Throughout the developed world, utility companies are rushing to implement “Smart Meters”. This highly controversial technology for electricity metering may be coming soon to Austria.
This recent advertisement in the Kleine Zeitung shows the propaganda that the utility companies wish to present about these programs. What they don’t want you to know are the numerous downsides of “smart” meters.
I have been working on this issue the past four years in California since I was injured by this technology. For good reason, smart meters have become very unpopular and the only people who now want this technology are the companies that will profit from it. The following are the most important lessons we have learned thus far. From this, you will see why it is important for Austrians to reject smart meters before they are installed.
[To read this article in German, click here.]
Health Risks: The proposed smart meter system in Austria is the worst possible design when it comes to health effects. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is that the utility will send your electrical usage data to their office using high-frequency pulses that they put on all electrical wires. This is called Power Line Carrier (PLC) technology and will pollute all electrical lines – including the wires in your home – with elektrosmog. These added frequencies, which are called “dirty electricity,” create a bio-hazardous field inside of your home. This “dirty electricity” can cause health issues like headaches, insomnia, fatigue, tinnitus, difficulties concentrating, heart arrhythmia and can damage the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. This is why the Osterreichischen Arztekammer has warned that the smart meter program will damage people’s health.
In communities throughout the United States where power line communicating smart meters have been installed, people have had to move away. This is because the entire electrical grid becomes polluted and there is no place for an electrically sensitive person to go. What will happen to electrically sensitive people in Austria, like these in Carinthia, if the entire country installs PLC smart meters? What will happen to the health of all Austrians if this system moves forward?
The second reason smart meters can damage health is because they are the gateway into the so-called “Smart Home.” The utility companies like to say that the “smart home” is good for the environment and will save you money. However, in reality, it will fill your home with tremendous amounts of elektrosmog. The smart meters will communicate through constant pulses of microwave radiation (tens of thousands of pulses per day) with every appliance in your home. This means that your home will be filled with microwave elektrosmog as every appliance is constantly “talking” to the smart meter. It also means that if your smart meter (or dozens of smart meters if you live in an apartment building) is near your bedroom, you will be exposed to the microwave radiation all night while you sleep. This is very dangerous.
Thousands of people have been harmed by smart meters in the United States, Canada and Australia. There are also peer-reviewed, published studies showing that smart meter harm is very real. Considering that there is so much evidence showing the dangers of elektrosmog, it is important that Austrians say no to smart meters before these programs can move forward.
The “Smart Home” will lead to an exponential rise in elektrosmog health effects.
Utility Price Increases: Throughout the United States, Australia and Canada, people with smart meters have seen their utility bills rise significantly. Many of the meters have been found to be inaccurate (likely measuring the electrical spikes and over-voltages that you don’t actually use). In addition to the errors, your utility will soon be implementing “Time-of-Use” (TOU) pricing. This will allow them to charge you 400% more for electricity when everyone comes home from work and much less at 2:00 am when most people are sleeping. It will be like the “surge pricing” that the taxi company Uber uses. Utility companies will increase their profits and your electricity bills will increase.
Privacy and Surveillance: Rather than reading your electricity once per month or year, the utilities (and government security agencies) will get information at 15 or 60 minute intervals. As this recent electricity use graph from a family in Chicago shows, utilities will know when you are home, when you go to sleep and awaken, how many people are at home and when you go on vacation. They can also determine what appliance you are using and even what DVD you are watching based upon the digital signature that your television produces. This level of detail of every person’s private daily activities is called mass surveillance and is not acceptable in a Democracy. Der Spiegel covered the privacy aspect of smart meters in this article.
Hacking: I work in Silicon Valley and the technology community knows that everything can be hacked. Why then would we put something as critical to civilization as the electrical grid on the internet? Criminal hackers or foreign governments could cause major power outages or know when you are away to easily break in to your home. The German book “Black Out” looks at this frightening scenario, as does the following video which will make anyone question the sanity of a politician that wants to put our electrical grid onto the internet.
[This video was provided by SkyVision Solutions and contains material used pursuant to the Fair Use Doctrine under 17 U.S.C. 107 and is presented in the public’s interest for non-commercial purposes. The first portion of this video is from actual news reports. The second part is from a National Geographic film about a potential “blackout” scenario.]
