Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you promote analog meters, why not promote wired meters?

  • Wired meters will still collect data on how we use power in our homes- which is still a privacy risk.
  •  Wired smart meters emit radiation onto the electrical lines. The utilities call it “unintentional radiation”. This is dirty electricity and it affects our health. More info.
  •  Wired, digital meters cost up to 10X more than an analog and will not have near the useful life an analog has. It will have to be replaced more often and that cost will be paid by customers.
  • See this comparison for: Ranking Electricity Meters for Risk

Customer resistance and our collective demand for analogs won us the right to opt out- to an analog meter in California. The utilities were trying to force us to take a “radio off” wired meter, but the legal opt out meter is the analog.  We were also told “they don’t make analogs anymore” but that is just not true.  Analogs are available and will be if customers demand them.

Questions you can ask your utility by Dr. Powell Questions You May Want to Ask Your Electric Power Company about Wireless Smart Meters

Where can I find a doctor who knows about electrical sensitivity?
Try the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) referral search for a doctor in your area. See left side bar. http://aaemonline.org/
AAEM has taken a strong stand against smart meters. See the following posts:
http://emfsafetynetwork.org/physicians-groups-says-smart-meters-effect-health-the-evidence-is-irrefutable/
http://emfsafetynetwork.org/american-academy-of-environmental-medicine-calls-for-a-halt-to-wireless-smart-meters/
Print these out and bring with you to the doctor visit.

Our elementary school is meeting to discuss installing wi-fi. What can I do?
Schools need to apply the precautionary principal and reduce wireless in schools, in all IT systems including phone and internet. Wireless is already classified as a 2b (possible) carcinogen by the WHO IARC.

Wireless pollution is invisible- can’t see or smell it, so the majority of people accept it as safe. The idea that it might not be safe can set off anger and disbelief in parents and in decision makers, who want only the best for children, which they see as the 21st century preparation for a wireless world.

Here is the letter I sent to the SUSD school board and teachers. http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Letter-to-SUSD.pdf  The school board ignored the warnings and bought a wireless system for two schools.

Cindy Lee Russell, M.D., Vice President of Community Health, Santa Clara County Medical Association wrote an article warning about the health risks of technology in schools:  Shallow Minds: How the Internet and Wi–Fi in Schools Can Affect Learning

Find more support documents here: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/advocacy-support/

What EMF protection pendants do you recommend?  We don’t recommend any. Dr. Louis Slesin is a leading researcher on EMF’s.  Here’s his take on protection devices: http://microwavenews.com/nc_sepoct2010.html#Scams  We advocate prudent avoidance of EMF’s.  One example would be to not carry a cell phone in your pocket, instead keep it in a backpack, away from your body. Better yet, use it for emergencies only.  See safety tips here:  http://emfsafetynetwork.org/safety-precautions/

It’s outrageous PG&E is charging to avoid the smart meter.  How can I avoid the fees?  Where can I complain?
You can resist paying the fees, and PG&E will threaten to turn off your power- but so far they have not turned anyone off, that we know of.  Call Mark Torres at PG&E: 415-973-7100 or 800-791-6661

Here’s a letter you could send them along with your payment, minus the opt out fee.
To PG&E billing:

I am paying my PG&E bill in full, minus your “Opt Out” fee of $___.

You imposed Smart Meters upon all customers, without ample testing for health, safety, and privacy concerns. And so far, customers’ complaints show that the meters fail in all 3 areas.

Because of this, I have opted out.  I see no reason to pay a fee to keep a perfectly useful and non-transmitting meter that didn’t need changing to begin with.

Moreover, CPUC has not yet finalized a decision about these fees you impose.

Please consider my bill as paid in full and adjust my account for the “Opt Out” fee.

Signed __________________________________
Name:
Acct #
Billing Date:
cc: CPUC, Consumers Affairs, 505 Van Ness, SF, 94102

What is the range of smart meter transmissions? Are there health effects?  Electric smart meters have a range of at least 1/10 of a mile (or more) and gas smart meters transmit for a mile. The electric smart meter pulses work in a mesh network- transmitting from meters-home to home.  The pulses are strongest near the meter, and there are layers of pulses due to the network.  Each meter transmits an average of 10,000 times a day and up to 190,000 times according to PGE.  Health effects depends on individual make up/health/ and overall exposures to other wireless devices- DECT phones, cell phones, etc.

