FAQ’s

If you are looking for Documentation on the Smart Meters, look at this page on our website on Documentation.

IS THERE A LAW THAT REQUIRES THAT SMART METERS MUST BE USED?(Are the meters MANDATORY?)

The Short Answer is NO.  However, here are some details to consider.

  • There is no State (in Texas, and many others), or Federal requirement/mandate.
  • Federal Energy Policy Act or 2005, the law proposing smart meters and a smart grid, only mandates the utilities to “offer” the meters and to install them “upon customer request.” The choice is still supposed to be ours!\
  • Author of the Texas Legislation has written the PUC asking them to correct their oversight.  He says that the intentions were for the meters to be optional.  See his letter.
  • In Texas, the Electricity Providers are encouraged to move to the use of Smart Metering, but not required or mandated to do so.  [However, deregulation in Texas left our utility system in an interesting mix-mash of different ways of operating, and that is why some areas are under Oncor, others under Centerpoint, and some areas under neither one.]
  • Therefore, if your city or Co-op decides to participate in using the new Smart Meters, then it appears that you will be expected to use whatever type of meter they choose.  The same goes for Transmission Distribution Utilities like Oncor and Centerpoint etc.  This is how it has always operated in the past – if they decide to change over their equipment, it is their argument that you have to use the type of meters that they choose as their equipment.  Up till this recent change to the ‘smart meters’, we have either used the same analog meters, or the newer digital meters, and no one complained.  That was then, this is now.  This new meter is not like the old one, and people are beginning to ‘wise-up’, and now many are not pleased that these questionable devices are being used without our even being properly informed or consulted.

ONCOR TOLD ME THE S.M. HAS LESS RF THAN A CELL PHONE, OR A MICROWAVE

To answer this could take many pages of documentation.  I will do my best to make this a true, but simple answer, leaving the research data up to you for the most part. (Until I have time to include more of that in our website, but I did provide some helpful links at the bottom of this FAQ).

In short, depending on the study that is cited, you might come up with different results.  So, then one has to further explore to see why there are discrepancies. Personally, based on all the various data I have seen, I think that the smart meters emit a higher EMF (Electromagnetic Frequency) level or RF (Radio Frequency).  [I can't clarify the difference between the two terms above, as I am not trained in this area of study, but they seem to be largely interchangeable for the most part, although they probably vary slightly in what they mean specifically.]

However, for the sake of argument, let’s say that in at least one way of measuring EMF output, the Utility is correct, the Smart Meter EMF is lower…(‘hypothetically’ giving them the benefit of the doubt.)  Here are the problems that I see with the smart meter that we don’t experience with the other two devices (Cell phone and Microwave).

  • First, the cell phone and microwave are not operating 24/7.
  • 2ndly, I can choose to use or not use the cell or micro.  (And you don’t have a choice of where on/near your home the SM is located, i.e. a bedroom or office you spend much of your time in.)
  • 3rdly, Oncor or other proponents of the smart meters would say that the smart meter only emits a signal a few times an hour, or less than a minute a day.  This transmission time is called the ‘Duty Cycle’.  However, in every situation that I have seen someone use a EMF radiation detector/measuring device, the Smart Meters were pulsing high RF waves sometimes every 10 seconds or so.  This would make the Duty Cycle, almost constant.  What I personally think is happening here, although I have not seen documentation to substantiate this, is that when the SM’s were tested, they were tested individually, perhaps in the lab.  But this doesn’t represent real world situations.  Each meter is a relay meter for other meters in the area, this is because it is part of what is called a “Mesh Network”.  The network allows each SM to send it’s DATA Signal to the Collector Meter via bouncing it’s signal wirelessly off of numerous other meters so it can get from point A (on the house) to point B (the collector meter) to be sent on to the Utility company.  This explains to my satisfaction, why Oncor (or other TDU’s, or the PUC or anyone else in the industry) is incorrect when they say the ‘Duty Cycle’ is less than one minute per meter per day!
  • 4thly, There are numerous studies and research by reputable doctors, scientists, and researchers that show that EMF that is pulsed is more dangerous to humans than steady EMF.  There is something to do with destroying parts of the cells of our DNA, which can lead to diseases (Cancer for one, I believe- but would have to go back to research again.)  There is also an issue with our ‘Blood Brain Barrier’ with regard to either the pulsed radiation, or the non-thermal radiation.  I recommend doing your own study if you have concerns in these areas.
  • Of the researchers I have found have sound research are Cindy Sage of Sage and Associates (www.sageassociates.net) and Dr. Magda Havas (www.magdahavas.com).  Dr. Havas is good to watch on YouTube, she has very good demonstrations and makes things as simple as possible.
  • Here is a few more links on the subjects: http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/50-tips/
  • http://emfsafetynetwork.org/
  • http://smartmetersafety.org/

