This from a Sedona resident (we report, you decide):
Like power companies all across the U.S., and in fact like all power companies in the “western world”, Arizona Public Services (APS) is currently in the process of changing out every single electric meter and replacing them with meters misleadingly called “smart meters”.
This email is being sent because I have found that many people are unaware of this new meter roll-out, the threats the meters pose to health, and how they violate property and privacy rights. The few stories on this subject in the mainstream media are (surprise!) mostly cheer-leading misinformation, and for whatever reason, even the alternative media has not covered the issue much.
There are only two ways in which these meters might be called smart. They will spy on you night and day and keep a dairy of your electrical use categorized by appliance type, and they have the ability to shut off or otherwise control any “smart appliance” you may have. Don't have any of those? You most likely will when state agencies like the Arizona Corporation Commission (or the U.S. Dept. of Energy) mandate their use. BTW, the California Public Utilities Commission has already done just that.
In this email I will provide you with links to some basic information on these new meters, meters which are actually new surveillance devices. Towards the end of this email I will tell you what I have done and am doing to stop APS from messing with my meter and my life. You will need this information because, as you will see, no one can stop these meters but you.
In addition to lies and propaganda, the scam rests on your “implied consent”. In other words, if you do nothing to stop the new meter installation, your consent to surveillance, search without a warrant and having your house turned into a giant microwave is “implied”. Experience in other areas of the country has shown that, once installed, it is next to impossible to get the power company to remove the new meter, even after one's health fails.
Every 40 seconds, so-called “smart meters” will send a signal over your house's wiring. So they are constantly transmitting pulsed microwave radiation, an environmental toxin and carcinogen. A chip inside the meter can read the signal when it returns after searching your house for any electrical use. The chip can distinguish exactly what appliance is being used and when. Example:
electric toothbrush used from 11 pm to 11:02
bathroom fan used from 11pm to 11:05
two 60 watt bulbs used from 7pm to 11:07
TV used from 8pm to 10:59
corded, electric vibrator used from 11:07pm to 11:19 – Yes, it will even know that.
Collected information is sent periodically throughout the day and night via cell phone signal to the power company's data collection center. Out of cell phone reach? Then the meter will just relay the info to the next closest meter. This wireless piggybacking will continue until cell reception is reached.
Of course the power companies maintain that all info is private and secure. Of course I don't believe them.
For numerous reasons, too many people will want your “lifestyle” info – what electricity consuming products you use, how much and how often, when you are home, when you are not home, etc. The meters can also read any RFID tagged items you might have at home. People interested in your information – for commercial or nefarious reasons – will be willing to pay for it or hack for it. And hacking is easy. From Smart Meters and Security: Locking Up the Grid ( http://www.technewsworld.com/rsstory/67791.html?wlc=1312784542 ):
This worm replicates itself throughout smart meters once it's introduced into one meter.
The IOActive worm is a rootkit that apparently lets hackers assume full system control of all exposed AMI [Advanced Metering Infrastructure] capabilities, including remote power on and off, usage reporting, and communication configurations.
Introducing the worm into a smart meter is not hard to do, Davis told TechNewsWorld. Just pluck a smart meter off the outside wall of a residence or building -- they're often connected to the structure by a simple zip tie -- then reverse engineer the software, load your own firmware onto the meter and re-connect it to the structure.
"Once you infect a meter, it can infect others," Davis said. A simulation engine he wrote showed that a neighborhood grid with 22,000 houses equipped with smart meters can get infected within 24 hours.
"Every new meter that's infected will update two others wirelessly using their peer-to-peer networking feature," Davis said. "Hackers have already been using AMI grids to send and receive data in Europe."
The power companies of course also maintain there is no health risk from this new and heightened level of radio frequency (RF) generated by both the meter itself and its pulsed signal running through your house's wiring. Of course I don't believe them.
