Reprinted from First Do No Harm Blog.
Friday, November 12, 2010
This is really, strictly speaking, illegal because your home is supposed to be your sanctuary. To put something on your home that involuntarily exposes you to a completely untested likely carcinogen, something that you know makes you sick, it’s unethical.–Catherine Kleiber, Waterloo
The nationwide roll-out of transmitting radio frequency utility meters, known as smart meters, has intensified since the federal push and funding for them came through the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Wisconsin utilities got $21.5 million of the $3.4 billion awarded for smart grid projects, including meter installation. But people who are sensitive to the effects of microwave radiation and electrical fields cannot tolerate the new source of emissions. And some Wisconsin utility companies have been bullying their paying customers who have resisted the installation of smart meters, or requested their removal for health reasons.
In fact, the chronic bursts or pulsing of smart meters have not been proven to be biologically safe for anyone. Current federal standards are grossly out of date, not taking into account the growing levels of microwave radiation exposure people now get 24/7 from various sources. Furthermore, FDA/FCC standards are based solely on the heating effect of microwave radiation on a large, grown man, ignoring numerous studies that point to other effects, including irregular heartbeats, melatonin depletion, which affects sleep, and abnormal mast cell proliferation, which affects the immune system and inflammation levels.
In light of this information, it is an outrage the way utility companies are treating individuals with health problems and concerns who are simply trying to control their own home environments.
He said they sent him due to his size and being thuggish. –Mardie Barbiere, Cascade
Take Mardie Barbiere (Hartenstein) from Cascade, for instance. When she got the notice that a transmitting electric meter would be installed on her home, she called We Energies and told them she did not want it. “I said, please don’t send anybody…They sent three people, and the last one was a large thug. He said they sent him due to his size and being thuggish. He was going to intimidate me, and I said, honey, no, no, no. You’re here to do a job, and I appreciate the effort, but I will not be getting the meter,” she reported.
Barbiere had been house-bound for years with debilitating MS. “MS never goes away. I have scarring in my brain and spinal column,” she said. But her MS symptoms quickly cleared up about nine years ago after she updated bad wiring in her home and filtered the remaining electrical pollution using David Stetzer’s electrical filters. Her neurologist, a nationally known M.D., was amazed at her recovery. “All I know is I don’t go to the doctor anymore,” she said.
Barbiere said her children’s health also improved when their home was filtered. So, the feisty 49-year-old was not about to jeopardize her family’s health with a smart meter. She confessed, “I padlocked my electric meter…and I put up a dog fence. Oh yes, I did, girlie. I’m just dead set against them. I did everything in my power to protect my family.”
But then came the disconnection threat from We Energies, with no cut-off date given.
As far as we were concerned they were not being accommodating in the least. –Catherine Kleiber, Waterloo
Meanwhile, Waterloo farmers Catherine and Dan Kleiber had also padlocked their We Energies meter (photo at top.) “We got truck lettering and we made a sign on there,” thirty-seven-year-old Catherine said. She had finally recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome only by diminishing her exposure to electrical pollution on home wiring. Her 36-year-old husband is a Type-1 Diabetic, and his blood sugar levels go crazy upon microwave radiation exposure. Their children also get sick from microwave emissions. This family could not tolerate a transmitting meter on their property.
The Kleibers volunteered to call in meter readings from the existing meter to be able to keep it. But when We Energies offered them three options that was not one of them. They could get the new meter installed where the old one is, have the new meter moved to anywhere on their property at their expense, or get off the grid.
Catherine responded, “As far as we were concerned, they were not being accommodating in the least because we couldn’t have the meter for health reasons. Having it on the property didn’t really help. Excuse me, but saying ‘get off the grid’ is not an accommodation. “ Nevertheless, she and her husband have been exploring how to get off the grid and still keep their farm viable. “We’re working on making sure that we’ll be okay when they cut us off,” she said.
I went chasing the guy, saying please give me back my meter. –Dawn Jones, Milwaukee
“Dawn Jones,” a 58-year-old disabled woman in the Milwaukee area, who wished to remain anonymous, also padlocked her meter and worries they will cut off her power. At her previous house in Brookfield, We Energies had ignored her sign on the meter that said not to change it. One morning, she heard some pounding, and ran outside to find the installation complete and the man just leaving. “I went chasing the guy, saying please give me back my meter. I literally went chasing they guy down,” she said.
The worker gave her a number to call at We Energies. Jones reported, “The guy there said the meter’s not making you sick. And I said, yes, it is making me sick. He said you’re one in a million. I said did you test a million people to see if they’d be sick? You know, they haven’t done any long-term testing.”
