An exciting new thing to worry about

Australia, or at least Victoria, is getting "smart" electricity meters.

Unlike the old spinning-disc or slightly newer digital meters, smart meters can report power usage in real time, to the customer via a display inside the house and to the power company as well, without any requirement for legions of meter-readers. Smart meters can do various other tricks, too, like for instance changing the cost of electricity by time of day, to make it more expensive when there's high demand and deter some people from turning on the air conditioner and adding their own little electrical vote for a new coal-fired power station.

Heck, the smart meters may even be able to measure power factor, and theoretically create a need for those zillions of "power saver" gadgets. Which the power saver gadgets will not actually fill, of course, on account of how they usually don't do anything at all, but you can't have everything.

The Australian meters seem to report every thirty minutes, via radio.

So, naturally, people think they cause cancer.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I was delighted beyond human comprehension to discover a one-stop shop for Aussie smart-meter opposition, Actually, I was first pointed to this page on "Holistic Help", but I only made it to the oddly popular claim that smart meters somehow kill nearby plants before I went somewhere else, lest I burst an important blood vessel.

Herewith, a response to Smart Meters in Victoria: Information and Concerns.

There are some valid complaints on that page. Apparently some smart meters have overcharged customers, for instance. And there've been some typical government-program deployment boondoggles - cost blowouts, the possible need to spend more money to change the radio frequency band the meters communicate on because of interference, and so on.

There are also privacy concerns about the every-30-minutes communication of household electricity use, and whose hands this information could get into. I'm having a hard time figuring out a way in which selling of this data to marketing firms could be a major problem, beyond just contributing its own particle to the mountain of privacy-damaging things in the modern world. But if the data isn't encrypted well enough, and meter IDs can be converted into addresses relatively easily (possibly even if you need a directional antenna to do it), then it might become possible for one burglar in a van to quickly figure out who, nearby, seems to have gone on holiday.

There are also concerns about coupling of the radio-frequency output of the smart-meter antennas to household wiring, possibly damaging appliances, though I don't think anybody's done a proper study to see whether the rate of appliance failure is actually any higher after the new meter's installed.

And then there are some real, but not necessarily valid, complaints. People object, for instance, to power being made more expensive at certain times of day, which they say is unfair, though I'm not sure exactly how. If it's unfair to charge more for peak-period electricity, then it's also unfair if you're only allowed to park your car in some particular location for half an hour during the day, but can legally occupy the same space all night.

There's a claim that consumers don't benefit from the new meters. OK, that's a reason to object, I suppose, but consumers don't benefit when, say, petrol becomes more expensive, either. This is an argument against silly PR from the electricity companies that tries to make you think the new meters will make your life better, especially since the stingy buggers don't even seem to be providing any indoor display units. But that's all this complaint is. Just because you want to keep paying low prices for something doesn't give you a right to do so, especially when that "something" is electricity which previously sold at an artificially low price because the cost of warming the damn planet wasn't factored in.

And then there are feeble complaints, like the possibility that the meters will not be installed safely.

And then, there's the bulk of the lengthy page, which is proudly devoted to ridiculous complaints.

To start with an easy one, the notion that coupling radio energy to household wiring could cause fires betrays a serious misunderstanding of the amount of energy the meter emits, and how well it could be received by household wiring. You could pump that one whole watt of high-frequency RF directly into your wall wiring, and I swear to you upon my beloved Necronomicon that no wires would get hot and start fires. If the only way in is the fraction of one per cent of the energy that the household wiring will manage to receive... well, it's good of Stop Smart Meters to so quickly make clear their opinion of mere "knowledge" and "logic".

And, of course, now we're off and racing with good old mobile-phones-cause-brain-cancer claptrap. The smart meters broadcast in the same 900MHz band as our GSM mobile phones here in Australia, so clearly they pose a similar risk, right?

The World Health Organisation say it's "possible" that mobile phones cause cancer. People who relay this information are generally less eager to make clear that the WHO has categorised this possible risk, from "long-term, heavy use" of mobile phones, as being in the same "Group 2B" class as traditional Asian pickled vegetables, and coffee.

The Stop Smart Meters page is at least aware of this, and points out that there are plenty of straight-up poisons on the Group 2B list too, like for instance lead. But then the author erroneously tries to claim that since lead is poisonous and phone radiation is now on the same possible-carcinogen list as lead, phone radiation should be treated as something similar in danger to lead.