I WAS TOLD THAT SMART METERS SAVE ENERGY

Smart meters can’t save energy in and of themselves.

In fact, the smart meter uses a little bit of energy to run- which it would be interesting to know, who pays for that?

The government, and utility companies are hoping that by having a smart meter that tells you how much your electricity is costing you at any given moment, that you will make wiser choices in how you use your electricity.

Now, my problem with this concept is twofold:

First, there are ‘after market’ products you can buy that will attach to your meter, and give you an in-home display which will show you how much energy each appliance or device that you turn on is using or costing you.  These in home devices can cost from under $100 to close to $200 depending on how sophisticated they are.  This device, (one of which is called a TED which you can look up online) has been around awhile already, and if the US Government really just wanted us to be able to SEE our electricity use in REAL TIME, then they could create rebates for those products to encourage people to buy them.  I can guarantee you this method would not have cost the 3.4 Billion that is already put out for the SM deployment so far.

I said my problem was two-fold here’s the other issue:

We all KNOW multiple WAYS to save electricity.  Our moms told us as we were growing up- Turn off the Lights!, shut the door! and numerous other things we can all do to use less electricity…without spending any additional funds!

Now, in all honesty, there are more ways the Smart Meters may help our overall Energy situation.  To explain, would take a lot more room, and I hope to cover those reasons under other FAQ topics.

But here’s something helpful for consumers to know.  We need to know what the Governments motivation is, why are they doing this?  (Especially, in a time of economic hardship!)  They are ‘pushing’ the Global Warming crowd’s agenda of reducing our Carbon Emissions, but not only that, the ultimate goal using this agenda as a vehicle is CONTROL of every facet of the lives of every person in America and the planet.  I know that sounds ‘out there’, but take a look around at all the ways the Government is now in control, or could be in control with just the right crisis.  We are being monitored at every turn!

They are able to know where we are with our cars and phones and laptops, they know everywhere we go online on our computers, and now we have smart meters that record all our activities relating to electronic devices in our homes- i.e., when they are on/off, even the type of devices they are (although that is a little harder to verify), whether we are home or away!

The Smart Meters may allow electricity savings when the Utility Co. is given control of our appliances, A/C & thermostat, or permission to turn our power off for 15-20 minutes during peak demand times.  At first, they will only do this with our permission, which we will give to them when they offer us economic incentives.  For example there are already programs in place in other states, Colo. for example, that they give you a lower electricity rate, or a $25-$50 rebate in exchange for them to turn your AC unit off or your whole house off for say 15-20 or so minutes.

Now, my problem with this SM capability is that if they can do it WITH my permission, I don’t trust them not to pass some regulations in the future that will require/mandate me to always allow them to do those things even if I didn’t want or ‘allow’ them to.  This is one of my biggest problems I personally have with getting one of these installed on my house!

WE should be in control over our own electricity in our own homes!

MORE TO COME!  PLEASE CHECK BACK!

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4 Responses to FAQ’s

  1. Thomas Costello says:

    Thanks for a great site. I wish all Texans knew this information. My question is: I unfortunately am now the proud owner of a smart meter. Do I have any legal options to get this removed and replace with an analog meter.
    Second question: Suppose I did manage to remove this meter and replace with analog, wouldn’t it my house still be dangerous given that my entire neighborhood be ringed with these devises.

