Why a Smart Meter Delay (op-out) is Important for Your Family’s Health, Security, and Privacy

Smart Meters are coming to Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. They are already being installed in Highland Park. Now it seems that Lake Forest and Lake Bluff are next in line, even though the installation schedule for both communities tells another story; that is, until I heard that a Smart Meter had been installed in the home of a Lake Bluffer on E. Woodland Ave, despite the posted ComEd Installation Schedule which cites a 2016 - 2018 installation period for Lake Forest and 2018 for Lake Buff. See installation map here.

As required, the Smart Meter installer asked the Lake Bluff resident whether he could install a Smart Meter or wished to op-out. When the resident questioned the need for a Smart Meter, he was given the typical 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 in the face of the real and present dangers that having a Smart Meter on the side of the house could create? 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 & Security - Vulnerabilities in wireless data transmission pose national security risks to our electric grid from hackers. A former CIA Director call 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.

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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 has been numerous reports of electrical fires caused by arching and sparking. Homes with older wiring may be more susceptible to problems. Read here to see a Summary of Evidence on Smart Meter Fires.

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 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 thatALL 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 opt-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. It will be up to Patch readers to pass this information along to friends and neighbors.

Visit this website for good information about Smart Meters.