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This page has now been re-organised into categories to help facilitate rapid access to information of interest.

 

The categories  are as follows:

 

Health FAQs …including sources of reliable information on how microwave radiation produced by smart meters and other devices may affect your health and links to information about smart meters and fires

 

Financial FAQs …including how smart meters may affect your bills

 

Legal FAQs …including your rights regarding smart meters

 

Technical FAQs …including how to recognise a smart meter and how much radiation is produced by different types of smart meters on the NZ market and also what is a HAN and what is a ZigBee .

 

Privacy FAQs …information about how smart meters affect your privacy

 

Other FAQs … Covering other information of interest such as how you can help with the campaign and the great smart meter documentary Take Back Your Power

 

A reminder: There is now a Facebook page you can visit for updates:

https://www.facebook.com/Stop-Smart-Meters-NZ-1211462805538548/

 

Please scroll down through this page to locate the FAQ section of interest…

 

Health FAQS

Q: My electricity company says that “smart meters” (also called “advanced meters”) are safe.  Are they correct?

 A: Government and industry claims that “smart meters” are safe are based on the fact that their emissions are below the “safety standards” for non-ionising radiation.  (The standard that pertains to “smart meters” is NS: 2772.1: 1999.)  This standards is designed to protect only against tissue heating and shocks and is based on the assumption that radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in the microwave range radiation is harmless unless it is sufficiently strong to heat body tissues.  However, there is substantial  research that shows that exposure to microwave radiation can have health impacts at levels that are far lower than those necessary to heat body tissues. (A discussion of these issues may be read at this link http://www.whale.to/b/cherry3.html )

However, to date, the standard has not been revised to take this research into account. As long as the “safety standards” remain based on an outdated information, government and industry assurances of “safety” cannot be replied upon.

 

Q: Where can I find useful information about the effects about how radiofrequency radiation (RFR) – such as is produced by “smart meters” – and health?

The BioInitiative website created by am international team of scientists http://www.bioinitiative.org/ is a good source of information on RFR.

 

Q: What health effects are associated with “smart meters”?

A: People have reported a variety of symptoms after installation of “smart meters” in their homes – or in the neighbourhood in which they live.  These include headaches, palpitations, ringing in the ears, fatigue and other symptoms.  In some cases, these reactions can be disabling and prevent people from working or enjoying a normal life.  For some examples of symptoms reported by people, please visit this link http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=2292 )

A formal study of the symptoms reported by people after “smart meter” installations founds that common symptoms  included sleeping problems, difficulty concentrating, tinnitus and  heart palpitations. See: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/survey-of-people-adversely-affected-by-smart-meters/

These symptoms have also been reported to www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz by New Zealanders who have been adversely affected following the installation of a “smart meter”.

 

Q:  Do “smart meters” have any particular risks for children’s health and development?

A:  This is unclear at this point; “smart meters” have not been in use for very long.  However, a small pilot study has shown that the level of microwave radiation to which a pregnant woman is exposed may have an effect on the development of the unborn child, with high levels of microwave radiation in the mothers’ sleeping areas being associated with neurological problems (including autism spectrum disorders) in their children.  These women were also exposed to high electric fields and there may have been some synergy between the two exposures.

http://electromagnetichealth.org/media-stories/

 

Q:  I have developed new symptoms since a “smart meter” was installed in my home.  Can the level of microwave radiation in my home be tested?

 A: Yes. There are providers of testing services in NZ.  These are listed on the Recommended Websites page of this site at this link http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/recommended-websites/.

 

Q: Is there any way of shielding a “smart meter” to protect my family and myself from the microwave radiation?

A: Some people have wrapped their meter box in aluminum foil.  (NB: If you want to do this, we suggest you obtain advice from an electrician first.  DO NOT apply any sort of metal inside the meter box as this  risks electrocution.)  Covering a meter box with foil can substantially reduce the microwave radiation emissions but may not stop them from entering the house through the wall.  The wall that the smart meter is situated on can be painted with shielding paint on the inside of the house and shielding curtains or window film can be applied to significantly reduce the microwave radiation in the home.  Once the shielding paint has been applied it can be painted or wall papered over to redecorate the room. A qualified EMF testing consultant or a reputable test device is required to verify the effectiveness of any shielding. (See the Recommended Websites page of this site for links to EMF testing services).

