Letter: The trouble with smart meters

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Duke is upgrading Asheville’s smart meters. The concept is that these meters communicate with Duke your electrical habits ranging from usage of TV, washer, dryer, dishwasher, water heater, refrigerator, oven to good old-fashioned lights and then some. Duke then has the ability to sell your information so businesses can help serve you better by knowing your patterns in the privacy of your own home.

But there is a downside! These smart meters send electrical pulses that aggravate your health. You can opt out only if you have a notarized note from a doctor. Some doctors are fully aware of the negative health impacts of these meters and are willing to state that on paper. So people are paying to see their doctor with a notary public in attendance to confirm that you are not willing to take on additional health side effects of smart meters.

Essentially, our electric company knows these smart meters pose risks! So why make people jump through extra hoops? You still have to purchase the old analog meter for $170. And your electrical bill will increase by $15 every month. Why the added paper trail of doctors being documented as saying in their expert opinion, these units are dangerous?

If you are not aware of potential side effects from the radio frequencies of smart meters on plants and animals, just do a simple online search. Remember, some search engines are tailored to your search patterns. Perhaps try some alternative search engines, too!

— Matt Stivers

Editor’s note: Xpress contacted Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks for a response to several of the writer’s points. Asked whether it’s correct that Duke has the ability to sell customer information from smart meters to businesses, Brooks wrote via email: “No. … Customer identifying information — such as names and addresses — is not stored in the smart meter or transmitted across the network. The smart meter sends only your energy consumption information and meter identification number to Duke Energy. Kilowatt-hour consumption information is transmitted at regular intervals from your smart meter through an encrypted network for billing and reliability purposes. This information is protected from the moment it is collected until the moment it is deleted.”

Asked whether Duke knows that smart meters pose risks, Brooks responded in part: “No. … Smart meters are a safe and proven technology. … Both the [Federal Communications Commission] and World Health Organization have stated that the small amount of [radio frequency emissions] emitted by smart meters poses no threat to human health.”

On the cost of opting out, Brooks replied that the writer’s figures were correct; however, “The customer is not purchasing a meter, as the meter is owned by Duke Energy. They are paying for the installation of a manually read meter and the cost of a technician coming out to read the meter each month to prepare their bill.”

Another point noted last June in an order filed by the N.C. Utilities Commission (and reported by The News & Observer): The opt-out fees are to be waived if a customer has a notarized note from a doctor “that the customer must avoid exposure to RF emissions to the extent possible to protect their health.” More info from Duke on opting out can be found at avl.mx/620.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

10 thoughts on “Letter: The trouble with smart meters

  1. Paul Wilczynski

    Thank you for getting and publishing Duke’s response. There’s way too much false information floating around the internet.

    • Graces

      The false information is from Duke energy….learn to do real research and you will find the truth there.

  2. Usman

    Let’s look at why we do not need smart meters.
    #1 A smart meter will hurt or even KILL disabled homeowners who have disabled medical implants.  The average of deaths by smart meter radiation and smart meter fires is almost 100 every month in North America.

    #2 Did you know if your power company “turned off” the power to your home when they did a smart meter install, your chance of a smart meter fire increased by a factor of 10,000.

    #3 Your power company has access to all of you private power information. Eg When you make tea, when you turn on your alarm etc. This private information is sold to Google for huge sums of money. Ask your power company what the second radio transmitter in your smart meter does. (ZigBee)

    #4 A smart meter will cause cancer to return if your family members who are fighting cancer at home. If they come home from the hospital and sleep near a smart meter, they will die. Check with the US Cancer Society website.

    #5 Smart Meter RADIATION will turn off breakers in your home. Both AFCI’s and GFI’s get turned off by the radiation from the smart meter.

    #6 You smart meter is very accurate, BUT, the software (firmware) is programmable. Your bill has nothing to do with the power you use.

    #7 Smart meter radiation is breaking Ionic Bonding.