    • Cindy says:

      Thank you Thomas for posting your Questions. I strongly recommend anyone who is adamantly opposed to the meters should read to the end so you will have some ammunition to make your complaints to the PUC and your TDU (the distributors, like Oncor/Centerpoint/Texas-New Mexico Power). I will start with the 2nd question since it is quick; “Suppose I did manage to remove this meter and replace with analog, wouldn’t my house still be dangerous given that my entire neighborhood be ringed with these devices.”

      Quick Answer- Yes, you could feel the effects of the neighboring meter. Although, with distance the EMF readings dissipate. However, I personally know 2 people who have experienced effects from meters not even on their home, but were adjacent to their home. These are likely persons who are highly sensitive – but, nonetheless, they have not been given an opt-out for health reasons.

      Back to 1st Question “Do I have any legal options to get this removed and replace with an analog meter?”

      Answer- There is no simple way to get back to the old meter, like asking pretty please. If that would work, then all the people who have said they didn’t even want one when the installers came would still have their analog meters. (Some still do, if they have successfully ‘pushed back’ and been fortunate enough to have ‘outsmarted’ the smart meter installers!)
      You ask about legal options? Well, how much money can you afford to spend suing Oncor? Anyone can really sue anyone about anything…so, yes you can take legal action. Now, in Texas, before anyone can ‘sue’ a Utility and have a chance at succeeding, one must first go through a process. Since I am not a lawyer, I won’t attempt to give legal advice. However, you can go to the PUC website, and you will see that there is an informal complaint form that you can fill out online. The website gives you a few steps. Now, when you file a complaint, you have to explain what you are ‘complaining about and why’.
      For example, if I were to file a complaint once I received a smart meter, I might tell the PUC, (after I have complained to Oncor first, which is actually what you should do prior to going to the PUC, because the PUC is supposed to investigate Oncor based on YOUR complaint assuming the issue was not resolved to your satisfaction), “I do NOT want the smart meter on my house or my neighbors for these reasons”:

      Of course you may have some perfectly legitimate reasons, which you should state, like maybe they threatened to take your OLD meter, and leave you with none, if you didn’t accept the smart meter [WRONG & UNETHICAL, BUT I have heard of this happening on many occasions!], or maybe they jumped over your locked fence, dis-regarded your NO SMART METER HERE signs, maybe they never put a door hanger on to let you know it would be coming, or even never knocked when the installer came, or maybe you had a power surge problem because your electricity went off temporarily, etc. etc. Here are some additional comments for your consideration:

      a) My usage data belongs soley to me, according to Texas Law, and I have not given my permission for anyone to receive my usage data, other than for the express purpose of billing me for my usage on a monthly basis. Therefore, there is no legal right for them to ‘monitor’ and collect, or store my usage in more detail than is necessary to bill me monthly for my usage. Since the smart meter sends detailed data in almost real time, and since such data is NOT necessary for them to have in order to charge me for my monthly usage, I refuse to allow the Utility to gather my data in 15 or so min. increments. This monitoring constitutes unwarranted surveillance which violates my 4th Amendment rights.

      b) I believe that these meters are ‘monitoring’ my activity in my home, and broadcasting the data wirelesly over the airwaves where it can be vulnerable to hacker intervention. Such ‘hackability’ is documented, and many publications state that even though the meters are already being introduced, there is still much progress needed in the area of cyber security. One example of such a statement was made by SMU researcher named Nair. Quote: “I would say we are in the early stages of incorporating serious security measures for these things,” Nair said. Even the former CIA Director James Woolsey states that the “smart grid is dumb”, and it is very vulnerable. He also stated that if YOU have the ability to remotely control your in-home devices, then there is the ability for a hacker to do so as well. Wouldn’t it be great if a ‘hacker-thief’ could raise your garage door, or remotely shut off your power to gain entry in your house?

      c) I object for health reasons, as there is research data concerning the dangers to our DNA caused by pulsed RF radiation, (such as the smart meters emit). Numerous studies link EMF exposures to the same types of symptoms that many who have smart meters on or near their home are experiencing. Besides the symptoms people may experience quickly upon installation of a smart meter, there is potential that long term exposure could be carcinogenic. Although the science is somewhat inconclusive to my knowledge, there have also been studies that show exposure to EMF to be harmful to some who are exposed, finding more incidences of certain cancers where workers or others spend time in proximity to EMF radiating devices. I submit that the PUC, the TDU, (Oncor or Centerpoint), nor I, know the actual amount of exposure people will be experiencing when the smart meters come out from the test lab, and into operation as part of a ‘mesh network’ where not only is the meter transmitting it’s OWN data, but that of many other smart meters within proximity essentially causing a huge increase in the purported 1 min. avg. daily duty cycle of a smart meter. Where are the EMF test results of the field testing of the smart meters. If there is none, or very little, then why are we installing the devices without thoroughly testing the equipment in their intended habitat. The truth is, the utility likely has not tested the EMF of meters in their intended habitat, and therefore cannot claim to know what the real EMF readings are in our homes. I urge the PUC to find in favor of caution, to follow the ‘precautionary principle’ which would require a test deployment of such smart meters with rigorous testing and observation prior to rushing installations without proper analysis of health issues, not to mention, even doing some “Cost-Benefit” studies.

      d) I strongly object that there has been no effort on the part of the utility to find out if residents/customers have any health issues or wireless MEDICAL devices that might be adversely effected by the introduction of the smart meter. Research needs to be found or conducted as to how the smart meters will affect such devices before installation and possible failure of a device that could actually lead to injury or even death to the customer. This shows a blatant disregard for people’s health and other concerns on the part of Oncor, and I believe it to be tantamount to negligence as well!

      To my knowledge, if this still does not resolve the problem, (which is the most likely outcome), and you want to further pursue the issue, next you need to file a ‘formal complaint’. In this step, like the first, you are not required to have someone represent you. However, based on the experience of Devvy Kidd, who is currently filing a formal complaint, (that is my understanding), she says she doesn’t see how anyone would really be able to make it through the process very well without legal counsel. At that stage, there is probably a burden of proof that requires you to substantiate your request/complaint. Now, Devvy is welcoming people to join with her complaint for those who would like to do so, in return, since she has retained legal counsel she would ask for some type of nodest monetary commitment. You can find her on the web at http://www.devvy.com and use the contact link to email her your inquiry. Here is a copy of a ‘formal’ Complaint by David Wilner (EMF Consultant) to the California PUC regarding their TDU PG&E. You can read it and get an idea of what it might take to create your own, although, I am sure there are differences in Texas, and again, Devvy can speak to the process since she is working on getting a PUC hearing on the matter (as of the initial writing of this Jan 28, 2012). Here’s David Wilner of Wilner and Assoc. Complaint: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/efile/C/146649.pdf

  2. kyle fox says:

    this makes no sense. if you think your cell phone isn’t ‘pulsing’ very often (much more than the ‘duty cycle’ described above) you are fooling yourself. This is nothing but hype trying to create a problem where none exists. A modern day smartphone has Cellular, Wifi, Bluetooth and possibly NFC radios in it. A cellular radio and a WIFI radio are designed to stay in contact with the radio emitters they connect to (cell tower in the case of the cell phone, an Access Point in the case of wifi). These radios need to stay in contact with those radio sources and they check quite often (every minute) to see if they are in contact. Second, if you are far away from the radio source (tower or AP), the ‘are you there’ signal from the phone gets stronger.

    Before spreading FUD, make sure you understand how the technologies you are comparing to actually work

    • kyle fox says:

      … the point being that you are ‘bathed’ in ‘pulsed’ RF energy by the devices you have already. adding a smart meter to the mix isn’t going to suddenly cause you to grow horns or find your DNA mutated.

      Oh and BTW, if you take a single international plane ride, the amount of radiation flux you get in that aircraft is a 10x more intense than a full year of standing right next to a smart meter.

      if you feel you have been cheated by the state by not getting a ‘disclosure’ about the smart meter, then fine. get a new one. But don’t let sites like this tell you or imply that you have suddenly installed a device that is going to cause your children to mutate.

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