This is, to be frank, stupid. Yes, lead is poisonous, but there's only feeble evidence that it's a carcinogen, which is why it's on the 2B list, and not for instance the 2A "probably carcinogenic" list, or the Group 1 "definitely carcinogenic" list. Phone radiation is self-evidently not a poison like lead. None of the IARC carcinogen lists are lists of poisons. Phone radiation is on the same list as lead because there's only feeble evidence that it's a carcinogen.

Stop Smart Meters go on to claim that "a significant proportion of Victorians refuse to use devices such as mobile phones or baby monitors because of sensitivities or concerns about future health implications". This not only uses a rather stretched definition of the word "significant", but also pretends that science is a democracy. Which it isn't. It doesn't matter how many people think baby monitors cause cancer, if they don't. Likewise, it doesn't matter how many Koreans think having an electric fan in your bedroom is very dangerous, if it isn't.

Trundling down the extra-big Stop Smart Meters page, there's a fine example of the kit-and-kaboodle routine of collecting supporting quotes from as many people as possible, without paying any attention to the reliability of the sources.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine, for instance, claim that smart meters are dangerous, and that claim is mentioned on the Stop Smart Meters page. The AAEM also oppose fluoridation of drinking water (PDF), on the grounds that "fluoride is a known neurotoxin and carcinogen even at the levels added to the public water supplies". This is news to the World Health Organisation that Stop Smart Meters were so enthusiastic about a moment ago.

The AAEM also believe that "mercury in vaccinations constitutes a significant exposure" (PDF), even though the mercury-containing preservative thiomersal is no longer in almost any vaccines that anti-thiomersal campaigners insisted were causing terrible harm to children, and this change has caused no epidemiological effect at all. I refer you once again to the World Health Organisation.

Oh, and the AAEM are really keen (PDF) on that whole multiple chemical sensitivity thing. Which is one of those illnesses that doesn't seem to manifest when a sufferer is exposed to the alleged causative agent but doesn't know it, and does manifest when a sufferer thinks they're being exposed, but they aren't.

The World Health Organisation has little to say about MCS, except to point out that people who believe they have it seem rather like the people who think they're "electrosensitive".

Funny they should mention that. Because Stop Smart Meters believe, of course, that "electrosensitivity" is real. Which it is, in a sense; people who suffer from it really do suffer. There's just no good reason to suppose that this suffering actually has anything to do with "radiation", and numerous studies that show it does not.

Anything a smart meter broadcasts is, apparently, bad. Stop Smart Meters complain that mesh-networked meters broadcast more frequently than meters with long-range radios, because mesh networks need relays to get the feeble signal from each meter to the actual power-company receiver for the area, and the relays are built into the meters. But since this is all because the radios are more feeble, I fail to understand why Stop Smart Meters automatically assume that this is yet another thing to worry about.

People hold mobile phones to their heads, often for extended periods. So if a watt or two of nine hundred and something megahertz radio waves actually can hurt you, it's sensible to presume that heavy mobile phone users would develop these diseases, presumably in their head, and presumably preferentially on the side they habitually press their phone to.

People are not in the habit of leaning their head on their electricity meter all day. And even the mesh meters do not normally broadcast all day. I think the non-mesh meters broadcast for a total of about five minutes a day, but I don't have a strong enough source for that to bet anything on it.

Even if you're sitting in a chair on the other side of the wall from the meter, with its antenna a mere metre from your head, then you'll be exposed to way, way less RF energy per second than you would with an iPhone pressed to your head in a dodgy reception area, and the exposure may be for only minutes, or even seconds, per hour. Arguing that this is a major risk, even if heavy cellphone use is dangerous, is like saying that hypothermia is lethal, so you'd better never eat ice cream.

Stop Smart Meters also appear to think that RF from the meter getting into the home wiring will cause those terrible microwaves to radiate from all of your house wiring. Once again, this completely ignores the concept of "power", how much of it there is in the first place, how much of it can manage to get into the house wiring via a miserably inefficient "antenna", and how much it attenuates with distance from the wires.

I could go on with this, but life's too damn short. Yes, there are reasons to object to the new meters; the new system seems very likely to come with more electricity price hikes, for instance, and you may even be overcharged on top of that.

But the bulk of Stop Smart Meters' argument isn't about that.