Another utility representative had told Jones that if she got a letter either from her doctor or the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, she could have the old meter back. But when she returned with her doctor’s letter, they said, forget it. And the Public Service Commission would not write her a letter either, she said.
So, when Jones moved to her current house, she promptly padlocked the old-style meter to prevent another sneaky installation. The disabled woman soon received a disconnection threat from We Energies.
So, you can let them keep their old meters. What you’re saying is you won’t. –Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Fort Atkinson
Jones, Barbiere and the Kleibers got together and rallied their legislators from both sides of the aisle last spring to avoid disconnection. “This crosses all party lines. This isn’t a party issue. This is just human health,” explained Barbiere. Senator Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, initiated a May 24, 2010 meeting to include himself, Representative Andy Jorgensen, D-River Hills, Connie Schlulze from Senator Alberta Darling’s (R-River Hills) office, Phillip Cornona of Independence First, a Milwaukee agency that helps the disabled, and two We Energies representatives.
Catherine Kleiber said that Grothman’s office set up the meeting “because I think that they couldn’t quite believe that We Energies…absolutely wouldn’t accommodate us.” Barbiere praised the senator: “Glenn Grothman went to bat for us. Glenn Grothman stuck his neck out for us. He went to that meeting.” But when Grothman told the utility men they must have a contingency plan for people who cannot tolerate the new meters, the men replied, absolutely not, everybody will be getting them, according to Barbiere.
Kleiber said the utility reps insisted that the meters were absolutely safe for 100% of people even as Jorgenson, Corona and Grothman were shaking their heads and saying 100% of people? 100% of people can’t eat peanut butter or seafood. Corona demanded to know, even if the meters are safe for 98% of people, what was the utility going to do for the 2% who were getting sick?
Jones asked the We Energies men if they did any tests to show the meters are okay for human beings, and they said, yeah, and everything was okay. When she pressed them to say how long the subjects were exposed to the meters, she reported, “They just talk over you real loud. They started talking about people not paying their bills. We said, we are customers in good standing.”
“They said for every doctor’s letter we had, they would have six more against what (ours) were saying, and they were laughing. We’re looking at pure evil,” Barbiere added.
Jones said that Rep. Jorgensen challenged the two men: “So, you can let them keep their old meters. What you’re saying is you won’t.” After hemming and hawing about liability, the guys said, well, yeah. None of the parties who attended the meeting ever heard a word from We Energies about either getting an exemption or being disconnected. They are protected by law from being disconnected during winter. But how long must these citizens have a disconnection threat hanging over their heads?
You’re just kind of out of luck. – Excel Energy to Jayne Shirky, West Salem
We Energies is not the only utility bully in the state. When 28-year-old Jayne Shirky appealed to Excel Energy for help, they sent her on a pointless quest. The young teacher had already been through a test of her personal resilience and did not need to be toyed with by the power company.
After living most of her life out in the country, Shirky bought a house in the Sparta area with her new husband. “I got sicker and sicker in that house. Every cold and flu the kids had at school I started to get. Pretty soon, my body wasn’t staying in line and I was going to a chiropractor. Pretty soon, I was aching and not sleeping and not able to finish sentences. And it was just compounding to the point where I was becoming dysfunctional,” Shirky said.
Rheumatology told her she had an auto-immune disease, but could not tell her which one. Neural Science told her, “You’re twenty-four and we think you have fibromyalgia.” But the determined young woman rejected that label. “There’s something else going on,” she insisted. After a tip from one of her colleagues, Shirky installed Stetzer’s filters, and she was able to get off all the sleep aids, anti-depressants and neurological pain killers within two or three days. “It was very dramatic,” she said.
But as she healed, the teacher discovered she got worse when exposed to various microwave sources, like her cordless phone and microwave oven. Her house still was a problem, too, she found after being away for a week. After she returned, Shirky said, “Within two days I felt crappy again.”
Stetzer pinpointed the problems: transmitting utility meter signals were getting picked up by the ductwork, which acted like an antenna, and strong cell tower emissions were coming in from a tower that was barely visible behind some trees. Stetzer’s filters could not fix these problems, so the Shirkys put the house up for sale. They lived with her parents out in the country for ten months until they finally found another house with a cleaner electrical environment.
For a few weeks, Shirky felt good there. “Then all of a sudden it was like, I don’t feel very good any more. What’s going on?” she said. She learned that when the utility bill changed hands, Excel Energy changed the meter.
