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Will Smart Meters Be Stopped in Worcester?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

 

The rollout of wireless electric meters continues to face opposition in Worcester and across the United States.

Criticism of the smart grid pilot program in Worcester has postponed public hearings on a final wireless tower as National Grid says it continues to look at alternative siting for the new infrastructure.

Does Worcester want smart meters?

“I think it's a stalling tactic,” said Tim Sullivan, a resident whose property abuts an electrical substation on Tory Fort Lane where a wireless tower was initially planned. “What does National Grid have to do with telecommunications?”

Opponents say utility companies have used the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to undermine local communities' ability to block new towers. In addition to not being a good neighbor, through five years of construction at that substation, Sullivan said he had health and cost concerns with the changeover to wireless meters.

National Grid spokesperson Deborah Drew said the city Zoning Board of Appeals had requested additional information recently that the company was not prepared for by the Dec. 2 meeting. “We are preparing that for the (board) and we will appear at the next meeting in January,” she reported Wednesday.

The smart grid pilot program in Worcester plans to include 15,000 customers, who'll be the first in the state to adopt the wireless metering technology.

Benefits

A national effort underway to modernize the electrical grid, fueled by billions of federal dollars (2009's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated $4.5 billion for grid modernization, with $3.4 billion of that designated for smart grid investments), an October report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found a penetration rate of advanced meters of approximately 30 percent nationwide, or almost 46 million.

The advanced meters give power companies a clearer picture of energy use and outages, enabling them to restore service more quickly after storms and better meeting demands on the grid. (The regulatory commission's report noted quicker responses to outages in 2012 including after Hurricane Sandy in Maryland and the District of Columbia.)

Consumers meanwhile are promised future access to more complex and detailed data about their energy use, allowing them to conserve during peak periods and reduce usage. Future rate plans can charge higher rates during peak times and lower rates during off-hours.

Smart grid technology is also seen as better accommodating plug-in electric vehicles and home renewable energy sources including solar power systems and wind turbines.

But the so-called “smart meters” — particularly ones that transmit information wirelessly along radio wave frequencies akin to a cellphone or residential Wi-Fi router — have their critics.

Concerns

“There's a difference between the smart grid and the smart meter,” said Sullivan.

Opponents of wireless meters, in Massachusetts and other states, cite possible health risks and privacy concerns — in addition to the cost of implementation.

“I feel it's being pushed as a green issue — and it's more a profit issue,” Sullivan said. “They're spending a fortune, and it's only a pilot project.”

Patricia Burke, a Bay State resident who suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, says the nation is on a “very dangerous trajectory.”

“It's such a huge issue, because it's our whole relationship with wireless technology,” Burke said. Given higher limits on acceptable radio frequency levels here than abroad, “the chances are the U.S. is going to have a more serious problem.”

Stop Smart Meters In Massachusetts is a statewide group organized against the wireless meters in the Bay State. Local activist Steve Quist meanwhile has organized Worcester residents against the rollout.

 

National Grid response

Drew called the Worcester pilot National Grid's “flagship” program in the state.

“This is a way to listen, test, and learn about emerging technologies and how we can benefit customers with a program that offers energy control, energy savings, and energy information,” she said.

National Grid has rolled out approximately 14,500 meters to customers to date, although the program doesn't fully launch until next year.

Previously responding to health and privacy concerns related to the wireless meters, Drew told GoLocal that the equipment used was in compliance with Federal Communications Commission guidelines and that the company would continue to comply with laws and regulations designed to protect consumer information.

The FCC, American Cancer Society, and World Health Organization have not found a causal relationship between radio frequency field exposure from consumer devices and harm to humans like cancer, although the issue continues to merit further study. (Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is not a recognized medical condition in the U.S.)


Pilot program still rolling out

On the Worcester's zoning board agenda for much of 2013, National Grid was seeking a new 80-foot lattice tower in place of an existing 55-foot wooden pole at the company's Tory Fort Lane substation.