NB:  There is a risk in shielding jut the wall on which a “smart meter” is instlled n that the foil and/or shielding paint may reflect back other sources of radiofrequency  radiation (RFR) in the home, such as RFR from nearby wi-fi routers, DECT cordless phones, cell phone towers etc, hence testing is recommended to make sure shielding actually reduces the RFR exposure in a home.

Another factor to take into account regarding shielding is that in reflecting the RFR away from your own home you may be increasing your neighbours’ exposure.  For this reason it is best to have the “smart meter” removed and replaced with an anlogue meter, or for the transmission chip (also called a transmission modem or “network interface card”) to be removed from the “smart meter” so that the meter no longer produces RFR.

 

Q: I am living in an apartment and the “smart meters” for the building have been installed on a wall adjacent to my bedroom. Is there any way of shielding my sleeping area from the microwave radiation?

 A: A bed should never be located adjacent to a conventional analogue power meter or a “smart meter”.  Even analogue meters can produce substantial magnetic and electric fields that may be harmful to health.  As a general rule a bed should be located at least one metre away from even an analogue meter;  ideally testing of bedrooms is advisable if there is an analogue meter or “smart meter” on a bedroom wall.

 Some people have wrapped their meter box in aluminum foil. (NB: If you want to do this, we suggest you obtain advice from an electrician first.  DO NOT apply any sort of metal inside the meter box as this  risks electrocution.)   Shielding a “smart meter” can substantially reduce the microwave radiation emissions but may not stop them from entering the house or adjacent room through the wall.  The wall that the smart meter is situated on can be painted with shielding paint on the inside of the house and shielding curtains or window film can be applied to significantly reduce the microwave radiation in the home.  Once the shielding paint has been applied it can be painted or wall papered over to redecorate the room. A qualified EMF testing consultant or a reputable test device is required to verify the effectiveness of any shielding. (See the Recommended Websites page of this site for links to EMF testing services).

NB:  There is a risk in shielding jut the wall on which a “smart meter” is installed n that the foil and/or shielding paint may reflect back other sources of radiofrequency  radiation (RFR) in the home, such as RFR from nearby wi-fi routers, DECT cordless phones, cell phone towers etc, hence testing is recommended to make sure shielding actually reduces the RFR exposure in a home.

Another factor to take into account regarding shielding is that in reflecting the RFR away from your own home you may be increasing your neighbours’ exposure.  For this reason it is best to have the “smart meter” removed and replaced with an analogue (Ferraris) meter, or for the transmission chip (also called a transmission modem or “network interface card”) to be removed from the “smart meter” so that the meter no longer produces RFR.

 

Q: What is electrosensitivity (or electrohypersensitivity) and how is it diagnosed?

People who have electrosensitivity (often abbreviated to ES) are more sensitive than most people to electromagnetic radiation (EMR)  – from “smart meters” and other sources of non-ionising radiation such as computer screens, TVs, cell phones, cordless phones, electric hair dryers, household wiring etc

Exposure to EMR for these people may result in a variety of symptoms, including headaches, insomnia, fatigue, muscle aches, memory problems, and alterations in moods including irritability, depression and anxiety attacks.

http://www.es-uk.info/info/recognising.asp

These problems are not necessarily due to EMR exposure, so anyone with these symptoms should consult their doctor to determine the cause.  If the problem is due to EMR exposure, the symptoms should subside when the person is not exposed to EMR.  Many doctors do not recognise ES and may treat a patient as if they are having a psychological problem (as this is what they have been taught as part of their training) and try to give a range of drugs to alleviate the symptoms.  If you are concerned that you are possibly ES then consider finding a sympathetic doctor or healer and get your home and possibly your work place checked for electro-pollution from a qualified testing consultant.

Guidelines of the Austrian Medical Association’s information for physicians on the diagnosis and treatment of people with ES may be found at this link http://www.magdahavas.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Austrian-EMF-Guidelines-2012.pdf

 

Q: How do “smart meters” affect people with electrosensitivity?

The microwave radiation emitted by “smart meters” can intensify existing symptoms for people who already suffer from electrosensitivity, making them extremely ill.  This can occur from exposure to the microwave radiation from meters on neighbours’ homes.  if your neighbour asks you to get your smart meter removed because it is causing them to become ill, please take their concerns seriously and accomodate their request.

 

Q: I have been told that all microwave radiation devices such as “smart meters” meet NZ safety standards so I should not be concerned about possible adverse health effects.  Is this correct?

