As a concerned parent of a special needs child, the controversy over the installation of the proposed smart grid technology, smart meters and the associated health consequences that it entails, has placed me in a most uncomfortable position.
My son, Brennan was born with Down syndrome and I am both his voice and advocate. I take that responsibility seriously, in every aspect of the word. When I heard that we were getting smart meters here on Kauai, I immediately knew that not only would this impact the health of my son and family, but all of Kauai’s citizens.
As an IT professional and expert in data research and corollary extrapolation, I have researched smart meters extensively. My findings confirmed that indeed, smart meters are a hazard to one’s health in many ways. The pamphlet and response published by KIUC is both misleading and inaccurate.
It is hard to believe in this age of information, with almost unlimited access via the Internet, that there could be any doubt about the adverse health effects being perpetuated upon Kauai’s citizens. Of all the discrepancies that KIUC have fostered upon the public, it is their false assurance of safety that is most disconcerting.
Dr. David Carpenter, a former head of the New York State Department of Public Health, now the director of the University of Albany’s Institute for Health and the Environment asks:
“What is the evidence that smart meters are safe and have no adverse health effects? The answer to that question is that there is no such evidence.
And in fact, while no one has done human health studies in relation to people living in homes with smart meters, we have evidence from a whole variety of other sources… that demonstrates convincingly and consistently that exposure to radiofrequency radiation at elevated levels for long periods of time increases the risk of cancer, increases the damage to the nervous system, causes electro-sensitivity, has adverse reproductive effects and a variety of other effects on different organ systems.
So there is no justification for the statement that smart meters have no adverse health effects. The smart meter is for the benefit of the utility… and at the expense of the consumer, who has to live in the house that has this constant exposure.”
This is just one voice in a chorus of voices speaking out on the dangers of smart meters. I have read the papers of dozens of doctors with the same conclusions as well as research by prestigious universities, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and the World Health Organization that conclusively shows both health and psychological impacts.
The Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine opposes the installation of wireless “smart meters” in homes and schools based on a scientific assessment of the current medical literature. Chronic exposure to wireless radiofrequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action.
As representatives of physician specialists in the field of environmental medicine, we have an obligation to urge precaution when sufficient scientific and medical evidence suggests health risks which can potentially affect large populations. The literature raises serious concern regarding the levels of radio frequency (RF – 3 KHz – 300 GHz) or extremely low frequency (ELF – o- 300 Hz) exposures produced by “smart meters” to warrant an immediate and complete moratorium on their use and deployment until further study can be performed.
The board of the American Board of Environmental Medicine wishes to point out that existing FCC guidelines for RF safety that have been used to justify installation of “smart meters” only look at thermal tissue damage and are obsolete, since many modern studies show metabolic and genomic damage from RF and ELF exposures below the level of intensity which heats tissues.
The FCC guidelines are therefore inadequate for use in establishing public health standards. More modern literature shows medically and biologically significant effects of RF and ELF at lower energy densities. These effects accumulate over time, which is an important consideration given the chronic nature of exposure from “smart meters”.
The current medical literature raises credible questions about genetic and cellular effects, hormonal effects, male fertility, blood/brain barrier damage and increased risk of certain types of cancers from RF or ELF levels similar to those emitted from “smart meters”.
Children are placed at particular risk for altered brain development, and impaired learning and behavior. Further EMF/RF adds synergistic effects to the damage observed from a range of toxic chemicals. Given the widespread, chronic and essentially inescapable ELF/RF exposure of everyone living near a “smart meter”, the Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine finds it unacceptable from a public health standpoint to implement this technology until these serious medical concerns are resolved. We consider a moratorium on installation of wireless “smart meters” to be an issue of the highest importance.
And now that smart meters have been rolled out across the United States and installed on the homes of over 3 million unsuspecting customers within the last two years, there is growing evidence and consensus that smart meters and smart grids pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of these people.
I have literally read thousands of complaints about the adverse health effects that smart meters have had on customers from Maine to California. How many people will develop thyroid cancer or leukemia or simply lose time at work because they can’t sleep, ever since that man from the utility company installed that new meter outside their bedroom window?
These are the very real human costs of the reckless deployment we are witnessing now—costs that companies like Silver Spring and PG&E are sticking to ordinary people on the mainland—so they can boost their own profits.
And now this nightmare has come home to roost here on Kauai. This is the uncomfortable position that KIUC has placed me in. In order to protect the health of my son and family, to protect their future, I am now positioned as David versus the Goliath that is KIUC.
I did not choose this, I had hoped that with the mountain of available medical studies and testimony, the people that oversee the health and welfare of the public would step in to protect us from corporate greed.
The company officials at KIUC have counted on ignorance to pull off this deployment, and up till now it has worked. But I can remain silent no longer. I speak for Brennan, and all who would be forced to submit to the crime of being exposed to these dangers.
The indifference and corporate attitude displayed by the KIUC officials and their representatives to the legitimate safety and health concerns of its Co-Op members borders on the criminal. Of the numerous benefits that KIUC has quoted, 1 and only 1 is true, the “Ability to monitor energy consumption”.
2 years of factual data exists from the deployment of smart grids from Maine to California, and in all instances not one of the benefits quoted were realized. There were no energy savings; in fact the utilities themselves used more energy as a result of the grid. Power quality has not improved, there are no real-time benefits of energy use available to consumers, and the claim that these meters would help in demand response is patently false.
So what is driving this move by KIUC, which would have them ignore the safety and health issues of such an extensive and expensive roll out? My research points to but one conclusion and that is greed. It is listed in their very own press release of October 4, 2011 –
“The new infrastructure will allow KIUC to conduct remote meter readings . . . and allow the utility to evaluate alternate rate designs.”
In other words, a multi-level billing tier system based on “Peak demand hours”. Customers in California were shocked when their monthly utility bills doubled and tripled overnight when their tier system was implemented. People who were already paying $300 a month got hit with bills of over $1000. The same is planned for Kauai.
By changing their rate structure from a single pro-rated system to a multi-level tier system, KIUC is poised to rake in millions more on the backs of the unsuspecting public. In a tier system, rates are based on “Peak demand”, with the highest rates at peak hour usage.
Such a system is the epitome of greed and avarice, for it punishes those who have no other option but to comply to this grand larceny. A perfect example would be price gouging, a recognized crime.
If during the after work shopping “peak demand” stores starting charging 3 times more for the same groceries, arrests would be imminent. Not so with utility companies, and the officers and board at KIUC know this.
With such a system in place, as on the mainland, rate increases of 300% or more at the highest tiers are the norm, tripling their revenue. As a non-profit entity, KIUC should represent its member’s needs, respect their input and concerns, and above all serve in the best interests of responsibility, reliability, accountability and transparency.
I speak for Brennan and all others whose voice KIUC has refused to hear. I will hold KIUC to their charter, and the highest standards of conduct and honesty. The time to remain silent has passed, and I will remain silent no longer. For Brennan’s sake, I am tasked as David to confront the Goliath that KIUC has become.