Smart Meter and Opt-Out Information
Guide to this whole page:
(Latest edit 12/1/22). Find under the black line below many sections that hopefully will answer most of your questions about acting in the face of the intended PSE smart meter rollout beginning September 2022 and continuing perhaps into early 2023. Sentence parts there are bolded to aid your skimming for info.
👉 First, (overview): If you are clueless about smart meters and their functioning, purposes, and disadvantages, 🧐 skim first down through this (click) long page with purported advantages given first, then disadvantages discussed in its second half, to build your initial knowledge.
🤔 Radiation heath effects. Many of you are concerned about electrosmog excesses around you. (Many are not concerned, due to constant 🤥soothing industry and government understatements and disinformation.) Many of our members know you are to some degree microwave sensitive 🤢🥱 in real time. Many of you don’t notice anything when around radiation, yet you still understand that microwave exposure has proven cumulative health effects (just like those of x-rays, lead, mercury, pesticides, asbestos, second-hand smoke, and air pollution). Smart meters create “electronic meshes” composed of multi-thousands of short, sharp, strong microwave communication bursts shared 24-7 between all member meters in a neighborhood area, amplifying the electrosmog effects 🌫️ in homes and neighborhoods.
Opt-Out Choice. The choice PSE is legally forced to offer, called the “opt-out,” starting early October, is discussed in the entries below. 💨CLEAR recommends this for most customers, and you must act soon.💨 Read the entries thoughtfully–then draw your conclusions and actions as you see fit. (More will be added and edited as details unfold and as CLEAR members contact us, so check back.) An email to CLEARWhidbey(at)proton.me with a question after you consult this material will get you an answer.
Finally, see the links at the very end of this page. They give in-depth detail 📜 about several questions like: a) science of SM health effects; b) industry disinformation and meter issues; c) simpler list of smart meter downsides; 4) full reference on faulty smart meter components and fire risks.
Here’s specific OPT-OUT How-To INFO:
If you have decided TO “opt out” here are a few concrete details and actions that will help you go forward if you are trying to get started. More fine-grained, evolving detail is found below this, partly from posts sent to the membership in the recent past. The bold print for many topics, angles and issues as well as many answers. After you have checked all this and still have a question, feel free to email it to clearwhidbey(at)proton.me. (Use @).
Take “opt-out” action-steps 💨 S-O-O-N 💨 in October to obtain the Opt-out “non-communicating meter” (NCM). Call as shown below NOW and order an opt-out form that will put a 60-day ‘stay’ on their intended smart meter “upgrade” while you fill out and send the form:
For home-owners, home renters and some apartment renters : Call 877-773-1770 (get full PSE “speech” from agent) or 888-352-2503 (perhaps shorter line of questioning and answers) to line up having a 6-page application document sent to you. (Or, after notifying and talking to them, just download it here and send it in right away.) Note: only the sixth page is to be filled out with info and signed by you then returned. Your account number and meter number can be found on the back of one of your bills.
Send your Form by Snail-mail: Puget Sound Energy, Attn: Meter Upgrade BOT-02G, POB 97034, Bellevue, WA 98009-9735. You will receive a confirmation by email and snail-mail. Or use fax at 425-424-6728. (After a few days call 888-352-2503 and see if you are on the opt-out list.)
IF YOU DON’T DO THE ABOVE YOU WILL LIKELY GET NOTIFIED OF AN IMPENDING SMART METER INSTALLATION AT YOUR PREMISES!
Home or apartment renter paying your own utilities: Your PSE power account is in your name and you are legally entitled to change to Opt-out, and pay the $15 opt-out fee bimonthly. (If you have more than 4 units in your complex you are not allowed by PSE to opt-out, unfortunately! Check the “Already stuck…?” section below.) Your landlord need not consent, but advising him/her of your decision is good as he/she will have to inform your successor tenant to quickly decide to file again for opt-out or a smart meter will be rapidly installed. (Any successor tenant after a smart meter install happens will then have to pay an extra $90 to have the account changed back to opt-out.)
Apartment renter in a complex of less than 4 apartments: Do the same as above, except: if your landlord is in any way annoyed by your opt-out and resists it, say this: “I know this requires you to monitor more carefully the meter situation when a tenant moves out, BUT “This is only $7.50/month (from me) to reduce a lot of extra radiation around your other tenants and if they too opt-out, all will feel better living here. Also TRY HARD to convince other renters to go for this opt-out to stop the electronic “mesh” of neighborhood electrosmog from being formed by the meters jointly communicating all day–this can affect you more also. This constantly excessively irradiates all the tenants 24-7.
