From SWORT — SW Ohio for Responsible Technology

SWORT (SW Ohio for Responsible Technology) is spearheading an effort to get utility meter choice legislation introduced so that Ohioans may refuse smart and digital electric, gas, and water meters, have traditional analog meters instead, and not be required to pay excessive “opt-out” fees. State Representative Sedrick Denson has offered to introduce legislation if SWORT can get enough letters of support. In the meantime, smart and digital meters continue to be deployed throughout the state by utility providers. While some providers have been allowing consumers to pay fees to “opt-out” of smart meters, others are not. Of course, not all Ohioans can afford “opt out” fees which has also created problems including for consumers with medical statements.

The City of Toledo started deploying smart water meters in 2023 but does not offer an “opt out” program. Since then there has been ongoing media coverage of opposition as well as property damage caused by installation (1, 2, 3). Council member, Cerssandra McPherson has voted “no” against every smart water meter proposal since 2020. The city has allocated millions of dollars to repair property damaged caused by installation. As of March 18, 2024, there had been 1244 water disconnections.

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In a recently published article about the Toledo deployment, electrical engineer and smart meter expert, William (Bill) Bathgate explained their risks:

According to Bathgate, the devices are often installed in basements, which most families, including Allan’s, have remodeled to become family spaces. These devices radiate in excess of 2 watts and radiate frequently.

It’s much stronger than a cell phone, about eight times stronger,” Bathgate said. “Cancer, anxiety, tinnitus is the biggest problem. People hear crickets in the ears. There is no safe space you can get away from it. It’s atrocious. The signal reaches around 1400 feet. Municipalities don’t care at all because they think they are saving money by getting rid of the meter readers.”

According to Bathgate, the issue is far more pronounced though. Municipalities and public utilities actually get a cut from the profits of the devices used and the method in which they function is designed to generate far more revenue than standard manual meters.

In 2020, Dr. David Carpenter gave a video presentation about smart meter radiation exposure health risks to WSSC Water, the water and wastewater utility provider to Montgomery and Prince George counties, MD. In 2017, he and two other doctors submitted a letter to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) that asked there be no fees charge to Ohioans who want to “opt out” of smart meters.

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For more information on sending a letter of support for utility meter choice legislation to Representative Denson, send an email to [email protected] and join SWORT on Facebook

SWORT is a non-partisan/non-political group with members throughout Ohio. We oppose privacy invasive and unsafe technology being installed without our knowledge or consent.

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