Stop Smart Meters appear to be, like many other people, under the impression that anything called "radiation" must be bad. I would not be surprised if they also don't want any "chemicals" in their food. People like this should logically therefore be frozen into a zero-Kelvin lump and stored in a an earthed lead box containing a hard vacuum, but for some reason they seem to be fine with light bulbs and moonlight and the drinking of dihydrogen monoxide.

If you don't know what radiation is, and you don't know what chemicals are, and the inverse-square law might as well be the Collected Proceedings of the Vorlon Linguistic Society for all the sense you can make of it, then I implore you to seek education, and remind you that activist organisations of any kind are much more likely to be in the bullshit business than the education one.

If you don't fancy the idea of education, I suggest you live a life of happy-go-lucky ignorance, taking cues from a housecat, or a domestic dog, depending on your preferences.

Just please don't spend your time worrying about the terrible threat someone says is posed by technologies, cultural changes or particular types of other human whom you do not understand. Every minute you spend worrying about Islamists conquering the world, or commercial airliners spreading mysterious poisons, or electricity meters giving you cancer, does nothing but move you one minute closer to your actual death, and gains you nothing at all.

19 Responses to “An exciting new thing to worry about”

  1. kai Says:

    I've got a smart meter, and I like it. why? because it means the 13 photovoltaic panels on my roof are earning me money during the day when I'm out of the house and not using much electricity.

  2. Max Says:

    I'd like to point out that since electricity - unless purchased in tasteful, discrete little packages called "primary cells" - is generally not exactly a free market item one just buys from the most convenient source, and on that basis is usually subject to certain amount of governmental regulation, I find it quite understandable that potential jacking of its price disguised as a technology upgrade is rather frowned upon. Yes, one has no particular right to continue to buy electricity at fixed prices, but I trust you're not suggesting the power company could suddenly decide to raise prices by an order of magnitude without all sorts of nastyness as an immediate consequence either...?

    Regarding bullshit warriors - I have a theory that righteously and vigorously protesting against something one doesn't have a clue about grants all sorts of gratifications to those pursuing it - such as the warm, fuzzy feeling of belonging to a larger group, being able to feel good about oneself for fighting for The Right Thing (another theory of mine being that these people have precious few other opportunities to feel particularly good about themselves), and the feeling of wielding power over others whenever such a movement scores an occasional regulatory success. None of which being an excuse for a thick, hollow-sounding skull of course.

  3. Mister Peepers Says:

    "People are not in the habit of leaning their head on their electricity meter all day. "

    That's crazy- it's the only way my fillings can get in the local radio station properly.

  4. Stark Says:

    We have also recently had upgrades to smart meters in my neck of the woods... and I have a new neighbor who also happens to be in the credulous crowd when it comes to things like cell-phones and cancer and the dangers of the weedy little transmitter located in his smart meter. He's so concerned that he went out and wrapped his smart meter in tin-foil to block the signal - he even earthed the foil to the grounding rod for his house. This would not have bothered me, in fact I likely would never have noticed, had he not done the same to my house... and all the houses with a block of his it seems. The power company came round somewhat perturbed as to why the readings from the meters went all sideways. Needless to say I have instructed him that he's welcome to shield his own meter all he wants but should he touch mine I will rig a door-less microwave to point at his house in a vain attempt to pop every kernel of popcorn found in his kitchen.

    What made my head explode was that he complained that should I do that, the microwave thing, it would mess up his ham radio. This naturally piqued my interest so I sauntered over to his garage and found, much to my surprise, a fully operational ham setup with a 1kW transmitter. Turns out he's been a ham for 20 years....and in a staggering display of cognitive dissonance has managed to convince himself that there is some magical difference between the 1kW of transmitting power he uses regularly - not more than 15 feet from his head - and the maximum 3 watts of a cell phone or less than 1 watt of a smart meter... and that somehow the 1kW transmission is perfectly safe but the lower powers are an issue.

    Ahh well, nice enough guy otherwise and he's willing to share his beer and let me play with the ham setup. I just have to put my cell on airplane mode when I'm over. ;)

    • TwoHedWlf Says:

      Reminds me of the newspaper article that went around years ago. With the picture of the pregnant woman concerned about construction noise harming her baby while she stood there smoking a cigarette.

  5. trutter Says:

    Just because you want to keep paying low prices for something doesn't give you a right to do so, especially when that "something" is electricity which previously sold at an artificially low price because the cost of warming the damn planet wasn't factored in.

    Very well put! The more I read of your stuff the more I enjoy it.

  6. matt t Says:

    There was an interesting article on privacy concerns of smart meters in Europe recently, where "hackers" were not only able to intercept and forge meter readings, but were able to determine what film a household was watching on the TV.

    Let's see... ah, here it is:

  7. rndmnmbr Says:

    I wonder how many of them connect to the Internet via wi-fi? Would they be astounded that their laptop is a radiation-emitting device? Would that cause them to get off my internet? The world wants to know.

  8. unfunk Says:

    DISCLAIMER: I work for one of the largest energy retailers in Australia. This post does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of my employer.

    I get dozens of calls about Smart Meters every week at work, and it annoys me no end. Not so much having to take the call, but the misinformation there is out there in the community about them. To that end, I've taken it upon myself to educate people who call up to complain about them. This is of course not explicitly required of me by my team leader or other QA departments.

    Just recently there was a story on ACA or Today Tonight about how Smart Meters were exploding all over Victoria and are generally unsafe, etc etc. This, of course leads to people calling up to tell me that they don't want a Smart Meter. Well firstly, you don't have a choice in the matter. Secondly, there's never any stories on these reputable news programs about the older Basic Meters shorting out and causing fires. During my employment at [redacted], I've had infinitely more calls relating to a Basic Meter going wonky like this than I have Smart Meters.

    (That would be one call about a Basic Meter fire that happened years ago, and none about Smart Meters.)

    Then of course there's the usual complaints about your energy prices going up. Sure, it sucks to have to pay more for an essential service (in fact, the employee discount was one of the huge factors in my choice of employer), but let's face it. Prices go up. All the time.

    However, people like to really focus on this, and it's misguided. They see their Peak rates go up and get upset. They see their Offpeak rates go up and get upset. They see this new 'Shoulder' rate and get upset because they don't know what it is. They call me up and they tell me that they're trying to save money by only putting the washing or drying on after 11pm, and by cooking their morning porridge before 7am.
    What they don't know - and it's not their fault, as it's been drummed into their head otherwise - is that with Basic Meters, they're not saving money by doing this. The only thing charged at offpeak rates is their electric hot water system. Even then, only if it's over a certain capacity.

    With a Smart Meter though (and assuming that the distributor has configured their meter correctly), they get charged for your electricity according to the time of day they used it! This means they actually can save money by performing those early morning and late night rituals. They also pay less for using electricity on the weekend or public holiday!

    Furthermore, remote reading capability theoretically eliminates the worst call of my working life - the estimated read. Customers call up constantly wondering why they have an estimate when access to the meter is through a locked gate with a "beware of the dog" sign attached to it.
    The interval readings (which BTW is usually 15 minutes, Dan, not 30) can also help me pinpoint the cause of the other bane of my life - the high bill. Yeah, it's kinda creepy that I can see that you woke up at 6:45 on Sunday, December 18 and immediately turned on something that used a lot of power - was that your Tiny God of a PC and surround sound system? (I bet that pleased your neighbours) - but I can immediately spot if there was an spike at 8am when your neighbour had had enough and decided to fast-charge his Tesla Roadster using your power.

    As far as I can see, Smart Meters is a trifecta of win. It's a win for Distributors who can reduce costs with less meter readers. It's a win for retailers, who will have less estimated bill-related calls. It's a win for customers who will no longer get estimated reads, and will finally get charged for time-of-use like they think they have been all along.

    I honestly don't understand the uproar about Smart Meters, I really don't.


  9. sixstringedthing Says:

    Great blog Dan! I'm a long-time reader of Dan's Data, but this is the first time I've commented on your writings.

    I just read a bunch of comments over at Stop Smart Meters and now my brain is full of HHHNHNNNNGGGGG. A couple of my favourite gems (paraphrased because to provide the actual quotes, I'd have to go and sift through the ridiculous alarmist drivel all over again which would probably cause me to throw a rod or bust a gasket):

    - "good old trusty analog meters which draw no power vs. a box of electrickery that draws much more power, thus negating any 'green' benefits"

    It took me roughly 30 seconds of wiki'ing to determine that this is incorrect; electromechanical meters constantly dissipate anywhere from one to several watts, though this is not metered/billed. I'm not an electronic engineer, but I'm pretty sure the microprocessor, related components and RF section would dissipate less (and presumably would also not be included in your metered consumption). I assume that the "trusty old mechanical meters" would also be subject to wear, leading to measurement error over time.

    - "The electronics in these smart meters constantly produce heat, which increases the risk of a fire"

    Facepalm. These are not overclocked Core i7's or high-current MOSFETS we're talking about here.

    - "Smart meters allow the power company to turn off any appliance in your home that they like, at any time"

    Er, what? How? This just shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how residential electrical systems are designed, and/or the way mains-powered devices operate.

    -"If you have a pacemaker or any other such vulnerabilities, smart meters could be lethal".

    Oh come on! This is just barefaced scaremongering, as are all the reports of "Electromagnetic Sensitivity"

    - "Cooking-strength microwave radiation/allergies to the microwave thingies" (direct quotes here)

    I actually laughed out loud at these. I've done a bit of reading on the meters. Nothing I read suggested that these devices have a magnetron installed in them anywhere. Wehad these scares with microwave ovens, then mobile phones, then WiFi... it's all sounding a bit boringly familiar really.

    With regard to the multiple claims of "Electromagnetic Sensitivity", all I can say is that these people clearly know how to search Wikipedia too, because their symptoms all seem to closely match those described on its EMS page. What a shame they were seemingly incapable of searching for "placebo effect".

    Last but not least, and without wishing to restart The Great Climate-Change Debate of '08 (I read all 53 comments by the way!), this old chestnut:

    - "In short smart metering is a bigger sam [sic] than global warming, which it uses as its excuse for being..."

    Ah yes. I wondered how long it would take to run across something like this (about two minutes if you're wondering).
    I guess we should just build more power stations to keep up with demand eh? Rather than trying to minimise expensive and highly-polluting peak load generation by better understanding and reacting to peak consumption data, minimising transmission losses and strain on the grid through better managed preemptive maintenance, or -*deity* forbid- trying to get people to actually take more responsibility for their energy usage habits.

    I'd like to show these alarmists a graph of all the RFI/EMI/Infrared/Microwave/Gamma/X-Ray radiation we're subjected to daily, classified and distinguished by source. And then overlay the output from the smart meters on top of it all. Maybe in a distinctive colour, like a soothing blue-green. :)

    Ok, a bit long-winded for a first post perhaps! But my bullshit detector went off the scale on this one and the tinfoil hats were everywhere.

    Once again, Great stuff Dan, keep it up mate.

  10. n0rthstar Says:

    I do and dont find it shocking how people mock others about something that makes them ill... just because they dont feel ill effects themselves they completely dismiss other peoples. And i suppose i too would have if not for a recent experience.

    A little story for you.

    Two months ago i started getting ill, i had all sorts of symptoms, insomnia, dizziness etc, you get the picture, ALL the symptoms related to Electromagnetic Hyper Sensitivity, obviously i didnt know this at the time, i just thought i was ill.

    I decided to check out my symptoms online because my doctor couldnt find anything wrong with me, and i came across Smart Meters of course. Well i knew i didnt have one installed so asked my neighbours (i live in a flat/apt) and neither of those had one so i assumed one of them was either lying or i really was ill. This was about a month after getting all these weird symptoms. Anyway a month later i discover a meter thats been attached in some cupboard below the flats to read ALL the flats electrical usage, oh yes, you guessed it, a smart meter! Installed 2 months ago, you cant tell me thats a coincidence.

    I never bought into all that kinda stuff but after this experience, without knowing a meter was even there, i can tell you now im a firm believer these things are bad. I dont care what all the none believers think, i knew how i felt at night and during the day BEFORE i knew a meter was there, theres nothing anyone can say to make me believe these meters arent a danger if they have made me this ill without knowing why.

    Believe me its a living nightmare for the sufferers out there, the none believers time will come, you dont think I have always suffered from this do you... oh no... so i know if it came on gradually for me im sure it will for you too, and i cant wait for it to happen to everyone so you can feel what all the people who suffer today feel and for me to say "i told you so".

    So carry on making jokes about tin foil hats, your time is coming, mark my words.

    • dan Says:

      Installed 2 months ago, you cant tell me thats a coincidence.

      It's a coincidence.

      What do I win?

      "I don't care what the science says, I know how my own body feels," is an argument used by many, many, many people, and it's not valid. If it were, we wouldn't need medical science in the first place.

      "I don't care what the science says, I know that if I only try harder I will soon be able to live on nothing but air and sunlight."

      "I don't care what the science says, I know that if I send my entire pension cheque to that televangelist, my diabetes will be cured."

      "I don't care what the science says, I know this radioactive water is good for me."