 A: NZ’s “safety standards” for devices that emit microwave radiation are based on the assumption that microwave radiation is harmless unless it is sufficiently strong to heat body tissues.  However, research shows that exposure to microwave radiation can have health impacts at levels that are far lower than that necessary to heat tissues.  However, to date, the NZ National Radiation Laboratory has not revised its safety standards to take this research into account.  In 2011, this new research led to the classification non-ionising radiation in the radiofrequency spectrum (including the microwave radiation emitted by “smart meters” as a possible “class 2B” possible human carcinogen. http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/iarc-rf-carc/ For more information on the potential health effects of “smart meters” and microwave radiation please go to this link link http://www.magdahavas.com/havas-report-on-smart-meters-for-ccst/

 

Q: Is microwave radiation the only potential health hazard from “smart meters”?

 A: Unfortunately, probably not. Virtually every electrical device on the market today has a switch mode power supply incorporated within it to chop and convert the 240 volt AC (alternating current) to the required voltage and current type.  (For instance, a computer power supply converts the AC supply to 12 or 5 volts DC (direct current) to power the cooling fans, motherboard etc.)

However, there is a consequence when this is done electronically; high frequency harmonics and transients (spikes) are created.  This problem is fully recognised by the regulatory bodies and is the subject of ever increasing regulation – but many electrical devices still produce significant amounts of “dirty electricity”.

This electro-pollution travels through the whole wiring in the building and has been measured to radiate out over two meters from electrical wiring.  This very dissonant EMR (electromagnetic radiation) is a possible cancer risk. (See this page for more information:  http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/health-issues/)

 

Q: I have been told that all microwave radiation devices such as “smart meters” meet NZ safety standards so I should not be concerned about possible adverse health effects.  Is this correct?

 A: NZ’s “safety standards” for devices that emit microwave radiation are based on the assumption that microwave radiation is harmless unless it is sufficiently strong to heat body tissues.  However, research shows that exposure to microwave radiation can have health impacts at levels that are far lower than that necessary to heat tissues.  However, to date, the NZ National Radiation Laboratory has not revised its safety standards to take this research into account.  In 2011, this new research led to the classification non-ionising radiation in the radiofrequency spectrum (including the microwave radiation emitted by “smart meters” as a possible “class 2B” possible human carcinogen. http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/iarc-rf-carc/ For more information on the potential health effects of “smart meters” and microwave radiation please go to this link link http://www.magdahavas.com/havas-report-on-smart-meters-for-ccst/

 

 Q: Are there any other sources of microwave radiation (or other electromagnetic radiation) that may cause adverse health effects?

A: Yes, mobile phones and phone masts expose users (and people living in the coverage area) to microwave radiation. Cordless home phones also use radio frequency radiation, as do other wireless devices that many people have in their homes such as baby monitors.  Wi-Fi internet connections also expose people in the vicinity (the fields may extend beyond your home into your neighbours’ home) to electromagnetic radiation that may have harmful effects on health. Microwave radiation is only one of the four types of electro-pollution.  For a healthy home or work environment all forms of electro-pollution should be tested for, this includes microwave radiation, electric and magnetic fields and dirty electricity.  (Providers of electropollution testing services may be found at the Recommended Websites page of this site.)  Basic advice about how to reduce your exposure to EMR may be found at this link: http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/childrens-health-and-development/how-to-reduce-your-exposure-to-emr/

 

Q:  Someone told me that “smart meters” can be a fire hazard.  Is this true?

Here is what www.stopsmartmeters.com.au has to say about the fire risk from “smart meters”.

“There are also concerns that the high frequencies transmitted by smart meters may couple on to household wiring, given the close proximity to conductive wiring.  Sage and Biergiel stated in a paper that household wiring is simply not designed to carry the high frequency harmonics generated by ‘very short, very high intensity wireless emissions’.  The higher frequency means higher energy, equating to higher heat, which could lead to a fire situation if there is compromised wiring at any point within a house (Sage & Biergiel 2010).  The large number of anecdotal reports attesting to burnt out dishwashers etcetera, would suggest that high frequencies are indeed travelling along household wiring following the introduction of a smart meter, in some instances.”