Excel Energy told Shirky that if she got a doctor’s excuse they would remove the smart meter. At the time, she was using midwifery, so her midwife, who had seen her sick, wrote a letter. The letter went to Ray Grover, Director of the Project for Automation, who rejected it because it was not from a doctor. Shirky asked him, “So, you really mean that if I find a doctor to write a note for me, you’ll take it off?” He answered, “No, really we won’t. You’re just kind of out of luck.”
The PSC has interpreted that (law) to mean that they can put whatever equipment they want, no matter what, under any circumstances – you don’t have a choice. –Catherine Kleiber
Public health should not require “luck.” However, it is unfortunate that no federal or state agency is listening to consumer feedback about smart meters. The FDA and FCC do not respond to complaints about the meters. And the Wisconsin Public Service Commission does nothing.
Wisconsin law allows the utilities to choose their equipment and have it in place if you want the service. “The PSC has interpreted that to mean that they can put whatever equipment they want, no matter what, under any circumstances – you don’t have a choice,” said Kleiber. “They could give two choices of equipment. I think that legally they could do that. (But) they have not been noted in the past for caring about customers. One of their reps slipped up years ago and called it the Utility Service Commission. That really would be a much more accurate name,” she said.
This is not just a Wisconsin issue, said Kleiber, who has heard from people in California, Colorado, New York, New Mexico, Ohio, and places around the world through her website, Electrical Pollution. Kleiber offers some solutions there, research updates, and suggestions on how to kindle public awareness and legislative action. action.
David Stetzer, the electrician from Blair, who has military experience in radio communications and Crypto, said he gets ten or more calls every day from desperate folks. People are getting creative to deal with smart meters in order to survive, he said. For example, one woman in the Chicago area finally covered the smart meter in her basement with aluminum foil to protect her family. When the city threatened to sue her, she said, go ahead, since it would get them into court a lot faster than if she sued them for installing a dangerous device in her home. The city has not sued because it would bring too much publicity. For now, they come to remove the foil and get their reading when they need to. As soon as they leave, the foil goes back on.
Some people just hearing about this health issue might think it sounds strange, and could never affect them. But whether a person experiences immediate problems or not, everyone within range of the emissions gets the same dose. The radiation can be measured, said Stetzer. He compared microwave radiation exposure to people sitting out in the sun. Some quickly get sun-burned and some don’t. But everyone is at risk for the potential bad effects of exposure, whether they are aware of it or not, he said.
The potential costs of using this dubious technology are staggering, including:
-the costs of sheer human suffering as people and their loved ones, who are all guinea pigs for this technology, become ill or die.
-costs of unnecessary illnesses on a strained healthcare system
-costs to replace the risky smart grid system
-and costs of the inevitable litigation that will come as public awareness rises
Those who will suffer the most are the people already sick, the weak, and the poor, who cannot not afford litigation, filtration, relocation or going off grid. People living in apartments and condos also have the magnified effects from whole clusters of transmitting meters dithering through their walls and on wiring.
To avoid the devastating toll, we should demand the halt of the smart meter roll-out, and push for legislation regarding this technology that prioritizes public health and safety. Effective immediately, customers, especially those with health issues, should have the right to refuse installation or to have the dangerous devices replaced without being bullied or threatened with disconnection.
Additional Reports of Harm:
The following feedback on the health effects of smart meters bled over into the public comments for the FDA/FCC Converged Communications and Health Care Devices Impact on Regulation:
Berkeley, CA: Elderly mother gets worse
Golden, CO: Person with medical implant’s concerns at http://www.regulations.gov, FDA-2010-N-0291-0029.1
Hastings on Hudson, NY: Otherwise healthy person gets sick
Green Bank, WV: No place to escape wireless = a death sentence for some
Waterloo, WI: Type-1 diabetic’s reaction (Dan Kleiber)
Waterloo, WI: Affects whole family (Catherine Kleiber)
West Bend, WI: The human body and fields
Charleston, WV: M.D. letter at http://www.regulations.gov, FDA-2010-N-0291-0028
M.D. letter reports patients’ symptoms, including children
Sage Associates letter provides detailed analysis of FDA/FCC stance and failures
EMR Policy Institute letter at http://www.regulations.gov, FDA-2010-N-0291-0041.1,lays out adverse affects on Americans with Implanted Medical Devices (IMDs) and people who are electrically hypersensitive, population subgroups that should be covered by Department of Justice Americans with Disabilities provisions.
Note: Complaints about smart meters should be sent to the FDA Medwatch program, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the EMR Policy Institute, as well as legislators at all levels.
Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization by Samuel Milham
Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family by Devra Davis
Full Signal (DVD)
Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side Of The Wireless Revolution by Camilla Rees
Zapped by Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman