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Smart meters (4,000 of them) are here in Pagosa Springs now, installed very quietly over the last two to three weeks by LPEA. I am writing this because like me, most Pagosans have no idea this has happened. I came home to catch an LPEA employee installing the new AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) meters at my home, which launched me into lots of research. What I found was disturbing.
Smart meters are being installed all around the world, and are not widely spread in the United States yet. These installations have raised many questions and concerns, which makes the silence of LPEA’s installation process even more troublesome. Where was our informed consent? These meters monitor and report power usage, (private information) to the power company, which means informed consent is required legally. This also brings up a question of unlawful surveillance and the violation of our Fourth Amendment rights (illegal search and seizure).
Since I didn’t know about the meters before the installation, I did not have the choice to opt out without a fee for changing the meter, and if I do opt out, I will be charged a monthly meter reading fee (I have heard $30 most recently). Accept the smart meter, or pay money to opt out sounds like extortion to me. Additionally, the new wireless meters will allow LPEA to implement new rate practices, which may or may not benefit customers, but will definitely benefit LPEA. Watch your next bill, as the last bill covers all electrical usage left from the old meters.
Smart meters can also be tampered with wirelessly, not just read wirelessly. Hacking is a big issue with these meters. A quick you tube search will reveal many videos on how to manipulate smart meters. Once the “Smart Grid” is completed, it would not be hard for decent hackers to take control of one or multiple homes or businesses, or take the grid down.
There are many health risks involved with these wireless smart meters, including, but not limited to cancer. When the finance manager from LPEA told me the meters are no more dangerous than a cell phone, my thought was, cell phones are dangerous. The difference is, I chose a cell phone for the benefits to me. I did not choose the smart meter, and I see no benefits for me. Developing children will be exposed 24 hours a day without a choice. Animals including bees and birds are effected. There should have been many health and environmental studies done before this technology was approved.
Ask LPEA for the evidence that these meters are safe. Ask LPEA to prove the developing brains and bodies of children are safe. Ask LPEA to prove pregnant women and their unborn children are safe around these meters. We the people hold the true power, not the power companies. No law exists stating we must accept smart meters. If we the people choose to remain silent and complacent, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Editor’s note: LPEA addresses concerns over Smart Meters in a separate article in this week’s SUN.