Smart Meter 101

After the long weekend of July 4th earlier this week (btw, my 75th birthday)
I went to the Post Office to get my mail and there was a notice from PG&E
announcing their SmartMeter program. I already knew (thanks to
FaceBook, http://www.facebook.com/groups/220070751367188) that I did
not want an SM near my home. At the bottom of the notice in small print
was a phone number (866-743-0263) for opting for a “delay” in the
program. I called at once (morning of July 7th) and registered for delay. The
representative asked the reason, and I said I did not want the radio
transmission near my home. I was told that they would install the SM, but
turn off the radio transmitter.
On returning home later in the day I found that PG&E had already come
and installed an SM (see photo). You might want to go now and check your
electric meter.

I noticed the legend “Silver Spring Networks” at the top of the meter, and
googled them, finding http://www.silverspringnet.com. One of the White Papers
on their site explained:
To date, the majority of smart meters deployed in the United
States use unlicensed spectrum. The reason for the
overwhelming success of this approach is simple – compared
with solutions that rely on privately licensed spectrum, solutions
utilizing unlicensed spectrum are the most reliable, proven and
cost-effective choice for smart grid communications. Silver
Spring Networks is a leading smart grid solution provider whose
communications platform, based on unlicensed 900 MHz
spectrum, has been selected to power more than 17 million
smart meters in the United States and abroad.
Browsing for 900 MHz I discovered this band is adjacent to the 33 cm
amateur radio band (full wavelength a little more than one foot) and is used
by cordless phones, cell phones, and wifi. The health hazards of these
UHF (ultra high frequency) electromagnetic waves are well documented.
My wife Ray also called the PG&E SM number and learned that opting for
“delay” would entail a monthly fee (amount unknown at present). Having
some experience with the technology for EMF shielding in my engineering
background, I browsed the web for homemade faraday cages (EMF
shields) and found a nice idea using aluminum foil and duct tape here:
http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Make_a_Faraday_Cage_Wallet
Before recommending this approach I want to build a cage for my SM and
test it, as it may not work well without a good grounding connection. More
on this in a future blog.
If the cage works, that means that you can self-remedy the radiation aspect
of the SM technology, so PG&E will still have to come and read your SM
manually as always in the past. Even if you build in a window to facilitate
this reading, the PG&E meter reader may rip off your cage and carry it
away, so it is important that the cage be inexpensive and simple to install. 

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8 Responses to “Smart Meter 101”

  1. Becky Luening Says:

    Ralph, thanks for writing about this. My husband is very concerned about the possibly health hazard posed by smart meter (we have resisted having cell phones thus far). Would be very interested in followup info on your experimental solution.

  2. chuck.stein@baymoon.com Says:

    Hi neighbor. We have had a sign on our for a few months not to “upgrade” it to smart meter and the old one remains — for now. We are also on the delay list. One thing I don;t understand is out here in the boonies where there is no cell reception, where do they transmit to, satellite? How can that be? I guess they have the juice to do what they want.

    Chuck

  3. Allan Says:

    SmartCage@ for Smart Meters… go to smartcage.com (available)… Ralph, I want to go into business with you on this. 🙂
    –Allan

  4. Audun Heggdal Pedersen Says:

    I used to work in a Rudolf Steiner school in Bærum, Norway, where cell phones were to be switched off at any time, not for any educational reason, but because of the health risk from radiation, meaning teachers and parents were also to comply. Since then I’ve always kept my phone switched off at night, and try to avoid using it or being around it when I can; so I do believe there is a health hazard. However it is unknown to me that this has ever been “confirmed” (in the illusory mainstream sense of the word) anywhere in the world. I have been presented to various reports and claims stating there are dangerous radiation risks connected to cell phone use, but there are all kinds of reports and claims stating and confirming all kinds of radical things that I like to think are true, but that are not acknowledged in mainstream society.

    Does anyone know that this is not the case? (that in fact mainstream media acknowledges harmful radiation levels in cell phone use.) My hunch is that it will always be hush hush, because if it were widely known, cell phone use would have to be regulated and cannabis legalized:P hehe

    Btw Dr. Abraham, congratulations on your 75th birthday!

    I wish i knew you well and could give you a big hug:)

    Audun

  5. johnswolter Says:

    I have not yet seen peer reviewed studies related to cell phone and other radio and microwave hazards. Would you have any references I might examine?

  6. Aubrey Says:

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some
    pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that,
    this is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  7. web site Says:

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    getting my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like
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