Saturday, August 10, 2019

Lansing Board of Water and Light Smart Meters and Opt-Out Meters

An Inadequate Opt-Out: Get Involved!

The Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) has begun installing smart electric and smart water meters. BWL is Michigan’s third largest utility and the state’s largest municipally-owned utility. Because BWL is a municipal utility, they are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and get to set their own rules and regulations. The mayor appoints the BWL board, so this provides an opportunity for BWL customers to advocate for changes to the program. A Lansing-based group is organizing to advocate for changes to the current smart meter program. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Mitch Shapiro and Carol Patton.
The Board of Water and Light does not inform customers that there is an opt-out option, except on its website, which few people read. Currently, BWL is only allowing customers to opt out prior to the installation of a smart meter on their home, so it is imperative that you act now! Most other utilities allow customers to opt out at any time. Read more about this under Opt-Out Program on this page.

Honeywell Elster Smart Meter Being Installed by Lansing BWL
Sensus iPerl Smart Meter
 On this page:
  • Smart Meters
  • Opt-Out Program
  • What You Can Do
  • News Stories
  • Additional Information
Smart Meters
The Lansing Board of Water and Light is installing the Honeywell Elster smart meter on the homes and business of 97,000 customers. In addition, it is replacing 56,000 water meters with radiation-emitting Sensus iPerl smart water meters. BWL has contracted Tribus Services to do the installations.

BWL spouts the usual baloney about how smart meters are safe and environmentally sound on its page Smart Meter Installations. One thing we can give BWL credit for is that they are not beating around the bush about what they are installing. They straight up call them “smart meters,” rather than trying to evade the issue by calling them “advanced meters” or “AMI meters” or a “meter upgrade.”

However, the terms “radiofrequency radiation” and “wireless radiation” are not to be found on their website. They misleadingly tell their customers that the smart meters use “digital technology that enables us to read your meter remotely.” While it’s true that the meters use digital technology, the meters are read remotely because of the radiofrequency radiation they emit. That’s not digital; it’s wireless!

Here is a copy of the postcard BWL sends out informing you that smart meter are being installed.

Opt-Out Program

The opt-out meter BWL is installing is the Honeywell Elster smart meter with its radio transmitters (supposedly) disabled.

A BWL customer may opt-out only if a smart meter has not already been installed on their home.  Once a smart meter is installed, you are out of luck!  The BWL is out of step with the times. While most opt-outs across the country are inadequate in that they do not allow customers to have an analog meter on their home, nonetheless, most utilities do offer their customers the opportunity to opt out at any time. What happens to people who buy a home after a smart meter has been installed? What about people who don’t know about the opt-out program? The BWL is sending out postcards informing people of the smart meter installation and the opt-out, but a postcard amidst a plethora of junk mail is easy to overlook.

If you are a BWL customer, you need to lobby for an opt-out that can take place at any time. A Lansing-based group is organizing to advocate for changes to the current smart meter program. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Mitch Shapiro and Carol Patton.

The opt-out is not offered to commercial customers or multi-unit dwellings. That is typical, but BWL’s refusal to allow tenants, renters, or lessees to opt-out, even if they pay the electric bill, breaks from the precedent set by other utilities in Michigan.

The fee is $115 to opt out of the smart electric meter, and then a $10/month meter-reading fee. The fees for water meters and the electric and water meter combined can be found on the BWL opt-out page. You can fill out the form on that page to opt out.

You are strongly urged for health reasons to opt out of both the electric and water meters. Be aware that opting out of the smart electric meter will not protect you from dirty electricity because both the smart meter and the opt-out meter use digital technology that creates dirty electricity. You can effectively filter out dirty electricity. For information on a whole-house filter for dirty electricity that protects your health and your appliances, has helped many electrosensitive (EHS) people,  and does not generate a magnetic field, please contact Smart Meter Education Network director Linda Kurtz at 769-4241 (area code 734). Linda sells this filter at a very considerable discount.

What You Can Do

Flyer the heck out of your neighborhood! Let your neighbors know what is coming.

Group advocacy is very important. You can also advocate individually. Get involved with the Lansing group by contacting Mitch Shapiro and Carol Patton.  

Contact BWL by phone, mail, email or online to let them know how you think their opt-out program needs to be changed.  We suggest the following as a place to start:

  1. The opt-out program should remain available after the initial installation period ends.
  2. Customers should be allowed to keep their analog meters and have their upfront opt-out fee reduced accordingly, since no installation work will be required.
  3. Monthly opt-out fees should be reduced, especially for low-income households.
  4. As a city-owned utility not regulated by the MPSC, BWL should be more transparent in explaining to its customers the rationale for its opt-out restrictions and fees, and more proactive in seeking public input on these decisions before they are finalized.
News Stories

Additional Information

Leidos is managing the entire smart grid for Lansing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Cancer Rates Rising Among Young--Cell Phones

Young people are getting brain cancer, renal cancer, hepatic (liver) cancer, and thyroid cancer at increasing rates. Why? Well, think about where people keep their cell phone when not using it: around their kidneys and liver (and gonads--don't know if that was studied). And when talking--thyroid.