Is it legal to have five smart meters on one wall?
In California PGE has been approved by the CPUC to install smart meters, even in banks of meters.  Complaints should be directed to the CPUC.
https://appsssl.cpuc.ca.gov/cpucapplication/  The CPUC claims the opt out resolves the problems, but it doesn’t for people who live near neighbors meters, or banks of meters.

How do smart meters work, how many times do they transmit and how much dirty electricity do they emit?
This post gives the background:  http://emfsafetynetwork.org/pges-big-confession/
The document with technical answers from PGE, inc # of pulses (up to 190,000), an average of 10,000 per day.  Dirty electricity is also known as “unintentional radiation”. There are FCC rules about how much an appliance can emit- smart meters emit close to the max amount allowed. For dirty electricity see pg 13-14 http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/PGERFDataOpt-outalternatives_11-1-11-3pm.pdf

Update 2016: PG&E is now using meters that are twice the signal strength: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/pge-2-watt-smart-meters/

Is PGE required to provide analog meters for the opt out program?
Yes, the PG&E opt out meter is required to be an analog meter, not a digital one. Substituting another type of meter when an analog meter is requested is a violation of CPUC General Order 96-B. PGE has used intimidation and a number a lies to justify this wrongful substitution.  How is this possible? Because PGE’s abuses go unchecked by a complicit CPUC.

We advocate for analog meters to avoid the dirty electricity  customers are exposed to from the digital or radio off meters.  Dirty electricity is abnormal spikes of radiation on the electrical wiring that can affect biology and lead to illness. Further, digital meters may cause interference with your appliances, raise your bills, and result in extortionate fees.

Is an advanced meter a smart meter?
Yes, they are smart meters. If they have an FCC ID on them they transmit. The utilities are changing the names to try and avoid customer backlash.

Can smart meters cause fires?  Yes, We have been collecting media and personal reports on smart meter (SM) fires, explosions and burnt out appliances since 2010. A summary of our findings http://emfsafetynetwork.org/smart-meters/smart-meter-fires-and-explosions/

Here’s the full compilation: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/smart-meters/smart-meter-fires-and-explosions/

Are smart gas and water meters safe?
I have received complaints about both smart gas and water meters making people sick. Be aware of the placement of the collectors in the neighborhood as these can also cause problems.

Is going off the grid the best solution to avoid EMF’s in the environment?
A move to the country, if you can do it, is a great choice, but not always practical or possible. Off grid, on a DC system is best as inverters tend to be high in EMF, but a Sunny Boy inverter is reputed to be safer.

Is there anything I can do to shield from smart meters?
The best solution is to restore the analog meter. In some cases where this is difficult or impossible,  like having a rogue utility who will turn off your power if you don’t accept a smart meter, living next to banks of meters, or neighbors meters- shielding can help.

This is the least expensive ready made cover. http://www.rfmetershield.com/

This video shows you how to make a shield for the smart meter:  http://youtu.be/CwzeMOH-Jl4  This shield has been developed to block much of the radiation smart meters emit, (but does not block dirty electricity) http://safety-first-2.myshopify.com/ and here’s instructions on another make your own screen shield.

Less EMF has a webpage on smart meter shielding, and information about RF reflectors and absorbers:  http://www.lessemf.com/smart.html

Is 1/4 mile away from a cell tower a safe distance?
For some people 1/4 mile is too close. Its about 1320 feet. With the new 4G towers a distance of more than 1500 feet is preferable.

Can smart meters cause collar bone pain?
I have heard of cell phones causing arm pain, and smart meters causing body pain. In order to really know have the smart meter removed (if it is on your house) and see if the pain improves.

Is a digital meter safe?
Digital meters w/o antennas still emit RF from the SMPS. See http://eon3emfblog.net/?p=2180  

What is considered safe levels of EMF (magnetic fields) in a bedroom?
As low as you can get it is best, for example 0! However .5 or under best, or under 1mg at least. It depends on your current health and sensitivity.  We recommend turning off the electricity at the breaker box to the bedrooms, and testing with a Trifield meter. EX 100 http://www.lessemf.com/combi.html

Can RF cause hair thinning, hair loss?
Yes, people have reported a connection between RF and hair loss.

