The Madison County Record Jan. 25, 2016, 8:47am


Smart Meters are coming to your home and business soon, if you have not already had ComEd replace analog meters with Smart Meters in your community.

As required, when a the Smart Meter installer comes knocking on you door he will identify himself and will then give you the option of having a Smart Meter installed immediately or opting out. If questioned why the need for a Smart Meter, the installer will give you this canned response: “A Smart Meter will eliminate the need for a meter man to read your meter.” Never mentioned was that the op-out choice isn’t a permanent one, only that meter installation would be delayed until 2018, with no opportunity to refuse after that date. Other states offer a permanent opt-out to their utility customers. ComEd customers in Illinois do not have that option.

Doesn’t every ComEd customer deserve the right to have a choice to op-out permanently in the face of the real and present dangers that having a Smart Meter on the side of their house or business could engender. It is unjust and un-American to force Wireless Smart Meters on every home without alerting residents of the many risks and offering them a choice.

Here are seven reasons to opt-out of a Smart Meter:

1. Health and Environment – Smart Meters emit 10,000 to 190,000 bursts of possibly carcinogenic, RF microwave radiation into homes 24 hours a day. People are complaining of headaches, ringing in the ears, rashes, nausea, insomnia chest pressure, heart palpitations, nose bleeds, and weakness, etc. There is a potential threat to those with medical implants and weakened immune systems. Wildlife and plants may also be affected.

2. Privacy Invasion -- Without your consent, the computer inside the Smart Meter collects private energy behavior patterns that will be available to government agencies and for sale to marketers.

3. Hacking and Security - Vulnerabilities in wireless data transmission pose national security risks to our electric grid from hackers. A former CIA Director calls the Smart Grid “really, really STUPID”. Individual household data may also be hacked.

4. Higher Bills - Smart Meters functions as rationing devices that monitor usage 24/7 to charge varying rates during different times of the day. Due to escalating charges for peak time usage, bills can double, or worse.

5. Appliances with RF Radiation - New appliances come with mandated wireless RF transmitters that emit continuous 24/7 RF signals to the wireless Smart Mater.

6. Lack of Control - The utility owns and maintains 100% control over computer hardware and software upgrades inside Smart Meters. With Demand Response, a utility company can selectively turn on/off appliances or an entire household at their whim.

7. Loss of Property Value and safety- There have been numerous reports of electrical fires caused by arching and sparking. Homes with older wiring may be more susceptible to problems. 

Should you have any doubts about the dangers posed by Smart Meters, Kit Weaver's website deserves careful study:

Under the name of SkyVision Solutions, Kit Weaver has a website dedicated to raising public awareness about the benefits, costs, and risks associated with smart grid systems as well as the potential hazards related to Radio Frequency Radiation emissions from all wireless devices, especially smart meters. 

Mr. Weaver has a B.S.in engineering physics and an M.S.in nuclear engineering with a specialty in radiation protection; University of Illinois. He has received specialized training in radiation biophysics and.is qualified as a site radiation protection manager by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

It is tragic for consumers that Chicago’s powerful and politically-connected ComEd was able to convince the General Assembly to pass a law that could potentially threaten homes, harm lives, adversely impact nature, invade privacy, and, in a broader scope, undermine the state’s security by making the electric grid more vulnerable to cyber-security.

As to the history of the law: ComEd lobbyists wrote the law; it was passed by the General Assembly against vehement and persistent opposition from the Attorney General, AARP, and informed citizens aware of the risks. ComEd spent 16 million dollars convincing the General Assembly to over-ride Governor Quinn’s Veto. When elected, Governor Rauner then signed another bill favoring ComEd over the rights of citizens to have a choice.

For the numerous reasons already highlighted and many more, demanding an immediate and permanent Opt-Out Option is not only precautionary, it is paramount.

How can residents of Illinois get a “permanent” opt-out: option? Members of the General Assembly will have to amend the law to allow an opt-out, or the ICC will have to change its interpretation of the law. The ICC has interpreted the law as a Mandate that ALL ComEd Customers must accept the smart meters.

Make calls to your state legislators to demand that the law is amended. Illinoisans deserve the same access for a permanent op-out as does every other state. Perhaps if enough community residents say “N0” -- delay having smart meters installed until mandatory in 2018 -- a powerful message can be sent to ComEd that their nonferrous devices are not wanted and have therefore been soundly rejected.

Nancy Thorner

Lake Bluff, Ill.

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Organizations in this Story

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
601E John St.
Champaign, IL 61462

ComEd
10 S Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60603

Aarp
16303 Concord Falls Ln
Sugar Land, TX 77498

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