An alternative is to erect a 90-foot-tall pole at a substation on Mill Street near Tatnuck Square. The improvements would install wireless antennas to transmit information to and from wireless meters in the area, and complete the current pilot program in the northwest part of the city.

Drew said concerns with the original Tory Fort site prompted National Grid to identify other sites. “Our testing confirmed the location at our Mill Street sub is situated such that it provides good communications to the devices we have planned for the area,” she said this week.

House bill 2926 introduced in this year's legislative session would give consumers the choice of wired or wireless meter, and require public utilities to obtain written consent before installing wireless meters on ratepayers' properties.

The measure would go further than similar approved restrictions in a half-dozen other states including neighboring Vermont, where residents are able to opt-out of having a wireless meter installed.

 

Related Slideshow: New England Communities With the Most Political Clout 2013

The Sunlight Foundation, in conjunction with Azavea, released data maps this week showing political contribution dollars to federal elections dating back to 1990 -- by county.

GoLocal takes a look at the counties in New England that had the highest per-capita contributions in the 2012 election cycle -- and talked with experts about what that meant for those areas in New Engand, as well as the candidates.  

Prev Next

25. Merrimack County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.86

Total contributions: $1,447,713

Merrimack County is named after the Merrimack River and is home to the states capital, Concord. Merrimack County has a total area of 956 square miles and a population of 146,761.

Prev Next

24. Cheshire County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.88

Total contributions: $759,209

Cheshire is one of the five original counties in New Hampshire and was founded in 1771. The highest point in Cheshire County is located at the top of Mount Monadnock, which was made famous by the poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

Prev Next

23. Rockingham County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.96

Total contributions: $2,965,530

Rockingham has 37 communities and has a population of 297,820. Rockingham County also was home to the famous poet, Robert Frost

Prev Next

22. Belknap County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.02

Total contributions: $604,512

Belknap County is one of the ten counties in New Hampshire and has a population of 60,327. It is located in the center of New Hampshire and the largest city is Laconia.

Prev Next

21. Hampshire County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.41

Total contributions: $1,664,077

Hampshire County has a total area of 545 square miles and is located in the middle of Massachusetts. Hampshire County is also the only county to be surrounded in all directions by other Massachusetts counties.

Prev Next

20. Barnstable County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.90

Total contributions: $2,348,541

Barnstable County was founded in 1685 and has three national protected areas. Cape Cod National Seashore is the most famous protected area within Barnstable County and brings in a high amount of tourists every year.

Prev Next

19. Berkshire County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $12.49

Total contributions: $1,624,400

Berkshire County is located on the western side of Massachusetts and borders three different neighboring states. Originally the Mahican Native American Tribe inhabited Berkshire County up until the English settlers arrived and bought the land in 1724. 

Prev Next

18. Essex County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $13.22

Total contributions: $9,991,201

Essex is located in the northeastern part of Massachusetts and contains towns such as Salem, Lynn, and Andover. Essex was founded in 1643 and because of Essex historical background, the whole county has been designated as the Essex National Heritage Area.

Prev Next

17. Chittendon County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $13.86

Total contributions: $2,196,107

Chittenden has a population of 158,504, making it Vermont’s most populated county. Chittenden’s largest city is Burlington, which has about one third of Vermont’s total population.

Prev Next

16. Lamoille County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $14.82

Total contributions: $369,854

Lamoille County was founded in 1835 and has a population of 24,958. The county has 464 square miles, of which 461 of them are land.

Prev Next

15. Addison County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $15.49

Total contributions: $569,299

Located on the west side of Vermont, Addison County has a total area of 808 square miles. Addison's largest town is Middlebury, where the Community College of Vermont and Middlebury College are located.

Prev Next

14. Newport County, RI

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $16.02

Total contributions: $1,214,26

Newport County is one of the five Rhode Island Counties and was founded in 1703. Just like Connecticut, none of Rhode Island counties have an any governmental functions.

