Protestors rally against Smart Meters

ENCINITAS — Five residents waived signs and chanted on Coast Highway 101 Oct. 4 as part of a national protest decrying smart meters. Smart meters track customers’ electricity and gas usage and transmit data back to San Diego Gas & Electric.

Proponents say the smart meters promote energy efficiency and allow customers to easily record and control consumption.But critics at the protest aimed to draw attention to what they say are real health risks associated with smart meters, how customers can opt-out and smart meters’ new capacity to connect with and monitor appliances, also known as a “home area network.”

“The potential for abuse is there with the home area network,” said Glenn Jacobs, a cyber security engineer who was at the protest.

Susan Brinchman, with megaphone, says that radiation from a Smart Meter installed at her home is responsible for her symptoms of fatigue, dizziness and nausea. She and five others took part in a national protest against the meters Oct. 4. Photo by Jared Whitlock

Due to a recent decision from the California Public Utilities Commission, home area networks will become more common statewide over the next year. Those interested in setting up a home area network now have the option of buying a third-party device that communicates wirelessly with their smart meter and appliances, giving them command over room temperature and appliances’ electrical usage.

But Jacobs believes the networks are prone to incorrect billing and vulnerable to hacking.

“This is being rolled out under the guise of saving energy,” Jacobs said. “What it will really do is give criminals the ability to steal personal data.”

He added that he could demonstrate how easy a home area network is to hack if given the chance.

Other protestors lamented smart meters in general.

Susan Brinchman, director of the nonprofit Center for Electrosmog Prevention, passed out literature illustrating what she says are health problems caused by smart meters. Brinchman attributes her dizziness, nausea, sinus problems and fatigue to a smart meter that was installed in her home more than two years ago.

“Some people are sensitive to radiation,” Brinchman said. “The smart meters fill homes with radiation and make those people sick.”

She has led information campaigns for how customers can opt out of smart meters.

According to Erin Coller, a spokesperson for SDG&E, those who wish to return to an analog meter have to pay a $75 fee and an additional monthly charge of $10. The cost for low-income customers who qualify is a $10 fee and $5 per month.

Coller said that nearly all SDG&E customers have a smart meter, as the public utility company began replacing analog meters and installing smart meters in 2008. Less than 0.05 percent of customers have chosen to opt out, Coller said.

Further, she pushed back against the protestors’ claims. She said the smart meters use the latest encryption technology, protecting data. And the smart meters meet federal standards and emit less radiation than common electronic items like cell phones, Coller said.

Thanks to smart meters, customers can be better informed about their energy use and have the tools to save money on their bills, Coller stated.

Coller said the full home area network will begin rolling out later this year for SDG&E customers. There is no monthly fee for being part of the network, and customers will be available to sign up online, she said.



Filed Under: The Coast News


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  1. Joel Moskowitz says:

    Health Experts Caution About Smart Meters.

    More than 50 scientists and medical professionals from 20 countries call for precaution regarding deployment of wireless “smart meters.”

  2. Susan B says:

    To learn how to best opt-out from SDG&E smart meters, go to Smart Meter Opt-out Forms & Flyers | Center for Electrosmog Prevention Our nonprofit helped fight for the opt-out and are now fighting the fees. It is illegal under CA law to charge extra fees for safety. It is illegal to discriminate. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), a national physicians’ association with hundreds of members, recommends that many people with very common medical conditions avoid smart meters. Read that notice – everyone has someone in the family who has one of these medical conditions. To learn more or help us get the word out, go to

  3. Malcolm P says:

    Joel Moskowitz just posted a link to a very misleading article.

    The author of that article is Dr. David Carpenter. It is riddled with bad science, misleading studies and appeals to authority of incompetent government officials. I will address each of these.

    Dr. Moskowitz, and the other 50 “scientists,” signed a document that no more resembles good science than a Madoff financial statement resembles sound accounting principles. It is quite telling that three of the signatures are from “scientists” on the IARC committee that declared cell phones a Group 2b carcinogen in 2011.

    This faux science document includes link summarizing the recommendations of the Santa Cruz Health Officer, Dr. Poki Stewart Namkung.

    Dr. Namkung quoted the most dubious sources including Dr. David Carpenter (who makes deceitful demands for impossible proof of no effect), Dr. Olle Johansson (Misleader of the Year 2004), Daniel Hirsch (see below) and a host of other well-known alarmists and false prophets.

    It is the inclusion of Daniel Hirsch’s diagram that should have Dr. Namkung removed from office out of rank ineptitude. If you are a public medical official, please do not put your ignorance on full display.

    This is the essence of Daniel Hirsch’s claim:

    “Comparing the peak dose to the ear from a cell phone, when the rest of the body gets vastly less radiation, with a whole body exposure where all organs get roughly the same dose from a SmartMeter, doesn’t seem appropriate. If there is a cancer effect, it is likely associated with the total RF energy the body receives.”

    This is embarrassingly wrong.

    Those who support unproven link between cell phone use and cancer contend that exposure is harmful because the radiated power is concentrated in a smaller area. Once you move three feet away, there is more whole body exposure, but its intensity is significantly weakened by the square of the distance. Also, much of the emitted radiation spreads as it leaves the source and will not be incident on the body — unless someone is the size of an elephant.

    This blatant distortion by Hirsch is mind boggling. The Santa Cruz Health Officer clearly does not understand what she put in her document. The Health Officer’s statement would be laughed out of any scientific review.

    There is much more wrong with Carpenter’s letter, including references to a hopelessly flawed report from Sage Associates and a reference to the disreputable American Association of Environmental Medicine.

    • Ken Mack says:

      The above comments had to be written by someone that has a financial interest in this so called ………. I would like to invite that person to my place move in bring the family some leave others stay and enjoy the rays . It takes some people onl;y days to start hurting in my case six weeks . Ive now got the symtoms

  4. Susan B says:

    Olle Johansson, PhD Announcing Seletun Scientific Statement

    from ElectromagneticHealth.Org1 year ago

    International Scientists Recommend Global Governments Adopt New Exposure Guidelines for Electromagnetic Radiation—Pointing to Biological Hazards and Risks to the Genetic Code from Unchecked Proliferation of Wireless Technologies. In this 18 minute video, Dr. Johansson, from Sweden’s renowned Karolinska Institute, and Chair of the Seletun Scientific Panel, announces a consensus agreement among international scientists on the need to reduce EMF (electromagnetic field) exposures to the population. The paper has just been published in the journal, Reviews on Environmental Health. The Seletun Scientific Panel’s recommendations are extremely important given the unchecked proliferation of wireless radiation over the past decade, such as from cell towers, wireless networks, wireless routers, and cell phones, as well as because of the plans by many ignorant governments to blanket neighborhoods in new, radiation-emitting utility ‘smart’ meters.
    To read Press Releases, the Seletun Scientific Statement or get a transcript of Dr. Johansson’s remarks in this video, please go to “News” Section.

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