RENTERS ESPECIALLY NOTE: The worst possible situation is to have one of your dwelling rooms, God-forbid a bedroom, whose wall ends up with a bank of several smart meters on its outside. This creates a high-radiation 24-7 situation for YOU to live in.
*****See at least the first 5 minutes of Jeromy Johnson in this Youtube TED Talk, “Wireless Wakeup Call,” to learn about extremes of such apartment smart meters!
In this case do some serious negotiating with the other renters and landlord to get opt-outs for all, or you moved to another apartment, or you may have to move out, as many in the country have faced in smart meter rollouts.
🤨 Already stuck with accepting a smart meter? 🤔
Did you act too late, or are are you stressed about paying $15 bimonthly extra? Do you lack opt-out permission from a landlord, or live in a multi-unit (>4) apartment complex (not eligible for opt-out)? Do you have a solar array (no opt-out allowed)? Do you endure disbelief about EMF dangers from your partner? Is your place rural and distant from other neighbors so you don’t think opt-out is necessary? 👍
Here’s something almost equivalent to optout:
GUARDS. Smart meters are way overpowered for the job they have to do. You might get some relief from a “smart meter guard,” a fine stainless steel mesh cover that blocks all but a bit of smart meter radiation (so the meter can still relay PSE data). One member was told by PSE that they don’t allow the guards! PSE doesn’t drive around checking for guards and the will still see your user data coming in at PSE headquarters, so will likely never see the guard on your meter. Best to use one. Worst case scenario: by a 1 in 100 chance they see it on your house–you might be told to remove it. Here are two you can use: Pretty good one. More expensive better one. See this Youtube to get a feel for the shields and how they help lower radiation.
DIRTY ELECTRICITY (DE) FILTERS: The guards, used along with Green Wave filters (use this link to order them), are a combo good for relieving most of smart meter radiation. The filters remove DE (that’s like AM radio static) that is automatically generated 24-7 by every smart meter and opt-out non-transmitting meter as well. Your meter injects DE into all your electric wiring that surrounds every house room. The wiring becomes an antenna transmitting harmful “static” into your body. A few well-placed plug-in Greenwave filters will remove most DE meter-caused radiation in your home environment!
Need more on Dirty electricity and working with the filters? Keep reading below:
***A”20,000-ft” view of PSE’s so-called “meter upgrade”
for those still scratching your heads 🤔***
- Plugging the meter in at various outlets in your house will give you readings of how much DE “static” is in your lines, measured in milli-volts (thousandths of a volt vs the 110 volts of your power line) and also sounds a crackly sound coordinated with strength.
- The meter reads from 0 to 2000 millivolts. Your DE is fine up to 50, mildly concerning up to 100, not great up to 200, needing attention above that, with 500 being quite bad and 1000+ definitely demanding immediate attention.
- Plugging in a filter and then measuring at another nearby outlet should show a sharp meter reduction. One filter per circuit may not be enough; two usually does it (occasionally three). Keep both measuring and filter(s) in the same household circuit — that is controlled by a single switch on your house electrical panel. Proceed to do this room by room. Take notes on your results, then tally up the filters you ideally need or can get by with! Bathrooms are not lengthy occupancies, nor are storage rooms, etc., while bedrooms, offices, living rooms are.
______________________________________________________________________Deeper Dive: Smart Meter Undesirable Effects
The meter, called innocuously just an “upgrade” by PSE, is known world-wide as a ‘smart meter.’ Widely contested in the last decade, it is a big EMF game changer, despite PSE’s soothing assurances.
Want to read up more on smart meters? Check this long page link of first their purported advantages, then the considerable discussion of disadvantages. PSE claims your meter will report usage just ‘5 times’ daily and do it with with weak radiation. This conveniently omits that it compulsively chats, coordinates, and data-shares among neighboring meters with thousands of pulses and signal spikes 24-7, creating what’s known as an electronic “mesh” in the air of your neighborhood. The meter’s measuring electronics injects jagged, multi-frequency ‘static’ into all household wiring that in turn transmits “static” signals to inhabitants 24-7. Termed “dirty electricity,” this continually radiates anyone sleeping within a few feet of house inner walls. (Find more on dirty electricity below.)