See: http://stopsmartmeters.com.au/2011/10/28/smart-meters-in-victoria-information-and-concerns/

There are also reports of “smart meters” themselves catching fire themselves and causing fires in Australian homes.

http://stopsmartmeters.com.au/2012/05/11/smart-meter-linked-to-house-fire-geelong/

http://stopsmartmeters.com.au/2012/05/19/northcote-fire-questions-safety-of-smart-meters-emergency-services/

Smart meter related fires have also been reported in NZ but it is not clear how common a problem this is currently; see this link for details:  http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/are-smart-meters-causing-fires-in-new-zealand/

 

Financial FAQs

 

Q: Even though I have not changed my electricity usage, my electricity bill has increased significantly since my electricity company installed a “smart meter”. Is this a common occurrence?

A: “If the experience in Australia is anything to go by, “smart meters” are associated with increased consumer complaints concerning billing errors.

According to www.stopsmartmeters.com.au:

“The introduction of AMI technology has led to a surge in billing errors being reported. The Energy and Water Ombudsman stated that it opened 648 cases between 1 May 2010 and 31 May 2011 related to higher than expected bills following installation of a smart meter (Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria 2011, p. 3).  The upward trend in cases was expected to continue to escalate.  Errors reported by the media include overbilling due to what are believed to be serious systemic issues (Thomas, 2011), bills soaring by many hundreds or even thousands of dollars due to faults, and moderate increases which are being blamed on either previous underestimation by analogue meters, or the ability of smart meters to detect wider parameters of electrical usage. “

http://stopsmartmeters.com.au/2011/10/28/smart-meters-in-victoria-information-and-concerns/

Initial reports (personal communications) suggest that smart meter installations also lead to higher bills for many NZers.

 

Q:  What is Time of Use (ToU) Pricing and how could it affect me?

Smart meters (and any other electronic meter that can store data in regular intervals – a 30 minute interval is a common time unit used) can be used to introduce Time of Use pricing.  This is not yet common in NZ but in ToU pricing electricity companies may choose to charge more for electricity when it is most needed.  This can cause an increase in bills with no change in consumption.

Please see this link for further details:

http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/the-advantages-of-smart-meters/

 

 

Legal FAQs

 

Q:  My electricity company told me that it is  compulsory to have a “smart meter” .  Is this correct?

 A: No.  While it appears that some electricity company employees or contractors have been telling customers that “smart meters” are compulsory, this is NOT true. There is no law or regulation in NZ that compels anyone to accept a “smart meter”. However, meters in NZ should have current certification and many companies are using this as an excuse to try to get customers to accept smart meters.

Please see this link for further details about the April 1 2015 meter certification deadline:    http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/april-1-deadline-for-electricity-meter-certification/

Please see this link for ideas on how to proceed if you do not want a smart meter: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/how-to-avoid-getting-a-smart-meter/

 

Q: My electricity company has send me a letter stating that they want to replace my existing electromechanical meter with a “smart meter (or “advanced meter”)  What are my options if I don’t want a “smart meter”?

A: Write to your electric company by registered mail and tell them that you refuse to get a “smart meter”. Send the letter by registered mail and request a reply confirming that the company (or its contractors) will not install a  “smart meter” in or on your home.  (You can download a template letter at this link http://takebackyourpower.net/new-documents-to-prevent-smart-meter-install/. Do not rely on informing company and asking for your account to be annotated to this effect, as such requests may be ignored and a technician sent to install one regardless of your wishes.

If your meter is on the exterior of your home, you may like to follow the example of many people in Australia in NZ who have built lockable cabinets around their electricity meter (or padlocked the existing cabinet) to prevent unauthorised access. (These have a window made from glass or perspex to allow a meter reader to read the meter.)  Some people may also want to print and laminate and affix a notice to this cabinet stating that you refuse permission for a smart meter to be installed.

At least one NZ electricity company has removed customers’  analogue meters and replaced them with smart meters without getting the customers’ permission (or notifying the owner of the building), so it is strongly recommended to  take steps now to secure outdoor electricity meter cabinets if you do not want a “smart meter”.   See this link for details:  http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/how-to-avoid-getting-a-smart-meter/

 

Technical FAQs

 

Q:  How can I tell whether my electricity  meter is an analogue meter or a “smart” or “advanced” meter?

A: An analogue meter is an electro-mechanical device.  (This type of meter is also known as a “Ferraris” meter.)   If you look at it you will be able to see a metal disc rotating inside, either slowly or more rapidly depending on how many electrical appliances you have running.

A “smart meter” is an electronic meter and has an LCD display.  However, there are also new electronic meters that are not smart meters such as the Actaris SMO.

There are examples  of different types of meters on the Photos section of this site at this link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/photos-of-electricity-meters

 

Q:  What are the different types of smart meters on the NZ market?

