|Share on Facebook|
|Share on Twitter|
Why oh why were we lucky, or not, to be guinea pigs for ComEd's 2010 pilot program for wireless two-way digital meters, dubbed "smart?" Philadelphia's Peco Energy, ComEd's sister utility, once dropped "smart meters" because it meant something different to everyone. Some people refer to smart meters as "stealth" or "secret" meters, which eliminate meter readers.
Since September 2012, Oak Park Environmental Network (OPEN) has sent questions to Oak Park President Pope, most of which remain unanswered. What is disturbing is that commissions and trustees had no discussions or votes on these experimental meters. What happened to transparency?
OPEN's interest was sparked by Attorney General Lisa Madigan's June 21, 2011, Chicago Tribune editorial against the smart grid, which birthed smart meters. It was titled, "An experiment too expensive for consumers: A smart risk for ComEd." She wrote: "While ComEd and Ameren will do the spending, we'll be footing the bill, thanks to large annual rate increases — about 9 percent a year."
On May 31, 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group B). Electric smart meters fall into this category.
In June 2012, more than 50 international science experts contributed to "Smart Meters, Correcting the Gross Information." David O. Carpenter, former founding dean, University of Albany, New York School of Public Health, is the author. Under Electrical Sensitivity, there is a list of 88 scientific papers from 1994-2012.
On Sept. 5, 2012, a Wednesday Journal headline read: "Two RF home fires connected to smart meters." Crain's Chicago Business on-line reported one happened in June 2010 which resulted in ComEd reimbursing $2,900 for house damages and a return of an analog meter. According to the article, the River Forest customer commented, "When the firemen arrived, the lieutenant said if we lived in a wood house, they'd be ripping off the shingles and hosing down the attic right now."
An RF fire also happened in 2011. Unfortunately, this fire information has yet to be reported. There is no data on the July 2012 Berwyn fire. Peco Energy suspended its smart meter installation program after a serious meter fire. Peco and ComEd reported higher than normal heat conditions in these meters. Could it be that OP/RF/Berwyn's older wiring is incompatible with these meters?
Two women, with Naperville Smart Meter Awareness, were arrested recently when they tried to prevent digital meter installations. Resident arrests are the culmination of a two-year legal battle against the City of Naperville, which continues in federal court. Concerns center on wireless meters' effect on health, privacy, safety and security.
One of the women commented to the Chicago Tribune, "It was really a violation. I violated something, but I've been violated too, so I guess we're now in a society of violating one another." How sad it's come to this in Naperville and Oak Park.
Did elected officials neglect due diligence?
Barbara A. Mullarkey is spokesperson for the Oak Park Environmental Network (OPEN).