Profiting From Your Data: As I mentioned above, the utility companies will be able to collect a tremendous amount of personal data about you. From the “Smart Home”, they will know when your milk is spoiled and can send you a milk coupon from the grocery store to your smart phone. This may sound cool and convenient to some, but it’s really an unnecessary invasion of privacy that your utility will profit from. This will be a major profit center for the utility companies in the future and is the primary reason they are willing to spend so much money today in order to implement this unnecessary technology. Some utility experts think your data may be more profitable than the actual electricity in the future. Read the new book “Data and Goliath” to understand just how important your personal data is to corporations and governments and why you should protect it.
Diminished Property Rights. Your utility has the legal right to meter and bill you for electricity use. However, they do not have the legal right to put a radio broadcasting communications facility on your private property. This is essentially what a “smart” meter is. It will broadcast microwave radiation throughout your property, collect your personal data and then send this information back to the utility so that they can profit from it. This is a breach of their legal contract with you. In the United States, individuals have stopped smart meters by having their attorneys notify utility companies that they do not have the legal right to put a communications facility on private property without consent and monetary compensation.
Smart Meter Fires: Just Google “Smart Meter Fires” and you will see that, in locations all around the world, many thousands of these new meters are heating up, catching on fire, and in some instances even exploding. Traditional analog electrical meters are an incredibly safe technology that has served society well for 125 years. Each analog meter can last up to 50 years. However, the new “smart” meters are often made in China and are nothing more than a basic radio transmitter in a cheap piece of plastic that needs to be replaced every 10-15 years (if they don’t burn up before then). They often are not compatible with the electrical systems of older homes and cannot handle voltage spikes. It is also well known that smart meters can and do start on fire when turned on remotely. Watch this excellent new video to learn more about smart meters fires.
Smart Meters are Not Green: Utility companies like to say that smart meters are a “Green Technology”. However, this is only an advertising slogan meant to make people feel good about an otherwise invasive technology. In reality, smart meters will exponentially increase the elektrosmog in your home, which is a very real health risk. They will also diminish democracy by giving companies and governments too much information about our lives. There is nothing green about a microwave radiation surveillance system that can harm people. Austria already has some of the greenest energy on the planet through hydroelectric power. Smart meters will not make the electricity any greener and pilot studies in the United States and Canada have shown that people do not reduce their energy usage simply because they can see an online report.
As you can see there are many important reasons to reject smart meters. There are over 200 organizations around the world working to stop smart meter programs in their communities. There is even an award winning documentary film about smart meters that you can watch here (deutsch subtitles provided):
Watch the new documentary “Take Back Your Power” with Deutsche Subtitles.
I have been married to a beautiful Austrian medical doctor for nearly a decade. During my time in Austria I have appreciated the pragmatism and wisdom that this culture exhibits. Things tend to happen slower in Austria than in California, which is often a good thing. You get to learn from our mistakes.
Smart meters are a huge mistake and the world is waking up to this fact. Just like you stopped nuclear power, GMO’s and other environmental toxins that other countries allow, Austria could be a world leader in stopping this unsafe, unproven and invasive technology. Just because EU bureaucrats in Brussels want smart meters, doesn’t mean this program should happen. Austrians can stand up and say no to smart meters.
Here are three things you can do today:
1.) Send written notice to your utility company that you do not consent to having a “smart” meter on your private property. There is no law in Austria requiring you to have a smart meter, no matter what your utility says. Your utility company may attempt to intimidate you and say that you have no choice, as they tried in the United States, Canada and Australia. However, hundreds of thousands of people in those countries have stood up for their legal rights and now have safe and secure analog meters. Here is a European Commission report on proposed smart meter installations. Note that Germany is quite hesitant about smart meters. This could be because of their history of government surveillance.
2.) Share this article and the film “Take Back Your Power” with your friends and family. Write letters to the newspaper and talk to local TV reporters. Education and awareness is key. Nearly all people realize smart meters are a bad idea when they have the facts. The utility companies hope to install this new system before people realize what is happening. You can prevent this by sharing this knowledge.
3.) Talk to your elected officials and the leaders of government parties. Let them know that smart meters are an important election issue for you. There must be laws that protect the privacy, security and health of all Austrians.
Thank you for your interest in this important issue. Please contact me to join to the global movement to ban smart meters.
Jeromy Johnson, M.S. Civil Engineering
San Francisco & Austria