Prev Next

13. Cumberland County, ME

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $18.33

Total contributions: $5,205,507

Cumberland County has a population of 283,921 and is Maine’s most populated county. The county was named after the William, Duke of Cumberland, a son of King George II.

Prev Next

12. Windsor County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $20.57

Total contributions: $1,156,149

Windsor County is the largest county in Vermont and consists of 971 square miles of land and 5 square miles of water.

Prev Next

11. Bristol County, RI

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $20.91

Total contributions: $1,027,472

Bristol County has a population of 49,144 and is the third smallest county in the United States. Bristol County was originally apart of Massachusetts, but was transferred to Rhode Island in 1746.

Prev Next

10. Grafton County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012 :$20.95

Total contributions: $1,868,739

With a population of 89,181, Grafton County is the second largest county in New Hampshire. Home of New Hampshire’s only national forest, White Mountain National Forest takes up about half of Grafton’s total area 

Prev Next

9. Carrol County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: 2012: $22.81

Total contributions: $1,012,10

Created in 1840, Carroll County has a population of 47,567. Carroll County was also named after Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Prev Next

8. LItchfield County, CT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $22.86

Total contributions: $4,286,143

Although it is Connecticut’s largest county, Litchfield has the lowest population density in all of Connecticut. Since 1960 all Connecticut counties have no county government.

Prev Next

7. Middlesex County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $32.81

Total contributions: $50,432,154

Middlesex County has a population of 1,503,085 and has been ranked as the most populous county in New England.  The county government was abolished in 1997, but the county boundaries still exists for court jurisdictions and other administrative purposes.

Prev Next

6. Nantucket County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $33.41

Total contributions: $344,021

Nantucket County consists of a couple of small islands and is a major tourist destination in Massachusetts. Normally Nantucket has a population of 10,298, but during the summer months the population can reach up to 50,000.

Prev Next

5. Norfolk County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $35.87

Total contributions: $24,459,854

Named after a county from England, Norfolk County is the wealthiest county in Massachusetts. As of 2011, Norfolk was ranked the 32nd highest income county in the United States. 

Prev Next

4. Dukes County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $36.32

Total contributions: $618,960

Consisting of Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands, Dukes County is one of Massachusetts’ top vacation spots. Originally Dukes County was apart New York, however it was transferred to Massachusetts on October 7, 1691.

Prev Next

3. Suffolk County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $40.73

Total contributions: $30,323,537

Suffolk County has a population of 744,426 and contains Massachusetts’s largest city, Boston. Although Suffolk’s county government was abolished in the late 1900’s, it still remains as a geographic area.

Prev Next

2. Knox County, ME

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $45.89

Total contributions: $1,820,410

Knox County was established on April 1st, 1860 and was named after American Revolutionary War General Henry Knox.  The county has a population of 39,668 and is the home of the Union Fair.

Prev Next

1. Fairfield County, CT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $55.65.  

Total contributions: $51,970,701 

In a population of 933,835, Fairfield County is the most densely populated county in Connecticut, and contains four of the state's largest cities -- Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk and Danbury.

 
 

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Comments:

Patricia Burke

The International Agency for Research on Cancer declared RF technology as Class 2B possible human carcinogen in May of 2011, stating:

"The IARC Monograph makes quite clear that applicability for the IARC declaration for a Group 2B carcinogen does indeed apply to all RF emissions in the range of 30 kHz to 300 GHz from all sorts of wireless devices, including wireless smart meters. Some smart grid advocates had tried to interpret the original IARC declaration and the associated press release in May 2011 for applicability to mobile phone emissions only.

Smart meters are specifically mentioned in the IARC Monograph as a “Domestic Source” of RF emissions.

Many other nations have lower RF limits to begin with, and are not using wireless smart meter technology in their utility upgrades.

