Due to public uproar, some utility companies unleashing “smart” meter systems are offering opt-out programs. Opt-out often requires those who refuse “smart” meters to pay one or more fees for the right to keep their older and safer analog meters. Some complain that the fees are reminiscent of extortion from old-time protection thugs.
Requesting an opt-out is definitely a first step to protecting one’s own home from harmful, microwave emissions. But it does not address exposure to EMR from neighboring meters, or from mesh pole transmitters on the grid. EMR from some meters can be measured over three hundred feet away. A single-family home in a residential community can be well within three hundred feet of several near and next-nearest neighbors. Thus, even at the distance of a football field, EMR from many surrounding meters could prove biologically significant, even for those who retain their analog meters. Residents of townhouses, condos and apartment buildings may be especially vulnerable when ten or twenty meters or more are installed on one wall.
Also, an opt-out does not resolve the hazards of dirty electricity polluting a neighborhood loaded with AMI meters. Nor does it protect people who don’t have enough information to request an opt-out, but who may one day develop illnesses from EMR exposure.
Living in rural areas does not solve the problem. Some rural utilities serving mountainous and/or forested areas may choose to deploy AMI metering solutions like those provided by Tantalus Systems Corp. Tantalus creates hybrid “smart” antenna systems, utilizing a variety of frequency signals that can travel through and around obstacles in their quest to “connect.”18 As with other frequency fields deployed by AMI, no studies of the biological effects of such public exposure have been conducted.
18. Tantalus News press release, December 19, 2013: Inland Power and Light Turns to Tantalus and Itron for Smart Grid Communications Network.