Maui and Massachusetts stave off latest attempts to block smart meters
Quick Take: The fear that smart meters will fry our brains continues to proliferate. A small but very vocal minority is consumed by theories that one commentator compared to "mass hysteria."
Fortunately, most (though not all) utilities have been able to overcome this obstacle. Typically, they are forced to conduct their own study to confirm safety (even though there are dozens of conclusive reports in the public domain). And usually, they are required to offer an opt-out option for those who don't want a smart meter no matter what the studies show. â€“ Jesse Berst
A new report from engineering consultancy Cascadia PM in behalf of the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute has confirmed that the electromagnetic radiation from smart meters does not create a health hazard.
The study was conducted as part of the Maui smart grid pilot project. Cascadia tested the meters at close range, and at distances up to 50 feet. The tests revealed that "smart meter communications ambient field strengths are less than what we commonly accepted in public spaces and much less than we expose ourselves to using cell phones," said Maui County Energy Commissioner Doug McLeod.
Meanwhile, in Worcester, MA, the city council has rejected an effort to gain a one-year postponement of National Grid's smart meter pilot program. A council subcommittee had suggested the delay because of concerns over both health and privacy.
In explaining why the city was not going to block the pilot, Mayor Joseph Petty reminded that "if people don't want to participate in this program, they can opt-out." National Grid had previously indicated that it would not slow down the deployment. However, it must still go before the city's Zoning Board of Appeals to respond to petitions objecting to communications towers that relate to the pilot program.
Read Worcester City Council allows grid plan to begin in the New Telegram.
Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.
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