Patricia Burke

IARC Publishes Rationale for RF as
Possible Human Carcinogen

Two-Year Gestation

April 19, 2013
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has released its detailed evaluation of the cancer risks associated with RF radiation, which serves as the rationale for designating RF as a possible human carcinogen.

The IARC monograph comes close to two years after an invited panel of experts from 14 countries reached this conclusion following an eight-day meeting at IARC headquarters in Lyon, France (see our report).

An electronic copy of the 430-page document is available at no cost from IARC. A paper copy will be available soon.

The basis for IARC designation of RF as a Class 2B carcinogen is summed up in one sentence: "Positive associations have been observed between exposure to radiofrequency radiation from wireless phones and glioma and acoustic neuroma" (p.421). Those associations with brain tumors and tumors of the acoustic nerve were observed by the Interphone study group and Lennart Hardell's team in Sweden.

The panel's decision was close to unanimous. One strong dissent came from Peter Inskip of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, who walked out of the IARC meeting before the final vote. One or two others, including Maria Blettner of the University of Mainz in Germany, were reported to have also disagreed with the majority opinion. There was talk that the dissenters would file a minority opinion, but no signed statement appears in the IARC monograph. Instead, their view is included in the final paragraph of the report: The available evidence does not support a "conclusion about a causal association" due to "inconsistencies" between the Interphone and Hardell studies and the lack of an exposure-response relationship.

The dissenters also point to a lack of association in a large Danish study —though this effort has been widely criticized (see our take). Finally, the dissenters argue that, "up to now, reported time trends in incidence rates of glioma have not shown a trend parallel to time trends in mobile-phone use." That last argument was punctured in November when the Danish Cancer Society reported a spike in aggressive brain tumors over the last ten years. At the time, an insider called the increase a "frightening development," though no link to cell phones was made.

Edward Saucier

I think Patricia hit the nail on the head with this one sentence. "Many other nations have lower RF limits to begin with, and are not using wireless smart meter technology in their utility upgrades."

No. 1 - The US will not copy what other countries do because they are too egotistical. It's their way or the highway. US ideas = good. Other country ideas = bad.

No. 2 - Most of congress works for the corporations and not "the people." What's good for the corporations is good for us, whether we like it or not, whether it's harmful or not.

Embrace fascism, we're almost there.

Patricia Burke

The Wood for the Trees:

Cell Phones and Smart Meters, The Network(s) is the Problem

Note: The requested variance for a controversial 90 ft. WiMax tower 70 ft. from a Worcester residence by National Grid has been postponed 7 times, for 7 months, and is scheduled for Jan. 13, 2014 with the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Worcester Smart Meter 4G WiMax pilot program includes the installation of 12 towers which are not necessary, and unprecedented, for a smart meter pilot program.

The City of Worcester is in an extraordinary position to help shape federal policy for microwave radiofrequency ambient exposures.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has suspended its practice of publishing Specific Absorption Ratings (SAR) for cellular phones. (SAR is the 'safety' gold standard measurement of how fast and how much a large human head heats up when exposed to a cell phone.) The Environmental Working Group stated, “In the face of multiplying uncertainties, with virtually no data on network-dependent radiation levels, EWG has decided not to continue publishing its cell phone radiation guide."

EWG intends this action “as a statement of protest to the absence of authoritative, credible data that could help consumers make informed choices about the mobile communications devices they bring into their homes, schools and workplaces.” The EWG is but one of many groups concerned about outdated FCC guidelines governing wireless technologies.

The City of Worcester and the Commonwealth of MA can adopt similar caution and wisdom, by protesting the lack of credible data concerning involuntary exposure of residents to radiofrequencies generated by the National Grid private 4G WiMax network and Smart Meter Pilot Program.

The contrived choice of “opting out” of a single meter does not offer protection from radiofrequencies generated by the pilot’s 242 antennas and 12 towers, (or the in-home microchipped appliances). Exposures may be higher for those forced to live and work in the footprint of the infrastructure, and those living in higher elevations of the hilly city, closer to the transmission pathways, or in those unfortunate homes outfitted with the neighborhood node, also known as the medusa meter. Due to questionable invocation of Section 704 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, residents are gagged from seeking protections from adverse environmental and health impacts.

