Wireless SmartMeters: What Are the Health, Personal Safety, Wireless Security and Excessive Billing Issues All About and What Can Consumers Do Now?

August 25, 2010
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources

Briefing Letter on Electric Utility Smart Meters, Sage Associates

Who controls the off switch?, Ross Anderson and Shailendra Fuloria

Smart Meters and Smart Regulation, Legal Planet: The Environmental Law and Policy Blog, Steven Weissman, August 20

Listen to Recording

A Note from Michael Lerner

Dear CHE Partners:

CHE-EMF has been a leading international forum for expert dialogue on EMF concerns. A major new concern has emerged, especially in California, where PG&E is requiring that all homes and businesses install wireless "SmartMeters" that represent a major new source of EMF exposure. At present, PG&E offers no way for concerned individuals, organizations and communities
to opt out.  

A sizable grassroots protest movement has emerged in California challenging PG&E's SmartMeter requirement on health, privacy, financial, fire hazard and other grounds. Our particular concern at CHE is the health risks these meters may pose through life-long exposure to this new and significant EMF source, especially in the home.

Cindy Sage is co-facilitator of CHE EMF and lead co-founder of BioInitiative.org, a multi-author report on EMF concerns that is widely recognized as an international science resource. Cindy presented a summary review of the concerns with SmartMeters. I explored some of these concerns with her and then opened the dialogue for Q&A with participants.

This call was sponsored by CHE-EMF and open to all interested CHE Partners.

Cindy Sage provides an outline of the material she will cover

We will be talking about what scientists, public health experts, environmental experts and the public are worried about, now that we are beginning to understand what kind of unintended consequences these wireless smart meters present. 


These new wireless devices will be installed on every California building that has an electrical meter, by order of the California Public Utilities Commission. This discussion is meant to provide some basic information about smart meters, how they work, what the overall concerns are, what is being done at the state level, what information is critically needed for consumers to know what their alternatives may be, and whether it is possible to opt-out.

This presentation will include the following facts about wireless meters:

  • What they are
  • How they work
  • Whether you can opt-out
  • What we know about the wireless exposures (so far)
  • What the radiofrequency radiation health concerns are
  • Science supporting caution with respect to health concerns
  • Cyber-hacking issues (cyber-attacks shut down system)
  • Security of personal information (billing, credit, banking)
  • Interference with medical and critical care equipment
  • Remote shut-off of electricity by utility
  • Excessive billing and overcharging (meter malfunctions)
  • Fire risks from smart meters
  • High cost to utility customers for a failed technology

Where We Are Now

Utilities are rolling out nearly 16 million new wireless 'smart meters' for gas and electricity, replacing the old meters with new wireless transmitters. The public is just becoming aware of this significant, new source of chronic, involuntary radiofrequency which is of the same type as cell phones and cell towers emit. The big difference is that consumers are waking up to the fact that they will soon have the meters attached to their homes whether they like it or not. The health, safety, security, privacy and economic ramifications may be very significant. Most, if not all of these issues were not considered by the CPUC when the electric utilities got approvals to install millions of wireless meters several years ago. Now that several million have been installed, many problems are cropping up.