Among individuals under 20 years old in the USA after analyzing 2001–2014 US National Cancer statistics tumor data from 48 states (covering 98% of the US population).

Read more at the Environmental Health Trust.

5G Going into Hiding

Vodafone will hide Ericsson 4G/5G cell antennas under manhole covers

Now 5G can hit you harder--and be better hidden. Manhole covers will radiate wireless signals upwards from ground level. And go 650 feet, at least. Unlike small cell towers, manhole-based solutions apparently do not require permission from city planners.

Historically, wireless providers have preferred to mount cellular hardware well above ground level, as rooftop- or streetlight-level radio signals can travel further with less physical interference. But localities across the world have balked at letting “small cells” — the backpack-sized building blocks of 5G networks — flood public spaces, particularly at their standard 500-foot separation.

The other way to avoid small cells visible to the public is to use ellular hardware inside a barrel-shaped enclosure with a ruggedized top. Even at ground level, the enclosures can distribute the wireless signal across an over 650-foot radius, subject of course to the vagaries of vehicular interference.

The company’s “Zero Site” solution hides 5G hardware inside street lamps, enabling a neighborhood to improve both cellular reception and night time visibility without the need for conspicuous small cell hardware.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Listen to Many Experts at Wireless Technology Forum

Wireless Technology Forum
December 4, 2018 

State Senator Patrick Colbeck and others are bringing many experts in the field of wireless technology to Lansing, MI on December 4 for a 4-hour forum. The public is invited to attend. Please also ask your state legislators to go.  Here is the flyer for the event. We urge you to attend.

Don't forget that with regard to smart meters, dirty electricity is as much a health issue as the wireless radiation, perhaps more so, since the dirty electricity runs through your wiring. You can read more about dirty electricity on our Dirty Electricity and Smart Meters 101 pages.

Friday, March 30, 2018

How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe: A Special Investigation

How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe: A Special Investigation

The disinformation campaign—and massive radiation increase—behind the 5G rollout.

By Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie

The Nation is the oldest and one of the most respected newsweeklys in the country. This story is incredible, explosive, and is on its front cover. Please read it if you care about your health!
"The Nation investigation reveals that the wireless industry not only made the same moral choices that the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries did; it also borrowed from the same public-relations playbook those industries pioneered."

"As happened earlier with Big Tobacco and Big Oil, the wireless industry’s own scientists privately warned about the risks."

"The story underscores the need for caution . . . , particularly since it evokes eerie parallels with two of the most notorious cases of corporate deception on record: the campaigns by the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries to obscure the dangers of smoking and climate change."

SEND THIS TO YOUR STATE AND NATIONAL LEGISLATORS. Find some good quotes to get them reading more!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

AARP Makes Meter Choice One of Its Top 10 Legislative Priorites in Michigan

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) just announced that  passage of the Analog Meter Choice Bill, HB 4220, is one of its top ten priorities for 2018. The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Gary Glenn and would allow customers of Consumers Energy and DTE the freedom to have an analog meter, rather than a smart or digital meter, installed on their home, thus reducing health risks and privacy issues.

“Multiple overflow public hearings on this issue reveal a keen interest in affordable ways to opt out of smart meters, especially for senior citizens on severely limited budgets,” Glenn said. “It is very apparent that utility customers across the state, many of them retirees, have strongly-held concerns about the effect of smart meter technology."

The AARP brings tons of political clout to bear in Lansing, so this is very good news. But it does not ensure passage of the bill by any means. There are still two votes needed to get the Meter Choice Bill out of committee and onto the House floor. After that, it has to pass the Senate and then be signed by the governor.

This means that youyes, youneed to email or call every member of the House Energy Committee, the Senate Energy Committee, and your own state senator and representative. We make it easy for you to do with our copy-and-paste lists for House Energy, Senate Energy, and the whole House and whole Senate. Make sure when writing your own legislators that you let them know that you are their constituent. This matters!  Find your own representative and senator.

We urge you to write to AARP and thank them.

Glenn ‘smart meter’ bill is top 10 priority for AARP

 ABC 12: Michigan Legislature considering bill to ban fees for refusing a utility smart meter

House Energy Committee Emails

Emails for Michigan Senate Energy Committee