Petition statement to be delivered to Attorney General Martha Coakley, Attorney General

Investigate Worcester MA Smart Meter Pilot Program

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Investigate Worcester MA Smart Meter Pilot Program

To be delivered to Attorney General Martha Coakley, Attorney General

Petition Statement

In the matter of National Grid,

We, the undersigned residents of Massachusetts, request that the Massachusetts Attorney General investigate the Worcester National Grid Smart Meter Pilot Program (renamed Smart Energy Solutions) and the DPU Working Group process that authorized the program.

FAULTY ENROLLMENT PROCESS / LACK OF INFORMED CONSENT / HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS / HUMAN EXPERIMENTATION WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT:

1. WHEREAS, individuals in positions of leadership and influence unethically enrolled Worcester residents in human experimentation without consultation, representation, compensation, protection, or full disclosure of program parameters; and

2. WHEREAS, Worcester residents have the right to sovereignty over their habitat and homes, as opposed to local government enrolling neighborhood environments as an experimental testing ground for unproven, inadequately regulated, and unmonitored technology, which has already resulted in harm to a portion of the population in other communities; and

3. WHEREAS, according to the Department of Energy Voices of Experience Report, participants in the Green2Growth Summit were “hand-picked” to present an image that the program was co-created with the community through the process of Appreciative Inquiry, while few residents may have known about the program or its long range implications; and

4. WHEREAS, participants receiving experimental smart meters were auto-enrolled rather than offered a formal opt-in process with full disclosure and informed consent; and

5. WHEREAS, enrollment materials may not have been translated into languages other than English to insure informed consent and understanding of all residents; and

6. WHEREAS, enrollment materials did not disclose the full magnitude of the pilot program, which included the installation of 242 WiMax antennas and additional wireless infrastructure and microwave towers in residential neighborhoods, for a pilot program experiment; and

7. WHEREAS, Worcester residents were not invited to participate in the October 2013 grand opening of the Sustainability Hub, which instead served as a photo opportunity for area politicians and power brokers in the community; and

8. WHEREAS, the existence of and locations of “neighborhood repeater meters” and infrastructure that poses higher levels of radiofrequency exposure has not been divulged to residents; and

9. WHEREAS, 5000 Itron smart meters were covertly installed before the pilot was formally approved; and

10. WHEREAS residents’ and consumer advocates concerns and complaints have been minimized and ignored by local government, including City Council delayed orders for health data, ignored request for formation of a citizen’s advisory committee, ignored requests for a public hearing, ignored requests for advocacy concerning adverse health complaints, and ignored requests for scrutiny of auto-enrollment process; and

11. WHEREAS, the Worcester Pilot Program included an extensive pre-pilot education budget, while no evidence has been provided that residents learned about the pilot in advance of the meters being deployed, or have received accurate information about the scope of the program; and

HEALTH CONCERNS:

12. WHEREAS, according to public health expert Elihu D Richter MD, MPH, “Were these population-wide exposures to smart meters to be part of a project carried out in a medical setting, to test the risks and benefits of a new technology on human health and well being, it would be rejected by a Medical Institutional Review Board on ethical grounds as an unethical exercise in human experimentation;” and

13. WHEREAS, the microwave radiofrequency powering the grid and mesh network exposes the Worcester community to a class 2B human carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization, without the knowledge, consent, consideration, or protection of residents; and

14. WHEREAS, the radiofrequency exposure limits in countries including Russia, China, India, and most of Europe are significantly lower than those in the pro-military Western Alliance countries (US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia); and

15. WHEREAS, the City of Worcester, National Grid and its vendors, while focusing only on technology and equipment, provide no monitoring of health and environmental impacts; and

16. WHEREAS, no provision is in place to provide services for residents who experience adverse health impacts, despite reports of harm in other deployed communities, indicating that the expense will be cost-shifted to the social sector; and

17. WHEREAS, citizens may make the faulty assumption that smart meters have been proven safe if the installation has been approved by authorities in whom they trust, including elected officials, and may not recognize that adverse health reactions may be resulting due to increased exposure to pulsed microwave radiofrequencies; and

18. WHEREAS, health care providers have not been informed that smart meters may be contributing to deleterious health impacts, and may not be adequately trained to recognize microwave illness, leading to expensive, invasive, ineffective testing and treatment; and