      "I don't care what the science says, I know the world is 6000 years old and will very soon be ending, so forget eating right, and I'm sure not gonna need a nest egg for when I retire!"

      I accept that you felt lousy, and then felt better. I don't know why this is. The addition of one very small radio signal to the countless other radio signals that bathe your body every day does not seem likely to be the reason.

      I suggest you approach this from a more positive outlook, seeking what the truth might actually be, rather than the quite understandable negative outlook you currently have, waiting bitterly for the ailment that afflicted you to afflict everyone who suggests that you may be mistaken.

      • n0rthstar Says:

        "I suggest you approach this from a more positive outlook, seeking what the truth might actually be"

        The truth is what i said it is. I gain nothing from lying. I just want people to know my own experience and believe me its a living nightmare with this thing. (Which i am in the process of trying to get it removed, i'll smash it off the wall if i have to).

        "is an argument used by many, many, many people, and it's not valid"

        How can it not be valid - I feel sick for 2 months unaware of the meter being there - The worst of this sickness is trying to sleep, something sick people can and do do to escape feeling ill for a while, not in this case, this thing makes you sick and loves to keep you awake at the same time. If i wasnt ill before and become mysteriously ill not knowing the existence of a meter = Smart Meter = the cause, plain and simple logic.

        "The addition of one very small radio signal to the countless other radio signals that bathe your body every day does not seem likely to be the reason."

        You also know the wiring in the house/flat act as an antenna yes? Because thats what is happening here, its not just the meter signalling to wherever. Whats happening is this - I turn things on and off, the signals travel up the wire to record these actions, making the signal worse, my meter then talks to the next block of flats/apt and that (and others) talks to mine, all the while my wires act as antenna making me ill as hell. This is a fact and i feel this daily, i felt it BEFORE i knew the smart meter was there, you cant call that my imagination, or say im ill when my doctor finds nothing wrong with me.

        The truth is you dont suffer... yet. Hopefully as more and more people become sensitive to this, then something will get done about it. And as i said, i havent always been sensitive, im sure i have been in many many places surrounded by all sorts of electromagnetic fields all my life and never felt anything... till now... and believe me, its terrible feeling this way in your own home... leaving the house to feel better isnt always an option, not at 2am anyway.

        The meter i didnt know existed is the direct cause of my illness, no ifs, no buts.

        • Slurpy Says:

          "The meter i didnt know existed is the direct cause of my illness, no ifs, no buts."

          Unless, of course, it's mono.

        • Stark Says:

          OK, I'll bite.

          So, you seem to have absolutely no idea whatsoever about how a smart meter (or a meter of any variety I would hazard) works.

          "Whats happening is this - I turn things on and off, the signals travel up the wire to record these actions..."

          Ummmmm... No. Not even a little bit right. The meter has precisely zero idea of what switch just turned off in your house/apt. There is no signal which travels between your lightswitch and the meter. None.

          Here's an anecdote of how a meter functions for you. Pretend for a moment that electricity is water. When you turn on a light (or a TV, or a kettle, or large pink faux fur covered massage chair, what have you) the water starts to flow through the pipes (aka wiring). Now, just outside your house in the pipe that brings in the water is a water wheel. When all the switches are off in your house, no water flows in and the wheel sits still. As you turn on switches, water moves and the wheel turns... the more switches you turn on the faster the water comes into the house and the faster the water wheel turns. The water wheel is your electricity meter. The switch never knows that the water wheel exists and they certainly never communicate.

          So, there is no "signal" other than the free movement of electrons on the copper in your walls which is known as electricity travelling between the meter and your switch, appliances, etc. None.

          Now, many smart meters can have a pretty good idea of what is on and off in your home... but it's because the electric company know a great deal about what sorts of devices exist in home and how much power they use. For example, a 60 watt lightbulb uses power in a very definite and definable amount and manner - since this power has to pass through the meter and is recorded a computer can deduce that the sudden change in your metered power was somebody turning on a lightbulb, or a hair dryer, or that god-awful pink monstrosity of a massage chair I mentioned earlier. No signal between the lightswitch and the meter needed or used.

          As for the wiring in your house acting like a giant antennae... well, yes and no. If your house is not properly grounded you could, maybe, on a rare day get that effect. If your wiring contractor went absolutely nuts and ran wire up and down and across every outside wall and the ceiling space a few inches apart you'd get a Faraday cage and have no outside signal whatsoever reaching into your home. Neither of these things is likely to happen though... you see, the wires in your house already have a signal on them... it's called electricity. In Australia it's a 50hz signal generated - in North America its 60hz. That radio signal generated by the electricity, inside your home, is several thousand times more powerful than the weeny little signal the smart-meter transmits outside your home.