I am unable to access the Take Back Your Power film I rented- what can I do?
Please contact Take Back Your Power <info@takebackyourpower.net>.  They should be able to help you with this.

How do you talk to a neighbor whose wi-fi is making you sick?
Giving them info to read could be a first step.  We have a sign on our door asking people to turn off their cell phones.

My utility says its not a smart meter, but it’s a radio frequency (RF) meter. They said there’s no more analogs. What can I do?
If PG&E can install analogs in California, so can your company.  If it transmits RF it is a smart meter. If there’s an FCC ID on it – it’s transmitting RF. Tell them they do not have permission/ consent to install an RF meter on your property and the federal govt gives you the right to refuse as smart meters were never meant to be forced on customers.  Energy Policy Act of 2005, Title Xll, Subtitle E, Section 1252, (a), (14), (C):“Each electric utility subject to subparagraph (A) shall provide each customer requesting a time-based rate with a time-based meter capable of enabling the utility and customer to offer and receive such rate, respectively.”
See other ideas here:
http://emfsafetynetwork.org/action-now/

I think the smart meter is making me sick. How can I get it removed?
Removing the smart meter usually involves calling the utility and telling them you want the analog meter only.  Some states are still forcing customers to have one.  In CA the investor owned utilities have an opt-out program- where you pay not to have one. We are fighting this at the CPUC.  In VT , parts of Los Angeles, and Eugene Oregon it’s free not to have one.

There is a federal law that says smart meters (time of use metering) were meant to be provided to customers-who requested it. You can use this to argue for your legal right to have it removed.
Energy Policy Act of 2005, Title Xll, Subtitle E, Section 1252, (a), (14), (C):“Each electric utility subject to subparagraph (A) shall provide each customer requesting a time-based rate with a time-based meter capable of enabling the utility and customer to offer and receive such rate, respectively.”

Document your health situation prior to and after having it removed. In addition we recommend you replace all wireless devices in your home with wired/corded, esp DECT phones and wi-fi.

The problem with electrical pollution is it can come from different levels and it inhibits the body from detoxifying. There’s magnetic fields from wiring/power lines and appliances. Dirty electricity, which is radiation on the wiring, caused by devices, ins smart meters. Electrical fields also come from indoor wiring.  Then there’s wireless radiation in the air from devices like smart meters, wi-fi, DECT, cell phones and cell towers.

Becoming familiar with this can help you to then practice prudent avoidance, which is to reduce where and when you can.
Having your house tested would be good.  If there isn’t a tester near you, you can learn more about how to reduce and possibly get some meters to test yourselves. http://emfsafetynetwork.org/safety-precautions/

Taking an extended trip to nature- away from cell towers and devices- would also be helpful.  The best we can do in today’s world is reduce the levels in our own home and work, and work towards policy change.

Please summarize the current known health effects of RF on human physiology:
The BioInitiative 2012 Report  reviews over 1800 new scientific studies and includes 29 independent science and medical experts from around the world.  Cell phone users, parents-to-be, young children and pregnant women are at particular risk.
Summary of Key Scientific Evidence:

Evidence for Damage to Sperm and Reproduction
Evidence that Children are More Vulnerable
Evidence for Fetal and Neonatal Effects
Evidence for Effects on Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorders)
Evidence for Electrohypersensitivity
Evidence for Effects from Cell Tower-Level RFR Exposures
Evidence for Effects on the Blood-brain Barrier
Evidence for Effects on Brain Tumors
Evidence for Effects on Genes (Genotoxicity)
Evidence for Effects on the Nervous System (Neurotoxicity)
Evidence for Effects on Cancer (Childhood Leukemia, Adult Cancers)
Melatonin, Breast Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease
Stress, Stress Proteins and DNA as a Fractal Antenna
Effects of Weak-Field Interactions on Non-Linear Biological Oscillators and Synchronized Neural Activity
More info here: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/bioinitiative-2012-report-new-urgent-warnings-on-wireless-and-emf-public-health-risks/

How can I find out more about the PGE smart meter opt out proceeding at the CPUC?
We have an appeal, filed January 2015, pending decision before the CPUC: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M144/K897/144897236.PDF

EMF Safety Network legal work is posted here:  http://emfsafetynetwork.org/emf-safety-network-legal-work/

Can commercial accounts opt out of smart meters in California?
SDGE was the only utility where it’s is formally addressed in the opt-out decision. For PG&E and SCE there’s no mention of commercial rights in the decisions (silent).

