Two vocal opponents of Naperville’s initiative to install wireless electric meters on homes were arrested after interfering with the installation process, according to city officials.
[T]he Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group has expressed concerns over whether the wireless meters will affect health, security and privacy. The group has a federal lawsuit pending against the city.
Malia “Kim” Bendis of the 2200 block of Mercer Court was charged with two misdemeanors — attempted eavesdropping and resisting a peace officer.
Jennifer Stahl of the 1400 block of Westglen Drive, received two ordinance violation citations — interfering with a police officer and preventing access to customer premises.
The city, which has repeatedly declared the wireless meters to be safe, offers a non-wireless alternative meter to residents with concerns. There is a $68.35 initial fee for a non-wireless meter plus a $24.75 monthly fee for manually reading it. Stahl said residents who want a non-wireless meter should not have to pay for it, and said she represents other homeowners who were not able to continue to refuse the wireless meter installation.
The Smart Meter Awareness Group cites personal anecdotes about people claiming to become sick from smart meters. They also feel the smart grid poses privacy risks.
Here are the facts. There has been NO study that shows there is a health problem. Advocates against these smart meters disregard those studies and insist there IS a risk. How do they account for the fact that we are SURROUNDED by radio frequencies all the time, smart meters or not? Do they live without televisions, computers, cell phones, wifi and indoor lighting? If they fear the meters, why don’t they fear the electricity itself? It’s all around them.
Electricity isn’t a right. Many people live without it. Also, it’s not free. There is a cost of generating and transmission. Because we must burn fossil fuels to create it, environmental laws constrain its generation and require wise management.Hence, smart meters. There certainly may be valid concerns about this new technology but the current conflagration about them isn’t a productive way to address it.
Protestors demands to “free my electricity” is bogus. It’s not yours. You buy it. Utilities are not quite like other consumer products which is why they are heavily regulated. But latching on to unsupported ideas about health scares and manufacturing paranoia is irresponsible and results in a waste of public resources through these civil actions and lawsuits.
The homeowners were given a choice to install different meters. They could also chose to move or use generators instead. They have no grounds to stand on with their current claims. However, arrest? Not a good move. The electric companies have not been persuasive and now have to bring out the hammer. There are better ways to approach the concern over smart meters. Neither side in this area has done a good job.