emit around 14,000 powerful RF-EMR spikes per day, and some up to 109,000 per day
Like GM crops, ‘smart’ meters have never received adequate safety testing, and are usually installed by non-electricians who have done a 2-hour training course
Whatever anyone tells you, ‘smart’ meters are NOT mandatory, but power companies assume ‘implied consent’. In other words, you must tell your power company that you don’t want one in your home – get it in writing!
Here’s to a short-lived meeting!
We must congratulate SSM! UK for pulling together such a fascinating and information-packed meeting at a mere 6 weeks’ notice. That said, we’re crossing our fingers that Get_Wired doesn’t become a regular fixture on the calendar – the sooner we’re rid of these Trojan Horse-like ‘smart’ meters, the better, in our opinion! We reckon the meeting will be with us for a while yet, though, and ANH-Intl will be in the front lines supporting Get_Wired and SSM! UK. We implore you to get involved using some of the ideas in the list below.
Call to action
Wherever you are, please get involved with the campaign to stop the rollout – or ‘deployment’, to use the power companies’ favoured militarised term – of smart meters in your country. Here’s a list of some of the operative campaigns:
If your country isn’t in the list shown above, and your power companies are planning a smart meter rollout, why not start your own group to campaign against it?
Wherever you are, the first thing to do is to let your electricity provider know that you don’t want a smart meter installed. It’s vital to remember that ‘smart’ meters are not mandatory, despite what some power companies are saying. UK readers can use SSM! UK’s handy online tool
More than most, these campaigns will depend on people getting out into their communities and talking to people. Remember, even if you refuse permission for a smart meter to be installed in your own home, it won’t be enough if your neighbours have them installed. RF-EMR is no respecter of bricks and mortar! SSM! UK, for example, will send you 25 free leaflets for you to spread around, and you can get a batch for 250 for a £27 donation
Consider a donation so that Josh del Sol can complete and distribute his film Take Back Your Power!
When using computers in your own home, remember the watchword: GET WIRED! Connect your computer to the Internet and your home network using hardwired Ethernet cables instead of Wi-fi
Further tips for reducing your EMR exposure can be found here, here and here
You may wish to consider arranging for someone to perform an EMR survey of your home to determine how best to reduce your exposure