          I doubt you have access to a broad spectrum receiver... but if you can find someone who does - invite them over to your place with it. Have them find the signal from your smart-meter (they'll need to be fairly close to it) and then have them go inside your home... I'd bet $50 bucks they cannot even find the signal inside. I know I couldn't when I checked, and my neighbor (see my post above) who was concerned about his smart meter found that when inside, directly next to the wall where the meter was mounted outside (less than 3 feet from the meter), there was no detectable signal whatsoever.

          As for your assertion that something you didn't know existed is the "cause of my illness, no if, no buts.".... well, that's a bit.... myopic is the best word for it I guess. I mean, after all, what else that you don't know about happened 2 months ago? Did you get exposed to a virus in an elevator? Maybe you got bit by a mosquito? (the "symptoms"of "Electromagnetic Hyper Sensitivity" read off like a checklist for West Nile Virus, Mono, Thyroid disorder and about a thousand other diseases). Heck, if I recall correctly we had some pretty darned large solar flare activity a couple of months back... which produced electromagnetic fields that blanketed the earth and were millions of times more powerful than that pesky smart meter's signal.

          In short, just because you are convinced doesn't make you right. The science of the matter is not inconclusive. Radio waves, even very powerful ones, do not have any effect on human health. If they did, we'd all be sick or dead by now.

          Oh, on a related note... please find your local college/uni and take a introductory class on logic. It'll help you immensely if you take it's lessons to heart. What you have applied in your thinking so far is not logic... not in any way.

          I do genuinely feel for you being ill. I have suffered from unspecified illness before and it is frustrating and scary to say the least. Not knowing whats wrong, and not being able to feel better do nothing good for our ability to reason. It took over a year for my doctors to identify that I had a very particular thyroid issue - and I suffered from extreme fatigue and insomnia for most of that time. I was lucky, once identified my condition was easily treatable and I'm 100% these days. I hope you find the actual cause of your illness and it is as easily remedied as mine was in the end... but it is not, without any doubt whatsoever, the smart-meter causing your ills. Quit wasting your energy there and get your doctor to start really testing for other illnesses - it'll be time better spent.

          Good luck.

          • n0rthstar Says:

            Thanks for the reply, very detailed, if a little bit skewed towards "it must be something else".

            I am as baffled by this as you or anyone else would be, it doesn't make sense i suppose for a "little radio signal" affect someones sleep so bad and make them feel ill during the day, does it?

            Its also understandable that people who don't feel this stuff to have their doubts, i get that, i really do, but to dismiss these things as imagination, or being something else when i gave an accurate account of when the meter was installed, unknown to me, and when this all started, its just burying ones head in the sand. There's millions of people that seem to be affected by wireless technology in general, and it gets swept under the carpet for the masses that don't feel it. There wouldn't be any question of its existence, and its health concerns if everyone felt this, but it seems most people don't, and i honestly think people who cant feel this should really heed the warnings from the people who do, WE are TELLING you something is wrong.

            I did buy a detection meter and the meter is spiking at times when I'm feeling ill or being kept awake, but not into dangerous levels, (dangerous according to the detector), but maybe i don't know how to read it properly, maybe some people are more sensitive than others.. all i know is i AM affected by whats going on. At other times when the detector isn't spiking i can sleep and i feel ok.

            Anyway, I don't really have much more to say on the matter, i still haven't managed to get the meter removed, after my investigation of it all and the detector i bought to get readings i will be pushing it forward for removal on threat of legal action, I will let you know how my health and sleep changes (if at all) when its removed.


          • n0rthstar Says:

            Oh and i would just like to add something about the wiring

            Before all this started my appliances, TV, Computer, Fridge Freezer etc were fine.

            Since i started feeling this thing, whatever it is, my at night when trying to sleep, or just sat down watching TV or on the PC, I get this dizziness wave, or a sick feeling, or an uneasy feeling in my stomach, then the TV with creak/crack right after, its the same with the fridge, I will get the same feelings and the fridge will come on, or the PC will come out of standby for no reason.

            Strange eh, but very true.

  11. RichVR Says:

    Pearls before swine, Stark. Pearls before swine.

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