Dr. David Carpenter, a Harvard Medical School-trained physician who headed up the New York State Dept. of Public Health for 18 years before becoming Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Albany, states,
“We have evidence…that exposure to radio frequency radiation…increases the risk of cancer, increases damage to the nervous system, causes electro-sensitivity, has adverse reproductive effects and a variety of other effects on different organ systems. There is no justification for the statement that Smart Meters have no adverse health effects.”
Carpenter is not the only one who has come to this conclusion. I am trying to keep this email brief while still covering all the bases. Much more information, including tragic personal stories, can be found on-line. Do a search.
Another risk posed by these meters is fire. Smart meters are not UL approved. If your house burns down because the meter exploded or fried your wires, the power companies' responses have been that it is not their fault because “smart meters do not explode”. Yet in researching this issue I have read plenty of horror stories of the meters doing just that despite the stonewalling and denials of the power companies.
5.2.1 The customer shall save Company harmless from and against all claims for injury or damage to persons or property occasioned by or in any way resulting from the services being provided by Company or the use thereof on the customer's side of the point of delivery.
From the U.S. Dept. of Energy propaganda quoted below ( http://www.smartgrid.gov/the_smart_grid#smart_home ), I can infer that in the future there will be a manufactured "need" for everyone to buy new “smart” appliances, based on regulatory decree or artificial economic incentives or both. Voluntary now, mandatory later is the usual M.O. of any government agenda. And of course, the corporate world will love that.
Smart appliances will also be able to respond to signals from your energy provider to avoid using energy during times of peak demand. [Translation: Big Brother controls your appliances] This is more complicated than a simple on and off switch. For instance, a smart air conditioner might extend its cycle time slightly to reduce its load on the grid; while not noticeable to you, millions of air conditioners acting the same way could significantly reduce the load on the power grid. Likewise, a smart refrigerator could defer its defrost cycle until off-peak hours, or a smart dishwasher might defer running until off-peak hours.
Of course, these smart appliances will include consumer controls to override the automated controls when needed. If you need to run your dishwasher right away, regardless of the cost of power, you'll be able to do so. [Oh, you want to run during peak? Fine, but it'll cost you]
With this in mind, A.A.R.P. has come out against the meters:
And while you may be able to put off doing the laundry, it’s harder to re-schedule the use of medical or home-cooling equipment that could mean the difference between life and death. ( http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-03-2010/smart-meters-are.html )
Power companies, the U.S. Dept. of Energy (which has subsidized the meters to the tune of $3.5 BILLION), as well as a few clueless mainstream “environmental” organizations – The Sierra Club, The Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council – support these meters in the name of energy efficiency. However, efficiency at the price of health and the Bill of Rights is no “efficiency” at all. I am not consenting to it. Besides, some researchers have determined that any energy savings is actually offset by the new energy demands of the so-called “smart meters” and “smart grid” themselves.
The SMART GRID system is nothing more than a system of accelerated energy costs with accompanying tax increases. The system cannot and does not deliver more efficient use of energy and isn’t meant to. The intent of the GRID and the meters is to pin energy rates to the ever fluctuating markets enabling the energy provider to charge the highest rate possible in any given period of time. Higher rates mean higher taxes. This isn’t about energy conservation or any of the other nonsense put out as propaganda to foist these deadly meters upon an unsuspecting public: This is simply a business plan meant to unlawfully spy on private citizens while extorting the public for corporate profits.
It turns out that EDF’s [Environmental Defense Fund] conflicts of interest run deep. John Doerr of Woodside CA is one of the main venture capitalists backing Silver Spring Networks - the company responsible for the health damaging wireless technology in “smart” meters. He is on President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and is the 540th richest man in the world - worth approximately $2.2 billion - ironically the same amount as PG&E’s initial costs of smart meter deployment. When Obama visited the Bay Area in February, he (drove past our protests) and dined at Doerr’s house in Woodside. This guy has connections. His wife Ann Doerr - is on the board of directors of Environmental Defense Fund. Beginning to catch on? The trail leads to the most powerful people in the country. The advisory board of Silver Spring Networks includes none other than Al Gore. The growing debacle of the “smart grid” must be quite an inconvenient truth.
