Pepco Meeting on Smart Meters and Greenbelt Upgrade

Smart Meters: Genius to Some, Insanity Say Others

Will Pepco's installation of smart meters emit radiation that gives some customers cancer. Or are the meters state-of-the-art mechanisms that will move Maryland into the 21st Century? Depends on who you talk to.

Greenbelters will get a chance to hear directly from Pepco on the matter Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room in the . Pepco will also discuss its plans to upgrade the electric system and reduce power outages in Greenbelt.

As for the smart meters, Nick Costen, Greenbelt resident and an aerospace contractor in Prince George’s County has been following the issue and is worried. He thinks the radiation emitted from smart meters may be dangerous.

He's especially concerned about the locations that have placed multiple meters against one wall. He said where he lives on the 59 court of Ridge Road, there are two units containing multiple power meters. One of the units contains around six meters and another has around four. He worried about the consequences to people who live in them.

But for its part, Pepco states on its website that the smart meters use the same frequency ranges as cellular or cordless phones, but at much lower power. In addition it states an individual meter is idle 99 percent of the time.

The problem with the smart meters is not just their radiation levels, it is the chronic continual nature of their transmissions, according to Kate Kheel, Vice President of Maryland Smart Meter Awareness. She referenced a video created by attorney Chris Turner at his house in Takoma that shows him trying to measure the transmissions from the Pepco smart meter.

"If what we see in this video is correct then the PEPCO Smart Meter is broadcasting thousands of times per day at very high levels," according to Turner.

Pepco went out to the site with its own measuring equipment last month, and clocked Turner's meter in at 170 microwatts, according to the Washington City Paper. “Even if the meter was transmitting 100 percent of the time, 24/7, this level is well below the safety limits,” Pepco engineer Mike Foster wrote in a follow-up email, according to the City Paper.

Though the risks of smart meters are being debated, there is little argument over the power the meters will place in consumers’ hands.

“It’s going from a biplane to a rocket ship,” Pepco spokesperson Mary Beth Hutchinson said, explaining that if an outage occurs, Pepco will be able to pinpoint it. In addition, when the full smart grid system is deployed, customers will see their real time usage. For example, she said if a customer turns off two lights, they will automatically know the difference of usage.

Smart meters will enable customers to control their appliances, set their heating and air conditioning, and see their exact power usage in real time, Hancock said. In addition, Pepco can keep much closer tabs on how much burden there is on the grid, according to Hutchinson.

But Costen is still concerned about the repercussions. The mantra should be “Do no harm,” he said, and not “Let’s just do it and see what happens," he said.

Adelphi Sky June 29, 2012 at 06:14 PM
This smart meter was started in CA. Why am I surprised? :-) At any rate, let's say that smart meters are producing radiation at the levels mentioned in these reports. How many of us stand in one place 24/7? For those of us who actually leave our homes on a daily basis, would this really matter? In addition, reports are so conflicting. I've watched a dozen videos on the subject and found stats on both sides of the argument. I'm not sure why people are against smart meters when there are microwaves, wireless phones, wireless internet, laptops with wireless cards, wireless media streaming devices, wireless game controllers, wireless TVs, cars have wireless devices, your beloved iPads, ereaders, wireless speakers, etc. etc. etc. I'm no fanboy of Pepco, but let's be real. I think people are picking an unfair fight. Go after the wireless industry as a whole if you feel all of it is dangerous. In the future, practically everything will be sending and receiving radio waves.
George Karadimas June 30, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Quite possible, your cellular reception be interrupted, as Smart meters transmit RF Pulsed radiation in a barraged fashion up the same frequency band as cell phones 900-928 Mhz. The Smart meter transmissions is interference to the cell phones.
George Karadimas June 30, 2012 at 11:31 AM
In the Future...machines will be communicating among themselves transmitting data and receiving repair and upgrade information. Humans will either be extinct, or a minor side show to technological progress
George Karadimas June 30, 2012 at 11:47 AM
European Environmental Agency statement on mobile phone cancer risk and non thermal effects and mechanisms http://www.buergerwelle.de:8080/helma/twoday/bwnews/stories/3986/ ‘The Precautionary Principle provides justification for public policy actions in situations of scientific complexity, uncertainty and ignorance, where there may be a need to act in order to avoid, or reduce, potentially serious or irreversible threats to health or the environment, using an appropriate strength of scientific evidence, and taking into account the pros and cons of action and inaction’ 'There are many examples of the failure to use the precautionary principle in the past, which have resulted in serious and often irreversible damage to health and environments. Appropriate, precautionary and proportionate actions taken now to avoid plausible and potentially serious threats to health from EMF are likely to be seen as prudent and wise from future perspectives”. Jacqueline McGlade, Sept 17th 2007, EEA website.
Traci M. Radice August 27, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Public Service Commission called an emergency hearing on Tues., Aug. 28th at 2pm to hear from the utilities as to their smart meter devices and their malfunctions, power surges, and fires. Any concerned citizen should plan to attend: William Donald Schaefer Tower 6 St. Paul St., 16th Floor Baltimore, MD 21202 File a dispute (410) 767-8000 MD Toll Free: 1-800-492-0474 TTY Users call via Maryland Relay 1-800-201-7165 Directions to the Commission http://webapp.psc.state.md.us/intranet/AboutUs/directions_new.cfm


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