    #8 A huge expenditure for a huge loss. Billions of dollars to purchase something that does not general generate any power and each smart meter need 4 watts to operate. One million smart meters use 4,000 KILOWATTS of energy to operate.

    #9 The second radio transmitter is for ZigBee. If you want your power company to MONITOR your home 24/7, then you are in luck. Don’t forget, this private information will be sold. Why do you think your power company spends BILLIONS of dollars and does not generate one watt of extra power to sell?

    • dingo

      I can make things up on the Internet, too. Do you have any factual research or evidence to support your 9 claims?

      • Susan

        Dingo, just curious why you don’t demand the same from Duke about their “factual evidence”? and what they give you…follow the money trail to who actually did any “study” or claims. This is corporate tyranny.

  3. dingo

    I did some “simple online searches” as Mr. Stivers suggested. I even used an alternative search engine (Duck Duck Go.)
    Wading past the obvious alarmist websites to find the actual science I learned:

    “Smart meters only transmit data for roughly 1.4 seconds per day, at very low wattage. And even if one stands less than one meter (3 feet) from a smart meter when it broadcasts its data, the resulting microwave exposure is 550 times less than standing in front of an active microwave oven, and 1100 times less than holding an active cell phone to one’s ear.”

    So, yeah, this ranks right up there with chem-trails and lizard people.

    • Big Al

      Chem Trails are real!!! Anyone who says otherwise is a slave of the lizard people!!!

    • Graces

      Most people find that their Smartmeters are firing every few minutes and even seconds. You need to get an RF meter reader to know the truth about that. Sure that fact you found might be what they say at the utility company, but the truth is in the meter readings, and they are not pretty!

  4. Pat Christy

    I’d like to add my comments to the mix. Back in 2014 I was given an IPhone. I immediately got headaches when I used the phone. Within a month I had violent headaches all the time and my hair started thinning on the side I held my IPhone. I knew I was suffering from radiation, but wanted to eliminate the possibility it was something else. So, I went to the doctor and got blood work to have my hormones tested. The results were normal. I turned in my phone the next day and my headaches disappeared 24 hours later.
    Here’s what I found out since: A 10-year 25 million dollar study from the National Institute of Environmental Health, the National Toxicology Program studies on the Toxicology and Carcingenicity of Cell Phone Radiation, plus the 2012 Bio Initiative reports: “non-ionizing radiation from radio frequencies shared by cell phone and smart meters produced increased rates of highly malignant very rare tumors: glioma of the brain and schwannomas of the heart” and more.

    Other independent studies revealed that blood samples examined from subjects exposed to a ‘Smart’ Meter at a distance of one foot for two minutes revealed a degradation of cells, mutation in micro-plasma, and trauma to cell membranes.

    Duke can say it’s safe, but here’s what’s really happening on the ground. I’ve spoken to several people who are suffering from radiation since their ‘Smart’ Meter has been installed. One older woman, whose health is compromised, said the day the new meter was installed she couldn’t understand why she had a host of ailments because she had opted out. She suffered from severe cognitive and physical problems like headaches, diarrhea, nausea, insomnia, dizziness, total disorientation, and pain in different parts of her body. Then she learned that although she opted out 4 of her neighbors hadn’t, AND all of the new ‘Smart’ Meters had been installed outside her bedroom wall. Long story, but she paid over $2,000 to hire eleEOS in Asheville to recondition the energy in her condo.
    Another woman experienced nausea and dizziness, but only in her living room where she has her office for her graphic business. She, also, discovered a row of her new meter and her neighbor’s ‘Smart’ Meters had just been installed outside her living room wall. She said she has to move.
    Another woman’s autistic child suddenly acted irritated and wild when exposed to too much microwave/radio wave radiation…I have many stories…
    So… some may feel that ‘Smart’ Meters are safe and are unaffected by it. But others are, indeed, affected. Combine the use of your cell phone, your computer, microwaves and other devices along with the new not-so-smart meters and your health is compromised. Combine that with 5G coming and we have a problem Houston.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.