The new meters also suffer from inaccuracy, another “impossibility” according to power companies. In fact, the power companies' spin is that your bill is now higher, not because of the new meter, but because your old meter was wrong!
"My bill was $2,281, and we were gone three weeks," said Hahn, who said she's continued to see a 400 percent increase in her energy bill ever since.
Marisa Banks told a similar story. Her mother went on vacation in July, but, she said, "In that month her bill was $873."
Something I find particularly irksome is APS preaching “efficiency” while at the same time using our money to play at being a philanthropist. Last year they gave away $6.7 million.
APS is a monopoly public utility. Their job is to provide electricity. Period. They have no business raising our rates while playing at – and bragging about – being a “community benefactor”.
Similarly, how can anyone make sense of a monopoly public utility spending $5 million per year on advertising? Advertising might make sense if there were competing electricity providers in any given territory. We all know there are not.
APS claims their ads are to encourage energy efficiency (like promoting the dreadfully toxic CFL bulbs). I think APS is just trying to position itself as "green".
I spoke at length about the ad budget with the APS Propaganda Minister, or rather, the “Vice President of Communications”. He said it is cheaper to get people to cut back on electricity via ads than it is to build a new power plant. I think if APS had a product or program that really saved people money then APS would not have to spend anywhere near $5 million to promote it. After all, I don't know of anyone who enjoys giving APS money.
Buying media can also buy a compliant media. In other words, news outlets on the receiving end of APS' $5 million ad budget are disinclined to bite the hand that feeds them by criticizing APS or giving APS negative publicity.
And what's up with guilt-tripping residential customers about conservation and then giving a “bulk rate” to large business users? Comparing the various rates APS has posted at its website, one can see that the price per kilowatt actually gets lower with increased business usage but higher with increased residential usage. So businesses get a sweet deal for the more electricity they use, but residential customers get punished with a rate that accelerates. And shouldn't “equal protection under law” apply to all customers of a state regulated public monopoly?
I have been told by both an APS representative and a staffer at the Arizona Corporation Commission that the charitable donations and ad budget come out of “shareholder equity”. But let's face it; there would be no “shareholder equity” without customers who pay electric bills.
And how does anyone make sense of a company, whose mission is to serve the public, selling electricity to Mexico? Yes, believe it or not, APS sells electricity to Mexico. Of course it is claimed that it really isn't that much and has no effect on our rates. But let's think about this a minute. We are told we need to conserve energy. The so-called smart meters are propagandized as part of that effort. Yet if energy is so scarce that we have to conserve it then why is our public utility selling it to a foreign country?
When APS stops wasting money on advertising and their pet “causes”, when APS treats all customers equally and quits giving discounts to a select group of energy gluttons, when APS serves the American Public and not some foreign country's public, then we'll talk about “efficiency”.
One more thing to consider is property values. In a community that values health and privacy, I would think that properties which do not have RF emitting surveillance devices attached to them would have more value than ones that do.
That is the video that got me started. The speaker lays it out eloquently. Attached to this email is the letter he suggests you write to the power company. I have edited his letter a bit, adding point #11 and making it better IMO. I sent my copy certified mail to APS as he suggests.
I want to make it clear that I am not telling you what to do. I am telling you what I have done based on many hours of researching this issue and what others have done. What you do is of course up to you. Just remember no one, no organization or political entity is going to save you. Due to the nature of “implied consent”, as well as the close cooperation between power corporations and the very governmental commissions designed to “regulate” them, you will have to look out for yourself.
The first thing I did was call APS (800 253 9405) and tell them I was opting out of getting a smart meter. The APS person said there was no provision for opting out. This is true as of this writing since the Arizona Corporation Commission (AZCC) did not provide for that when it gave APS and the other Arizona power companies the go-ahead for the meter change-out. By the way, doesn't that tell you where the AZCC's sympathies lie and how little they care about you?
