Devices transmit power over existing power lines
By Miriam Raftery
March 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Smart meters have become a public relations nightmare for utility companies in California. After a flood of complaints by consumers alleging health problems suspecting of being caused by electromagnetic radio frequencies (EJF), the California Public Utilities Commission ordered utilities to allow consumers to opt out, or to have smart meters removed if already installers. Many homeowners have done so, but must pay for removal plus a monthly fee for reading meters.
Now Idaho Power has begun offering its customers smart meters that claim to avoid these problems. The company's website states: “Smart meters being deployed in Idaho Power's service territory do not transmit radio frequencies. Our smart meters do not use any wireless communication media or generate any high-frequency signals. Our system uses only wired infrastructure to communicate to and from our smart meters utilizing the low-frequency 60 hertz (Hz) power line signal as the carrier for our communications. This may be of interest because some smart meter deployments in California have raised concerns that radio transmission, wireless transmission or high-frequency transmission may pose health risks. The technology we're deploying is fundamentally different from the technologies in question in California.”
This begs the question: Why aren't these devices available to Califiornia ratepayers?
The Idaho system has another advantage. According to the utility’s website, their smart meters have never caused a fire—unlike smart meters installed in California.
Idaho Power ‘s website further states that its smart meters “do not communicate over public airways or the Internet. “ The company uses cyber-security standards of encryption—and its smart meter communications happen over the power line between each individual smart meter and a secure Idaho Power distribution substation to protect confidentiality of data. Typically, the meters communicate with the substation four times daily to collect usage information.”
Communication utilizes proprietary, secure equipment. “There is no meter-to-meter communication,” according to Idaho Power. It is physically impossible for smart meters to communicate with anything other than the substation.”
While the technology is less problematic than California's equipment in several key ways, the switch to smart meters has not been without controversy in Idaho. Idaho Power has reportedly installed the smart meters over objections of some while they were not home and even sent an armed deputy along to force installation at the home of Vicky Davis, a vocal smart meter opponent, the OK-Safe blog reported.
Davis later explained her concern that Idaho Power could ultimately make money through higher rates by asking "the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to give them an Order to implement time of day pricing." She theorizes that "the objective of the entire Smart Grid System is to control usage of electricity under the guise of conserving natural resources," adding that Idaho Power already obtains most of its resources from hydroelectric power, not fossil fuels.
But Susan Brinchman, a La Mesa activist who has led the battle against wireless smart meters in California, says Idaho Power's version of smart meters also carries risks.
"Unfortunately, the use of PLC (Powerline Communications) is also very hazardous, causing emissions to be carried along outside wiring as well as inside homes. An excellent article on this is found at http://www.eiwellspring.org/PLC.html," Brinchman says. "Powerlines were never designed to carry information and when used as such experience the "antenna-effect", which means electrosmog in the form of dirty electricity (radiofrequency radiation and electromagnetic fields) is transmitted along all the wiring. PLC meters also gather data and intrude upon privacy and security."
Brinchman's Center for Electrosmog Prevention has been contacted by people who claim to be "deathly ill" from PLC, Brinchman added. "Smart meter activists in California and beyond do not endorse PLC. Here is an example in Fort Loudon, TN, where scores of people are reporting severe illness immediately following upgrades to a PLC system: Tower of trouble? Blount couple sues utility over transmitter
Pair claims equipment has caused physical suffering http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/jan/29/tower-of-trouble-blount-couple-...
"We only endorse purely electromechanical analog meters with zero RF/EMF emissions, such as have been utilized for the past hundred years," concluded Brinchman.
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