“The Environmental Working Group stated, “…other factors that could affect the intensity and duration of emissions to which a person is exposed include frequency at which the phone operates, connection strength and distance between cell phone and the user's body. Yet FCC does not require cell phone manufacturers to conduct real-life SAR measurements and to disclose this information. Consequently, cell phone users and independent researchers do not have reliable information about cell phone radiation under specific conditions of use.”

Smart meters continually pulse bursts of microwave radiation 24/7/365, up to 190,000 times per day. National Grid has not provided credible evidence that the meters and their networks are safe for children, pregnant women, medically vulnerable residents, or anyone. Experience has already proven that the meters are not safe for a portion of the population. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has upgraded its cautionary stance to a call for a full moratorium on smart meter deployment based on 92 case histories. The AAEM concluded that smart meter installation has coincided with the onset of crippling electromagnetic hypersensitivity, also known as premature aging syndrome.

Significant research has emerged since the Department of Public Utilities approved the Worcester Pilot Program. City leaders may not realize that they are endorsing human experimentation without knowledge or consent for an unproven technology that has since been classified a possible human carcinogen by the World Health Organization, in 2011. The City's decision to enroll residents in the program without citizen representation should be reviewed.

Because the pilot is widely touted as having been co-created with the community, residents also have the right to ask how National Grid’s pre-pilot budget of $1,817,780 was spent. Many residents do not know that they have a smart meter or that they are part of a pilot program. Residents targeted for the installation of 5,000 meters before the pilot was even approved were definitely not informed, yet were auto-enrolled.


The City, in collaboration with National Grid, can and should re-examine the assumptions driving the initiative. The Environmental Working Group stated, “No one is asking hard questions about the unintended consequences for human health of seemingly limitless growth of the wireless industry.”

Worcester has the smarts, the resources, the opportunity, and the responsibility to ask the hard questions, now.

Patricia Burke

Clare Donegan

StopSmartMetersMassachusetts

HaltMAsmartmeters.org

Patricia Burke became disabled as the result of smart meter installation in Northern CA in 2009. She works with informed environmentalists across the country calling for new biologically-based RF limits. With fellow MA activist Clare Donegan, she raises safety, health, privacy, cost, customer choice, and green-washing concerns. Along with Worcester residents, they oppose the absence of citizen representation, the over-run of local zoning ordinances, the lack of regulatory oversight, the invocation of TCA 1996, and the covert installation and resulting RF exposures of the smart meter program

Patricia Burke

The FCC solicited feedback concerning RF limits,
and this is part of the Nov. 2013 statement form the City of Boston:

"The 1999-2000 judicial challenge to the FCC’s 1996 rules never reached the issue of “electrosensitivity” as a cognizable disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. (“ADA”) Here again, an agency responsible for ADA implementation acknowledges that the impairment may be disabling but has promised merely further inquiry. After more than a decade, that investigation remains unopened.
The dockets here have been updated with massive additional evidence of the crippling effects of RF radiation on an admitted minority – but a suffering minority – of U.S. citizens.
The FCC and its sister regulatory agencies share responsibility for adherence to the ADA and should replace promises with serious attention to a serious medical problem. This is one area where the FCC could lead in advice to electrosensitive persons about prudent avoidance."

If it were ethical, the Worcester pilot could be the test ground for the resolution of this issue. But human experimentation without knowledge or consent is unethical, especially in light of emerging evidence of harm.

If you are already sensitive to EHS, contact your city councilor and state senators and reps and the attorney general and ask how you will be accommodated during the pilot, and who will pay. If you have MS, a pacemaker, a deep brain stimulator for Parkinsons, etc. you may want to research the issue.