There’s been a decade of concern and backlash in several cities and states questioning usefulness and safety. New Mexico and Tennesee have persisted in disallowing smart meters. Many states and cities’ power companies have opt-outs at varying prices per month ranging from $0 to $24. Some states (PA, ID) have no allowed opt-out. The WUTC, our state regulator, has required PSE to provide an ‘affordable’ opt-out option that covers only actual expenses. This forced tariff of $7.50/mo to not be electrosmogged 24-7 is at least moderately affordable.
Why bother with all this? International high-level research regularly finds negative health effects from long-term electrosmog exposure. Worse, 5% (called EMS) experience uncomfortable, sometimes intolerable radiation symptoms in real time with 1.5% having disabling symptoms ranging from headaches, tingling skin, tinnitus, heavy fatigue, heart palpitations, etc. Note that these EMS folks often have acquired EMS from extended past exposures. This phenomenon is not unlike how lead, second hand smoke, mercury, pesticides, mold and certain chemicals have a build-up period. Uninformed practitioners, even friends, often pooh-pooh EMS distress as “All in your mind.” Compare this disregard to how the 1.4% of the US with reactions to peanuts are treated: industry, government and institutions bend over backwards to protect them by preventive methods. Decide if you like risking your health so PSE can read and switch your power easier; likely (as often found) they will raise your later bills to subsidize the program. Take advantage of this moderately affordable “escape route” and get the opt-out!
Three examples of deceptive PSE “soft talk” about smart meters aka “upgrade” that you will get on your phone call to the their agents and see in their literature:
👉“This is an upgraded model compared to old style meters.” No. These ‘smart meters’ are regularly understood by educated, corporately independent electrical engineers as having poor surge protection and no direct grounding. They certainly do not have the “arc breaker,” ultra-safe grounded system of mechanical analog meters (the ones with turning wheels visible inside), that some of us (like me) reliably have. Result: smart meters are over-vulnerable to power surges (that happen when lines suddenly break or electricity suddenly comes on.) Thus they are more prone to cause house fires and secondarily forest and grass fires. Numerous house fires have been traced to smart meters in the last 15 years–power companies are loathe to admit this. Saskatchewan was legally forced to remove 150,000 smart meters because of known fire starts from them, leaving only an opt-in program.
They can overheat, having ‘catastrophic failures’ requiring time-costing power-downs awaiting replacement, and their shorter life span of <10 years means the likelihood of such failures is much higher than mechanical meters. Additionally any independent engineer (not those of PSE or its contractor Aclara Meter Company) will verify that the meters have a fragile remote disconnection switch, fragile/flammable circuit boards, and unpredictable Switching Mode Power Supply (SMPS) surges that can harm, cause erratic behaviors of, and reduced life of, multiple electronic devices in your home. It is widely known that computer and other electronics operational life is extended by getting rid of causes of “dirty electricity” static in the house lines.
One dramatic meter-failure example, among many dozens: 10/27/2017 DISCOVERY BAY, CA: A big rig accident [hitting a pole] caused a power surge, which caused some smart meters to explode. ‘We heard it from inside the house and the pieces, they look like they went 8 to 10 feet…All of a sudden, all the electrical outlets started popping and fire was shooting out of one of them,’ said a resident. 2900 customers lost power.” [Never happens with older reliable analog wheel-turning meters.]
👉“Very little radiation. Only sends results to PSE 5 times per day.” Not true. Over the years virtually all brands and models have been found to emit milli-second RF spikes thousands of times in a day while they coordinate and send data with other meters in a neighborhood. (A lawsuit against CA’s PG&E Company forced disclosure of secret documents admitting these thousands of voltage mini-spikes per day.) They ultimately channel all user data of the area to one meter that relays it to a nearby collector tower or cell tower. If your house is near that tower it is showered with two-way transmissions coordinating with all the other meters in the area 24-7.
Power companies dishonestly average those transmitted mini-power-“spikes” this way: Every 1000 of the 2-millisecond spikes count as just 1000x.002 = “2-seconds of transmission.” This sounds like basically nothing. Yet each spike is what is disorienting or shocking to our biology: cell mitochondria, DNA, and micro voltage-gated calcium channels all operate electrically. The fact that daily spread-out thousands of spikes have only seconds of totaled time-duration (phrased this way commonly by company reps) is deceptive. (An AK-47 can kill 30 people in a total actual bullet-flying-time of three seconds; fixating only on bullet-flying-time would make mass shootings seem like tiny events.Similarly, the US Navy was chided by higher court judges in a recent lawsuit by the WA Attorney General. The judges said it was basically dishonest that the Navy would take the ear-splitting 10-second spikes of 110 decibels of sound that jets emitted during each of several daily near-rooftop flyovers and average their intensity over the 24 hours of a day. This made them seem harmless in intensity. They had done this for years.)
👉“No stronger than a cell phone.” Deceptive. defective argument. Cell phones are up-close and limited time with very strong upper body radiation. Smart meters, meanwhile, are further away, radiating more powerfully but more distant, some of it pointed away but with some sideways into the house, especially windows (like sound spreads in all directions), BUT it’s 24-7 and having multitudes of sharp voltage spikes. It’s “chattering”companion meters in the neighborhood put lots of radiation all around, including your own house. Your meter also injects jagged higher-frequency voltage transients (dirty electricity) into all house electric lines and these radiate 24-7 to your house interior. Cell phones don’t do this.
Testimonials from electro-sensitive people: Electromagnetically sensitive (EMS) persons abound. Like proven for for second-hand smoke, pesticides, lead, mercury, and mold, long term exposures for any of us can cause us to reach a “threshold” where we experience wireless radiation with real-time symptoms. Some persons are immediately sensitive. Up to 30%: mild real time effects; 5%: moderate symptoms; 1.5%: severe, finding, for example, smart meters unendurable. Below are a few declarations to an FCC Docket about changes to FCC standards:
“I am experiencing the following symptoms due to the radiation emitted from smart meters: headaches, tinnitus, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, depression, and lethargy. My facial skin has also become extremely dry and rough, as if it has been burned…My daughter experiences the following symptoms due to smart meter radiation: chronic bloody noses and occasional headaches.” Allison Panelli
“I was unaware that a Smart Meter had been installed on our house, but I suddenly began having severe, debilitating headaches, joint and muscle pain, muscle cramping, elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, and an intermittent buzzing/tingling sensation in my legs and feet that happened every few seconds day and night, and I realized on checking with the electric company, that my symptoms began right after the Smart Meter was first installed. What further confirmed for me my suspicion that my symptoms were connected to the Smart Meter was the fact that my symptoms completely disappeared when I would go to stay a few days at my daughter’s house in Marin County…” Carole Jones
Since the installation of SmartMeters in our neighborhood, I have suffered with tinnitus, muscle cramps, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, migraines, blurred vision, and dizziness…When I visit my father in Shasta County who lives in an area where there are no Smart Meters as yet, the tinnitus stops completely. I sleep well and feel much better.” Julie Ostoich
“Since the installation of my neighbors’ smart meters … (my wife and I opted out of the smart meter program, but we are still affected by the smart meters in our neighborhood), I have suffered from daily heart palpitations, dizziness, headaches, worsened tinnitus, insomnia, and fatigue…” Keith Kocsis
“After 10-15 minutes of exposure to one “Smart Meter” from a distance of 6 feet, I began to experience heart palpitations and felt physical distress so that I had to quickly move away as I feared for my health, the condition of my heart and my very life.” Ellen Cecil
FURTHER INFO-LOADED REFERENCES TO BROWSE THROUGH
A. (Click) A factual summary, signed by several highly qualified scientists, on the current health science about RF/EMF-based wireless technology; adverse health effects: explaining why smart meters can be harmful to, at least, a significant number of people. It is an Amicus Brief for a recent Supreme Court of PA smart meter challenge.
B. The (click) EMF Safety Network has collected a wide variety of info and video related to the over-a-decade of smart meter problems, variety of known risks, industry misinformation, and overreach that has already occurred. Pick and choose your way through this to find many viewpoints and understandings.
C. Richard Conrad Phd wrote a paper in 2014 (still pertinent today) that spells out with references many undiscussed, overlooked weaknesses and dangers in the whole rationale and execution of the smart meter programs. It’s called (click link) “Nine Reasons Why Today’s Smart Meter Systems are a Mistake.”
D. 🧐Just in case you are one of those who like a lot of info and and some tech detail, attached is a 2019 paper “SM Fire and Electrical hazards…” that is one of a few fact-filled sources I have that go in to the particulars of smart meter defects, harms and shortcomings. They are simply not worth the multi-millions that power companies pay (and ultimately regain by rate increases over time to customers). Thus, it is rare for customers see a power bill drop after a smart meter rollout; shocking rate and bill increases are very commonly reported.
More to come…