We thought we’d outrun the smart meter invasion, if not ‘out-smarted’ it.
We’d moved to new home, not once but twice in the last four years, after deciding it was the only solution available to us each time the matter-of-factly smart meter notification came without any recourse for opting-out of its constant wireless radio frequency exposure.
Now here we were, in a rural area far beyond the city limits, where we had chosen our home specifically because the electric meters were not wireless but broadband over electric powerlines, or BPL. Here the same thing is called Powerline Carrier (PLC). We were sure that was smart enough for a cooperative electrical utility to be content (hopefully for decades to come) receiving frequent updates from our meter not by wireless radio frequency means, but by transmitting the electric usage information from the meter to the utility in digital form over the existing electric distribution lines. No wireless transmission. Perfect.
We had electric service and did not need to go off-grid to do it safely (biologically speaking). And here in the photo you can see why this man is smiling – zero EMF coming from our electric meter – happy knowing that the meter life would extend to several more decades.
And then it happened. We’d been here 13 months when the notice came…
METER MAINTENANCE REPLACEMENTS ARE COMING! Technology is ever changing; think about your cell phone and its constant upgrades… now consider how much meter technology has improved!
After exchanging exasperated looks, we scanned the notice to find out how much time we had to plan our course calling a halt to the change-out, and spring into action. Luckily, our electric service provider was a cooperative, and that told us that we would have more time than if we were dealing with a for-profit electric utility company.
That’s because being a cooperative utility company meant that it was ‘owned and run’ by the people for the people, and so that implied that input from owner/consumers carried extra weight. Additionally, co-ops moved more slowly and deliberately because they tended to think long term, plan deliberately and execute accordingly.
This turned out to be out-dated thinking. It seems that Public Electric Utilities, now rubbed raw at years of consumer push back regarding smart meters, have become sensitized to possible hassles and so this notice although it stated would occur in “months to come”, was actually planned for the days to come in our neighborhood, which intentionally did not allow time for a great deal of consumer dialog or feedback.
Step One – we’d identify the decision makers at our utility and address our concerns directly to the top decision makers. That meant the President of the Board, the Board Member responsible for our sub-district (who turned out to be neighbor), the CEO and General Manager of utility operations, and the Head of Metering who was directly responsible for answering questions related to the meter itself, the meter change out and more.
Four key people who each had their own responsibility in the matter and their own unique perspective on the situation. Plus additional board members of other sub-districts, and utility staff members who had various other ways and means to help in our quest to halt the meter change-out.
Steps 2, 3 and 4 involved writing, delivering and following up with each of the four key people. This involved red tape cutting, hoop jumping, and asking for English translations of canned politically-correct responses designed to render us inert. A Copy of the two page letter that we sent to each of them outlines the information we were asking them to consider in halting the meter change-out.
Step 5 – raising utility consumer awareness and providing them with a means to have their informed voices heard on the issues and inputted into the Halt the Meter Change Out process. This required us to write letters to the editors of the community newspapers that were published in each of the sub-districts served by our cooperative utility, that provided a snapshot of the health concerns, links to studies, links to the free online documentary Take Back Your Power, and email addresses of our key utility decision makers where they could voice their now-more-informed concerns directly.
Step 6 – was to meet the key decision makers face to face, seeking solutions with solution minded suggestions. This might mean calling for a board meeting with consumers presenting their concerns and situations. It might mean a cooperative referendum or poll. It might mean stronger less concerned-consumer and more activist-oriented tactics of negotiation.
And then what happened? More to come …
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