Anyway, I told the APS guy he did not understand me. I said APS does not have my permission to use my wiring for surveillance. This was clearly over his head since his reply was that all the meter did was send a cell phone message back to APS. I wasted my time trying to explain to him that the information being sent would be illegally obtained. But the upshot was that, because I refused to let him bamboozle me, he put me through to a “supervisor”.
The supervisor was not there but I left a message informing her that under no circumstances did APS have my consent or permission to install any so-called smart meter or other surveillance device on my house.
Later that day I received a message on my voice mail from the supervisor who sounded bored and like she was reading from a script. She informed me that a smart meter would not be installed at my house. She also said I would be placed on an opt-out list when APS got permission from the AZCC to have one. Out of habit, I made the mistake of deleting the message. I would suggest saving any such message you might get.
This sounds like good news. Game over; I'm done; I won and all that, right? Wrong. Policy can change, and I don't trust APS to tell me the truth. Also, there really is no opt-out policy yet in Arizona so the battle is not yet won.
The next thing I did was to send APS the attached letter of no consent, certified ($2.85) and with return receipt ($2.30).
I figured I had the situation under control until I read of meter installers around the country ignoring any such postings and installing the meters anyway. So people serious about stopping a new meter installation cage off their old meters. In fact, this tactic seems to be the only one with any measure of success.
Since each meter location is different, if you want to take this extra precaution you'll have to devise something specific to your meter's location. Keep in mind the meter must still be readable, and the cut-off switch must still be reachable and workable. Any bars going across the face of the meter should be as close to the glass as possible to make meter replacement impossible. See the attached photos for examples.
In my case, I contracted with a welder to make a steel cage. Using “one-way” security screws, I fastened it to the wall the meter is on. The cage covers the meter making replacement impossible. Since any sort of security, including my cage, can be defeated, I made another sign advising that anyone tampering with the cage will be prosecuted for vandalism and trespass. I also advise that the premises is monitored. And again, I recorded it with a photo.
All this may seem a bit over the top but, having read what others have experienced at the hands of power companies and their installers, I do not think it is.
BTW, one of the most successful defenses I found on-line is one where the meter can be read from behind a fence which is corralling not just the meter but ferocious dogs.
Some meter defenders around the country have reported being threatened with a power shut-off but none has actually occurred. This seems a bluff on the part of the installers, who are sometimes subcontractors getting quota bonuses. It is a bluff I am willing to call.
APS is sending out a form letter to anyone who sends in a no-consent letter. In their letter APS reminds people of section 5.4.2 of the Terms & Conditions of Service which says in part:
Company’s authorized agents shall have satisfactory unassisted access to the customer’s sites at all reasonable hours to install, inspect, read, repair or remove its meters or to install, operate or maintain other Company property, to verify that customer is in compliance with its obligations, or to inspect and determine the connected electrical load. If, after six (6) months (not necessarily consecutive) of good faith efforts by Company to work with the customer, Company in its opinion does not have satisfactory unassisted access to the meter, then Company shall have sufficient cause for termination of service or denial of any rate options where, in Company’s opinion, access is required. ( http://www.aps.com/_files/rates/sched-01.pdf )
At this point I don't care about section 5.4.2. APS is threatening me with trespass and illegal wire tapping via the unlawful use of my wiring. Since more than one person in involved on their part, it is actually a premeditated criminal conspiracy. I am acting in self defense by caging off my meter.
I printed out the complaint form and included both a hard-copy of my original letter of no-consent to APS and a hard-copy of the APS reply letter in my response which I mailed in to the AZCC.
Amongst other things, here is what I wrote the AZCC:
In a two page letter sent August 5th to APS I made it quite clear and in no uncertain terms that APS did not have my permission or consent to install a surveillance device (AKA "smart" meter) at my house. I made clear that my home's wiring was my own and APS would be guilty of trespass if they used my wiring for any purpose whatever.
