A thousand-plus residents oppose ‘smart’ grid


Published: 8/20/2020 4:43:49 PM
Modified: 8/20/2020 4:43:37 PM

A Massachusetts Department of Utility proposal to expand “smart” utility meter deployment to, at minimum, electric vehicle consumers has generated significant local opposition.

A listing of two to three thousand signatures in opposition to smart meters has been provided to the DPU by resident Ula Gaddea, who has endured utility shut-off since refusing a smart meter after citing medical grounds. Gaddea and other residents hope instead legislators will pass S. 1988, a state bill to allow replacement of smart meters with analogs at no cost.

The DPU is accused of ignoring prior testimony, current research, and personal experiences of harm from smart meters by administrators of local organizations such as the Massachusetts Association for the Chemically Injured; Last Tree Laws, a state ballot committee; Hilltown Health; MA for Safe Tech; the Westford Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation; Centerville Concerned Citizens; and the Scientific Alliance for Education. Medical or scientific professionals joining in opposition to smart meters wireless exposures and digital circuitry emissions include Diane Testa, Ph.D.; Jeanne Hubbuch, M.D.; Bill Maykel, D.C.; Erin Acevedo, D.C.; and William J. Bruno, Ph.D., formerly of Los Alamos National Laboratories.

Since 2013, many have contacted the Attorney General Maura Healey hoping she would protect our civil rights as we knew wireless meters, especially smart meters, were harmful and caused, for some, debilitating symptoms. Instead, she is supporting a new deployment. We are fighting big money. The wireless industry funds denial of any effects, and, on top of this, smart meters allow fancy billing schemes, solar incentives, inflated billing, and data mining, meaning that smart meters fill the pockets of some with data and cash on the order of billions. We need public and legislative support to advance S. 1988 this year and to advance tech regulation in 2021.

Along with the Attorney General, the Conservation Law Foundation, Sierra Club, and many utilities all support smart meter deployment, advocating smart meters to provide financial incentives for electric vehicles. U.S. Sen. Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez also included in the Green New Deal support for smart meter infrastructure.

Ironically, comments by resident Kate Winchell cite evidence that smart meters are the opposite of green, as the data collection allowed by internet connectivity requires an energy-intensive infrastructure and because more than 113 studies indicate wireless is harmful to the environment, from bees to trees.

Comments by Patricia Burke cite evidence that proposed electric vehicle subsidies are “costly subsidies for the rich” and that half of any revenue will serve as corporate subsidies while allowing punitive pricing structures for lower-income classes at a time of economic crisis.

Last Tree Laws is currently drafting legislation to limit wireless or electromagnetic exposures, including excessive screen time. The public is invited to a remote legislative discussion on Aug. 29. Information and reservations are available online at LastTreeLaws.com.

Kirstin Beatty, of Holyoke, is co-chair of Last Tree Laws.


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