There are a number of different varieties of smart meters on the NZ market.  They include EDMI smart meters, such as EDMI Mk7A, EDMI Mk7C and EDMI( Mk7D.

Other smart meter types include Elster brand meters such as the Elster gREX meter.

There are also Landis+Gyr smart meters such as a Landis+Gyr E350 series smart meters which are being installed by Network Tasman Ltd., Counties Power and some other companies in the  SmartCo consortium.

The  Landis+Gyr E350 series smart meters can be teamed up with a “silver springs” brand communications package that includes a ZigBee chip.  (A ZigBee chip is explained further down this page.)

 

Q: Is a GloBug prepay meter a smart meter?

A: A “GloBug” is a device that communicates wirelessly and is used in conjunction with a smart meter.  (There are some other types of prepay power meters on the NZ market that are no wireless but they are in the process of being replaced with wireless prepay meters such as the GloBug system.)

More information about the GloBug may be found at this link: www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/do-you-have-a-globug-prepay-power-system/

 

Q: How much microwave radiation is produced by different types of smart meters on the NZ market?

A:  The following links have information about the different types of smart meters on the NZ market and how much microwave radiation they produce:

http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/is-the-wel-smart-box-a-health-hazard/

 http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/how-much-radiation-does-the-smart-meter-at-your-home-produce/

http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/does-the-modem-for-this-smart-meter-produce-more-radiation-than-is-legal-in-nz/

Another type of meter (it looks from the photo to be an Elster gREX smart meter) was measured as producing 1,360,000 microwatts per square metre.

See:  http://www.organicnz.org.nz/node/501

 

Q: What is a  HAN?

HAN is an acronym that stands for Home Area Network. Eventually it is hoped that people will replace existing appliances with “smart appliances” which will be linked up in Home Area Networks and communicate with either a HAN-capable “smart meter” or possibly a “smart phone” or computer.  (See:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/5482169/200m-plan-rekindles-debate-over-smart-meters )

These HAN networks have the potential to increase the amount of EMR to which people are exposed in their own homes.

 

Q:  What is a ZigBee chip?

A ZigBee chip or ZigBee unit  is the name given to another microwave (RFR) emitting device in a “smart meter” which is designed to allow the “smart meter” to be able communicate with any “smart” appliances in a home.   At present,  to the best of my knowledge most “smart meters” in NZ do not include ZigBee chips.  however, they can be retro fitted to some EDMI brand “smart meters”, and the Landis+Gyr brand E 350 “smart meters” being installed by many lines companies have a ZigBee chip as part of the “network transmission card” (that also produces the RFR used to transmit information about electricity use.  The default setting for this type of meter is for the ZigBee ship to be turned off;  however, if it is turned on these meters will produce extra RFR.

 

Privacy FAQs

 

Q: What are the privacy concerns raised by “smart meters”?

A: The website www.stopsmartmeters.com.au has the following to say about privacy and “smart meters”:

“It is reported that collected data, revealing consumer usage of electricity over each 30 minute interval, is to be on-sold for research purposes.  This is of concern to a number of people as they believe this information should remain confidential.  Other areas of concern centre on questions regarding the vulnerability of radiofrequencies carrying usage data to interception.”

http://stopsmartmeters.com.au/2011/10/28/smart-meters-in-victoria-information-and-concerns/

The latest (2014) information on smart meters and privacy is at this link:  http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/the-latest-on-how-smart-meters-affect-your-privacy/

Privacy concerns as they relate to NZ are discussed at this link:  www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/network-tasman-there-are-no-privacy-concerns-with-smart-meters-yeah-right/

 

Other FAQs

 

Q: I want to help inform other people in my community about the “smart meter” issue.  Do you have resources (such as flyers that I can put in my neighbours’ letter boxes) that I can use?

A: Go to the Resources page of this site at this link http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/resources/ to download  flyers etc

Running a public screening of the award winning smart meter documentary Take Back Your Power (see: www.takebackyourpower.net) is a very good way of raising awareness of the smart meter issue.  If you would like to do this, please email through this link  http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/contact-us/ for information and support.

 

Q:  I have been adversely affected by a smart meter and want to share this information. How do I do this?

If you would like to do this, please email through this link  http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/contact-us/.  All emails received are treated in confidence and nothing is posted on the website without the permission of the person who wrote the email.

 

If you are interested in the smart meter issue, please sign up for the email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz.  This link also includes a search facility to allow you to search the website for topics of interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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