APS replied in a letter dated August 22nd. As you can see from their letter, APS spent a whole paragraph telling me how “safe” and “secure” my information would be with them. Inherent in telling me this is obviously the assumption that APS has some right to my information in the first place. Since collecting my information will involve using my wiring (my property), and since APS does not have my permission to use my property, APS is either very mistaken or is blatantly intent on committing illegal surveillance and the crime of trespassing on my property to obtain information to which they are not welcome.
APS spent another paragraph saying how safe the RF was. While I strongly disagree with them, this is not relevant. Safe or not, APS does not have my permission to use my wiring to send over surveillance gathering RF in the first place. Again, doing so will constitute trespass.
Citing section 5.4.2. of their Terms & Conditions of Service, APS claimed the right to install a new meter but magnanimously told me they were placing my replacement on a “temporary hold”. While it is true that APS has the right to install a new meter, these Terms & Conditions were written by them and agreed to by me when "new meter" meant new analog meter. It did not mean a meter that also doubled as a trespassing surveillance device. I have placed a permanent hold on APS installing a surveillance device on my house. No meters with surveillance capabilities that make use of my wiring are permitted at my house.
APS closed by telling me they looked forward “to working together in the future to identify a mutually satisfactory solution”. APS' satisfaction is not my concern. APS' satisfaction shall be confined to whether or not I pay my bill. My concern are APS' threats of criminal trespass and unauthorized surveillance. The question for the Commission is just what exactly does the Commission intend to do about these criminal threats? Will you be a co-conspirator in criminal activity or will you serve the public and rein in a rogue power company?
I also told them:
… get real clear on the following basic points:
APS does not have the right to attach a surveillance device to my house.
You do not have the right to tell APS they can attach a surveillance device to my house.
My home's wiring is not APS' property.
My home's wiring is not your property.
My home's wiring is my property.
APS does not have my permission or consent to send a radio signal over my wiring.
APS does not have my permission or consent to use my wiring -- my private property -- for any purpose whatsoever.
You do not have my permission or consent, or any right whatever, to tell APS they can use my wiring -- my private property -- for any purpose whatsoever.
- Any use of my home's wiring that is not authorized by me, the owner, will be considered criminal trespass.
In addition to the complaint sent by mail, I emailed them what I had written which included many of the video and article links above.
While I have few expectations that our state legislators or county supervisors will enact any legislation against these meters, I figured it probably would not hurt to at least get this issue on their radar screens by Cc'ing them with the same email I sent to the AZCC.
Here are their email addresses:
No email addresses found for Coconino County supervisors but webforms are here: http://www.coconino.az.gov/bos.aspx?id=83
I used “smart commissioners needed, not “smart meters”” as the email's subject heading so at least that message was read in case the email was deleted without being opened.
Given their abysmal track record and habitual aversion to facts and logic, I have even fewer expectations that the Moronic Convergence (AKA Sedona City Council) would do anything on our behalf regarding these new meters. Nevertheless, I do live in hope so I Cc'd them too.
My derision and low expectations of the Council aside, the experience in California, where 45 political jurisdictions have passed some sort of a resolution against the meters, is that the power companies just ignore them. Really. To my knowledge there is only one municipality there that has issued an ordinance with any teeth. It passed a straight-out ban with a provision for fines, but the law sunsets in 6 months. Not good enough in my estimation. These meters will not be any better 6 months from now. Maine is the only state that has protected people's rights and passed effective opt-out legislation.
So, again, my point is: Only you can help you. Only you can withdraw your “implied consent”. No one can do that for you. And only you can protect your meter.
We can all help each other, though, by making this our line in the sand. I have made it mine. I hope you will make it yours.
As I said before, this issue is nationwide yet little known. Feel free to forward this email to everyone you know. People in other towns and other states will all be facing this forced surveillance and RF bombardment if they haven't already. The issues and the M.O. are basically the same everywhere. And feel free to copy and paste anything I've written and use it as your own.
August 28, 2011