See the commercial letters we wrote for PGE (SCE letter link below)

TO:  PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Helen Burt, and Agents of Pacific Gas and Electric Company,                                                                                                  PO Box 997315, Sacramento, CA. 95899-9900

[Today’s date]

NOTICE OF NON-CONSENT TO INSTALL A MICROWAVE TRANSMITTER, (SMART METER) ON COMMERCIAL PROPERTY, NOTICE OF LIABILITY

Dear Helen Burt, PG&E agents, officers, employees, contractors and interested parties:

The installation of a utility smart meter that transmits or emits microwave radiation on the commercial property located at [INSERT BUSINESS ADDRESS], is hereby refused and prohibited.  Because the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) order is silent on opt-out for PG&E commercial customers, we are expecting and asserting the same rights as residential customers, who may opt-out for any reason, or no reason. [1]

While my reasons include [INSERT REASONS], I would expect my request to be honored without a stated reason.

If you refuse our request and place a smart meter at our business, we will have no choice but to promptly remove the meter ourselves and restore the analog meter.

Thank you for respecting our request.

Your signature

Your name

Your address

[1] Decision 12-02-014, released February 9, 2012, Conclusion of Law #1.

http://emfsafetynetwork.org/sce-commercial-smart-meter-opt-out-letter/

8 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. This info was so so so helpful. I am an Alabama resident and I have been having severe immunity problems lately. I was sick about every 3 weeks this past year and our Wi-Fi goes out throughout the day for no apparent reason. I was unaware that we even had a smart meter, no one asked me and I have no idea how long it has been on my house. It is right where my family and I sit everyday getting our radiation dose daily. Please advise me what to do to get it removed. I will check out all the links you have provided. Thanks again and I will keep you informed of my battle soon to come with Alabama Power.

  2. have noticed questions about doctors available who know about EMS. The general medical field is not trained in this field. myself and many others have spend much time and money to no avail looking for answers there. This is a brain related illness . There’s an extremely effective program: Annie Hopper.com – her “Dynamic Neural Retraining System” is so effective , therefore becoming very popular, enough to be taking her workshops to Switzerland in December!! EFS was virtually killing me until i happened upon her info in 2011, attended a workshop for 3 days and began healing slowly but very surely thereafter. It is the brain’s Limbic System that becomes damaged and needs “rewiring” thru verbal retraining . Walk, don’t run, to getting this DNRS information, call them and start on your road to healing. take it from an EMS, MCS person who’s back to enjoying her life.

  3. Thank you for providing such a wealth of information on your website.

    I recently moved to El Cerrito, CA and am renting a home in very close proxmity to a large number of power lines that follow up Moser Ave. past the top of the hill and into Wildcat Canyon. We have two young children and moved to El Cerrito because it is safer than where we were living and gives us access to better public schools. It never occurred to me until after we moved in that the nearby power lines may be a new and different challeng.

    We are interested in obtaining consultation around steps we might take to reduce our EMF exposure in the house and have read about the idea of covering widows with a low-E film as well as other steps to reduce exposure. I was curious if you know of such consultants locally who might be able to assist.

    My best regards,

    Stacy

  4. I don’t see any info on the health effects of solar energy on your site. Can you direct me to a resource? My community is becoming heavily reliant on solar & installing more all the time. The citizens here are educated & would need some hard science to be convinced it’s harmful. Any info most appreciated.

  5. Inverters are a problem with solar panel installations- and now some panels also have wireless. I don’t know of a website that covers this.

  6. Hello,
    I have been going back and forth with SCE regarding removing a smart meter on a commercial account. Their last reason for refusing the removal is that they change the rate depending on the time of use so they require this type of meter on the property.
    Has anyone heard of such a thing? Is there no way to get the smart meter off a commercial property in southern California?
    Thank you

  7. PG&E had 6500 commercial customers refusing smart meters, and the CPUC stopped them from filing an opt-out for commercial customers. I think they are just keeping the problem quiet, letting them keep the analogs, and not making it a formal process. With PG&E the squeaky wheel gets the grease. It’s discrimination to allow some to keep analogs and not others. If you demand it they will likely comply.

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