Patricia Burke

Read about the American Academy of Environmental Medicine's position paper on Smart Meters.

They have updated their position from a recommendation for caution to a moratorium based on a review of 92 case studies, and have concluded that the meter installation is coinciding with the onset of EHS.

Also, visit the Berkshire Litchfield Envirronmental Council position statement on Smart Meters.

Patricia Burke

Storm outage response due to smart meters is overstated by industry.

The benefits of a smarter grid vs. smart meters are often lumped together inaccurately.

The meters provide maybe a few minutes of quicker notification at the most. The crews still need to be deployed.

Improvements in the grid itself should not be lumped into smatter metering, and this also includes the integration of solar. This benefit should not be attributed to smart meters.

Outage management depends on "trees, trucks and training."
Prevention is the best strategy, and that includes vegetation management and removing the double poles that abound though-out MA due to inadequate maintenance.

Because the WiMax towers require line of sight, residents should audit how many trees have been removed in Worcester for the pilot program, which is an experiment.

Patricia Burke

Berkshire Litchfield Environmental Council:
 “The meters also do not stimulate the economy, but do cut jobs. Their large-scale rapid
deployment, benefiting utility and meter company stocks, conceals the reality that today’s
utility business model is broken, being propped up by these market distortions, and may
require a government bailout to truly embrace renewable energies in America.”
 "In reality, these meters and their dedicated networks are primarily for the benefit of
utilities, reducing their operating costs and increasing profits by firing meter readers--
ironically with federal stimulus funds--while doing essentially nothing to advance what
should be the real goal of the smart grid: balancing supply and demand and integrating
more renewable sources. Instead, the meter networks squander vast sums of money,
create enormous risks to privacy and security, introduce known and still unknown
possible risks to public health, and sour the public on the true promise of the smart grid.”
 "The present policy approach to electricity infrastructure in the United States depicted in
the report, Policy Framework for the 21st Century: Enabling Our Secure Energy Future,
issued by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) of the Executive Office
of the President, evidences a fundamental lack of understanding of the problems
associated with the future of electricity and energy.”
 "There are inherent conflicts in the monopoly utility business model preventing the
nation from moving to a renewable energy economy, and utilities may eventually require
a government bailout.”
 "Because Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) are paid on a per-kilowatt-of-energy-sold
basis, and also receive a guaranteed ROR on assets, they do not have a financial incentive
to encourage less energy usage, or to invest in technologies that would help citizens
reduce energy consumption.”
 "Investors in utilities gain from the smart meter deployment, as they would from any
other capital expenditure, while there is no clear gain and significant new risks (financial,
privacy, security, health and safety, and cost) for the ratepayer and consumer.”
 "We must stop subsidizing a centralized, wasteful infrastructure approach that will not
lead to sustainability and that puts the nation at long-term global economic

Patricia Burke

From Berkshire Litchfield:
Symptoms increasingly reported in the population, sometimes with sudden onset after smart meters have been installed include: heart arrhythmias, headaches, sleeplessness, dizziness, concentration problems (‘brain fog’), memory loss, skin rashes, lowered libido, fatigue, malaise, miscarriages, immune system effects with more frequent colds/flu and fertility problems.11
This is just a fraction of what is currently available regarding concerns in professional circles and calls for reform and caution. The European Union’s Environment Committee has called for caution, as has the European Parliament.12 Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, the UK, Spain, Israel, India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries have in varying degrees also called for precaution when it comes to RF exposures. Many professional groups throughout Europe have called for more stringent controls.13The US lags far behind in research, regulatory update, and recommendations to protect the public. Industry is given way too much benefit of the doubt at the expense of public health.
Of special concern are people with implanted medical devices like deep-brain stimulators for Parkinson’s, pain pumps, ventilators, some pacemakers, insulin pumps, and in-home hospital equipment. The radiofrequency interference (RFI) inherent to smart grid/metering can cause such equipment to go haywire, or even stop altogether. RFI from ambient exposures has caused wheelchairs to behave erratically and surgical beds have jump.