19. WHEREAS, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, in a letter to the California Utilities Commission, called for an immediate moratorium on smart meter installation, based on evidence demonstrating the correlation between smart meter emission and adverse health effects, Including the onset of electromagnetic hypersensitivity; and

20. WHEREAS, many research studies show adverse biological effects from pulsed microwave radiofrequencies, at levels far below the Federal Communications Commission Limits; and

21. WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission guidelines are based on outdated research established before proliferation of Wi-Fi and cellphones (1996), while research in other countries has found evidence of harm; and

22. WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission guidelines are based on limited exposure for male adult military personal, and not applicable for women, children, or fetuses for chronic long term low level exposures; and

23. WHEREAS, studies have shown damage from this type of radiation to the environment resulting in biological effects in plants, trees, animals, and insects, including birth defects and fertility problems in cattle; and

24. WHEREAS, radio/microwave frequencies are not confined to specific households or buildings, but rather affect any objects or people in their path, as the pass through most known substances, exposing any person in the area to radiation without consent; and

25. WHEREAS, the pro-industry health and safety information on the National Grid website does not adequately reflect international consensus, concern, or emerging science regarding microwave radiofrequency exposure, and is therefore biased and misleading; and

26. WHEREAS, the Worcester Health Department’s report on the possible adverse impacts of microwave radiofrequency exposure due to smart meters is misleading, inaccurate, and based on outdated data; and

27. WHEREAS, despite residents informing Worcester’s City Council that the Health Report was faulty, Worcester’s administration publically assured residents that health concerns regarding smart meters are without merit; and

28. WHEREAS, a paid local industry spokesperson with no health credentials has been utilized on the radio, television, in print media by National Grid, and in the Worcester Health Report, to erroneously convince Worcester residents that he believes smart meters are safe; and

29. WHEREAS, no effort was made by the City of Worcester, National Grid, or the DPU to identify and notify medically vulnerable residents whose conditions may be intensified by chronic exposure to pulsed radiofrequencies, including those with pacemakers, compromised immune systems, neurological conditions, MS, ALS, etc. thereby potentially endangering their health; and

30. WHEREAS, both National Grid and the City of Worcester publically recognized the plight of electromagnetically hypersensitive residents, but intend to move forward with the Worcester Pilot program with no accommodation, thereby intensifying the stressors in the environment and potentially robbing sufferers of their habitat due to the equivalent of torture; and

31. WHEREAS, National Grid has indicated that it is accommodating “those who have concerns, for whatever reason” by offering the opt out provision, while the opt out does not adequately protect residents from the radiofrequencies, which requires shielding of the home, or relocation; and

32. WHEREAS, the program has the potential to pit one neighbor’s desire to utilize wireless utility technology against the health concerns of another neighbor, especially in multi-family dwellings; and

33. WHEREAS, no mechanism is in place to independently monitor radiofrequency exposures, for example with meters to measure the specific frequencies and power densities; and

34. WHEREAS, although the burden of proof is on the DPU to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of electricity, rather than on residents to provide evidence of harm after the fact, no such proof exists; and

COST CONCERNS

35. WHEREAS, contrary to promotional advertising, studies show that wireless smart meter mesh networks consume significant amounts of electricity; and

36. WHEREAS, the World Health Organization has categorized radiofrequency microwaves such as those emitted by smart meters as a Class 2B human carcinogen, and should this classification be upgraded, all smart meters will have to be replaced; and

37. WHEREAS, National Grid indicated that they will save money by constructing their own communications network and not having to pay the telecom company, and that they will pass savings along to customers, while bills have increased in deployed areas; and

38. WHEREAS, Worcester residents have been told that the meters are “free,” despite the fact that they cost ratepayers $48M; and

39. WHEREAS, unresolved security (terrorism, hacking) and safety issues and future health liabilities will lead to cost increases which will be borne by the public; and

MISINFORMATION CONCERNS

40. WHEREAS, in addition to misleading assurances regarding the health impacts of radiofrequency exposures due to smart meter installations, consumers were misled by a claim that the meters read data in 15 minute increments; and

41. WHEREAS, consumers were misled by statements by National Grid employees that the meters “only operate outside” while the meters are designed to communicate with micro-chipped appliances inside the home, and the radiofrequencies from the second transmitter can infiltrate the living quarters because the meters are not shielded; and

42. WHEREAS, consumers were misled by statements that the meters only operate for a very short period of time per day (duty cycle) instead of disclosing the frequency of microbursts of the mesh network, which result in continual 24/7/365 exposure to pulsed microwave radiation; and