Clare Donegan

Mr. Wright did a pretty good job on this article. The subject is complex, made more so by the talking points, propaganda and half truths so often promulgated by government and industry.

So-called ‘smart’ meter/infrastructure, proponents are, in my opinion 1) focused on monitoring and controlling activity in the heretofore inviolable American household, 2) are truly ignorant (or ingest only propaganda), and/or 3) are firmly ensconced on the gravy train.

Mr. Wright must be excused for his error regarding the stimulus dollars pumped into ‘smart’ meters and their infrastructure. It is not the $3.4 or $4.5 so often quoted. Those figures are JUST the Department of Energy. Remember the Rural Broadband imitative? Well, it had nothing to do with getting the internet to farmers: it was actually all about ‘smart’ meters/infrastructure. In fact, ‘smart’ meter/infrastructure dollars are buried in many other projects, as well. The true ‘stimulus’ total is in the area of $28 Billion* so $244 (borrowed from China and long gone) per American household has already been dumped into ‘smart’ meters/infrastructure.

The Worcester ‘smart’ meter/infrastructure supposed pilot (it is truly a proving ground already characterized as a success though it has not officially begun) will cost Massachusetts National Grid ratepayers a reported $44 to $48 Million. This does not include the meters/infrastructure installed before the pilot was approved by the DPU (5,000 ‘smart’ meters were, ahhem donated by the manufacturer so the cost for them was ‘only’ $400,000). This ALSO does not include the DPU ‘Grid Modernization Working Group’ which I suspect is tens of millions but cannot find a figure or budget. It also does not include the cost of the wonderful, customer engagement National Grid ‘Sustainability Hub’ because everything and all labor for it was, ahhem donated. I wondered at the ‘invitation only’ (funny, huh) grand opening (I crashed) who donated the tent, chairs, food, huge screen TV’s, and the slick video that was full of half truths. Hmmm.

$44-$48M does, however include $1.8 Million for pre-pilot customer education. Funny that the HaltMAsmartMeters.org July survey showed that 87% of those with ‘smart’ meters did not know they had a ‘smart’ meter and that zero, yes zero percent knew they were participating in a pilot program.

Note, every cent, publicized or not will be recouped from you and me: National Grid ratepayers. Attorney General Coakley calculated $2,973 per meter but I estimate the figure is closer to $4,000 per household and fear it could be much more.

Extrapolated, even using Martha Coakley’s $2,973 figure the cost to deploy Commonwealth-wide will be about EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS.

You may not care that unknown number of unvetted people who will be able to tell with a keystroke how old your appliances are, if you cook using your stove or microwave, how often you do laundry or shower. You may not even care that they will be able to tell if you house is occupied or empty. You may not care that there is a group of people who become ill in the presence of microwave / radiofrequency / EMF’s (no, they don’t have cell phones or use Wi-Fi). You may not care that of the $48M budget only a couple hundred thousand went to security (Note, Attorney General Coakley was adamant that ‘smart’ meter remote shutoff capability be removed – it wasn’t.) so one good hack, terrorist or some greasy kid in mom’s basement could literally bring entire regions of Massachusetts to absolute standstills.

You may not even care about the Worcester families whose neighborhoods will be blighted forever not by cell phone towers but towers exclusively for ‘smart’ meter/infrastructure data. (You may care when the other 80% of the Worcester data towers are erected with impunity misusing the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to gag you and your neighbors!)

Worcester is the place and now is the time – after our $8 Billion is spent there will be no going back.

Every fact cited above can be found at http://haltmasmartmeters.org/comprehensive_booklet/


Contact HaltMAsmartMeters@gmail.com if you would like a lawn sign.
.
.
Call National Grid at 855-377-7627 today and say get this darn thing off my house (after you check to see if you have one chances are one in five that you do if you live in Worcester).




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