43. WHEREAS, consumers were misled by statements that the microwave towers are required because the power level that National Grid is using is “so low”, when Bill Jones of National Grid presented a workshop indicating that the powerful bandwidth will be monetized (sold) in the future (powerful network has been likened to using a cannon to shoot a mosquito, and is not low powered, but far exceeds what is necessary to transmit usage and billing data)

44. WHEREAS, Massachusetts residents have been misled by National Grid’s claim that it offers a free opt out because it supports customer choice, while having already filed DPU docket 13-83 proposing extortive opt-out fees; and

45. WHEREAS, National Grid has inaccurately indicated that the smart meters will improve storm response; and

46. WHEREAS, National Grid has inaccurately indicated that smart meters help the integration of renewables into the grid; and

47. WHEREAS, misleading comparisons between smart meters and common household devices including cellphones and microwave ovens are posted on the National Grid website and distributed in the City of Worcester, and have not been corrected despite clarification by local consumer advocates; and

48. WHEREAS, National Grid indicated that the states of California and Texas conducted “health studies” implying that smart meters are safe, while no such studies exist; and

49. WHEREAS, National Grid has dismissively referred to the outreach by informed advocates about cost, safety, security, green-washing, and privacy of smart meters as “misinformation out there,” including a neighborhood survey; and

50. Whereas the health information contained in DPU docket 12-76 is outdated, inaccurate, and misleading; and

SECURITY AND PRIVACY CONCERNS

51. WHEREAS, homes and businesses in Worcester were selected to test the use of smart meters, which are devices that track and record details of customers’ energy usage and automatically transmit the information to the utility provider using wireless frequencies; while collection of personal data was not divulged, and the ownership of usage data and privacy issues have not been resolved; and

52. WHEREAS, smart meters relay previously undisclosed data reflecting power usage without adequately protecting this potentially sensitive information; accordingly, this data ay be accessed by unauthorized persons or entities and could result in intrusion into customer’s privacy rights and security interests; and

53. WHEREAS, the remote shut off capacity in the meter introduces vulnerabilities for the home’s electricity supply; and

54. WHEREAS, concerns pertaining to the vulnerability of smart gird technology to hacking and cyber terrorism have ben raised by some security officials and industry experts; and

MISTREATMENT/LACK OF CONSIDERATION OF WORCESTER RESIDENTS

55. WHEREAS, Zoning Board Meetings for the placement of a microwave tower in a residential neighborhood have been delayed 9 times, sometimes at the last minute, while area residents made arrangements numerous times to return from vacation, leave work early, cancel clients, etc., in order to attend; and

56. WHEREAS, National Grid probably could have notified residents more pro-actively, if it did not have the data in hand that was required for the meeting; and

57. WHEREAS, National Grid ignored sound complaints at the Tory Fort substation; and


58. WHEREAS, the Tory Fort substation is in violation of sound ordinances and nuisance ordinances, and due to inadequate engineering for environmental considerations will require the installation of additional infrastructure including sound walls, the costs of which will be passed along to ratepayers;

59. WHEREAS, National Grid was not a good neighbor and did not adequately maintain the Tory Fort Substation; and

60. WHEREAS, homeowners may experience decreased property values due to alteration of the neighborhood environment by installation of wireless infrastructure, with no appropriate consumer protections in place; and

IN CONCLUSION, because the DPU working group’s process has focused on infrastructure and economics, and excluded the misery index and true cost of smart metering for citizens, and has not evolved to address problems arising from other smart meter programs across the country, the Attorney General is in a unique position to ensure that no further installation of wireless utility infrastructure takes place in Worcester or in the state of Massachusetts in a manner that diminishes the quality of life for residents, or endangers the health of the citizens, until the program can be independently re-evaluated.

This citizen petition calls for an immediate moratorium on the installation and promotion of smart meters by public and private agencies until smart meters are proven safe for public health and the nature environment, the economy, and the security of the community. We, the undersigned, respectfully request that the Office of the Attorney General, as the ratepayer’s advocate, investigate the Worcester National Grid Smart Meter Pilot Program.
There are currently 557 signatures. NEW goal - We need 750 signatures!

Petition Background

The Worcester National Grid Smart Meter Pilot program exposes the community to unprecedented risks in violation of local democracy.

Current petition signers

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