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It was one of the hottest topics last year within Sedona — smart meters.Smart meters have been a contentious issue in the Verde Valley, with certain health problems allegedly linked to them. Sedona is one of the last communities in Arizona that has not adopted their use.

The topic again came up during the Tuesday, Jan. 28, Sedona City Council meeting after the city recently received notice that Arizona Public Service — the state’s largest power provider — will begin installing “smart” meters in Sedona on Sunday, March 9.

For the full story, see the Friday, Jan. 31, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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  • kathleen gorman

    Ron Eland, I'm a long time subscriber and I believe this is the first time I have felt the need to comment, I am asking for facts. Hmmm, the 'fees' of $75 and $30/month - please fact check this, i think you will find that these are not 'fees', please provide proof that APS has gone through the hoops they are required to go through to be able to charge fees, for this $75 and $30 'fees'. I cannot find their application for these fees. Calling them 'fees' makes it sound like everyone who opts-out will have to pay these amounts - I believe this is NOT TRUE !
    Unless you intended to write an article that had no info for people who want to OPT OUT, I would expect to see info on how to OPT OUT, and info about how would we know if APS actually has us on their opt-out list. The APS # I know of that seems to get results for people who want to opt-out and keep their current meter, or get their analog meter back, is 602 371 7171. How about some info on the process of OPT-OUT, you call and get onto APS OPT-OUT 'list', your meter will get a blue tag put onto it, and you will get a confirmation letter in the mail. If those 3 things have not happened, you just might not be opted-out no matter what you think ! How about some facts, some relevant info about the OPT-OUT process, publish the effective APS phone #'s for readers who prefer to OPT-OUT, rather than have a smart meter put onto their home ?
    Would you please consider, in a timely way, since March is right around the corner, to write a followup article to this one, expanding on how to OPT-OUT - as the Red Rock News might like to present more than one side to this 'hottest topic'. I have not seen any OPT-OUT info in the Red Rock News,
    It is disappointing that I have to read from a few different sources to get a complete picture of the APS move to put Smart Meters into Sedona - what is up with that ? What is your position on the Red Rock News not providing OPT-OUT information for readers in this article, especially at this late date ?
    Please reply here, so the public can see your response. Thank you.

  • Dave

    Fees? There are no $30 or $75 fees for the new meters. I have a smart meter on two my homes and I pay no fees. I love these meters as they allow me to monitor my electricity usage more closely. They present no harm to anyone and this is not big government watching you. There is no difference between the smart meter and a cell phone. They cannot determine what appliances you are using or when you watch "Oprah." These and other "stories" are just that.

  • Monnie

    There are scientists doing studies on the negative health effects of the meters. Here's just one example. You can read the full report here. "Biological and Health Effects of Microwave Radio Frequency Transmissions"

    When a group of physicians and other professionals with scientific and engineering expertise in Eugene Oregon found out that EWEB proposed installing a "mesh" smart meter network, they became concerned and spent sixteen month to investigate scientific literature and present a valid scientific evaluation of the potential health effects of a community-wide RF smart meter installation. This group has studied the scientific literature on the biological effects of microwave RF. The enclosed report is the result of their efforts.

    Here is a summary of their findings.

    Existing scientific research offers strong evidence that the chronic exposure of the public to microwave RF transmissions produces serious acute and chronic health effects.

    Excessive RF exposure can provoke acute symptoms. The most common symptoms are sleep disturbance, headache, irritability, fatigue, and concentration difficulties. Other symptoms may include depression, dizziness, tinnitus, burning and flushed skin, digestive disturbance, tremor, and cardiac irregularities.
    Chronic exposure to RF can also cause chronic physiologic changes, including altered endocrine function (both melatonin and other hormones), and increased oxidant stress that can lead to increased levels of cancer and male infertility.

    They also did some real life measurement of the Elster mesh network. Elster is the same type of smart meters APS is installing in Arizona. The Elster meter’s transmission rate was variable, definitely transmitting several times a minute, sometimes 4 or 5 times a minute, and occasionally in bursts of significantly higher frequency. They discovered that at a distance of 20 feet the power of the signal coming out of the Elster meter was about 100 times the power of the ambient background signal coming from any specific direction in the residential neighborhood. This power density of 300+ to 400+ μW/m2 was greater than the signal strength of the cell phone tower measured from about 200 meters away. So filling a neighborhood with a mesh network of the Elster smart meters would be similar to placing every house in that neighborhood closer than 200 meters from a cell phone tower, each house constantly being pinged by the chatter of multiple beacon signals from the mesh.

    Following the installation of the smart meter grid, there was a surge of anecdotal evidence regarding headaches, insomnia and other health complaints. Same thing happened during the ACC smart meters workshop, people were lining up complaining about the negative health impact from these meters.

    ACC currently did not halt the continuation of smart meter installation. Their solution is allowing individual opt out which is a flawed concept. This suggestion overlooks some obvious and important problems:

    • You can’t “opt out” of exposure to your neighbor’s meter, that is ten feet away from your bedroom window.

    • You can’t “opt out” of all the meters on the wall of your rental apartment complex. Or the ones on the wall of the complex right across the alley from your apartment.

    • You can’t “opt out” of exposure to the meter on the other side of your bedroom wall if you are a baby in a crib.

    • You can’t “opt out” of exposure to transmissions from the radio tower 100 meters from your house.

    A voluntary "opt out" program does not protect the community at large from adverse effects that they are unaware of and unconcerned about. For example, the current research shows that cancer rates are higher in residences near cellular transmission towers. Most people don't know this. How does a voluntary "opt out" program help the person who develops breast cancer three years after installation of a transmission tower across the street from her house? She didn't know it was a problem...

  • Julie

    In reply to: Monnie

    Monnie you make so many good points:

    "• You can’t “opt out” of exposure to your neighbor’s meter, that is ten feet away from your bedroom window.

    • You can’t “opt out” of all the meters on the wall of your rental apartment complex. Or the ones on the wall of the complex right across the alley from your apartment.

    • You can’t “opt out” of exposure to the meter on the other side of your bedroom wall if you are a baby in a crib.

    • You can’t “opt out” of exposure to transmissions from the radio tower 100 meters from your house.

    A voluntary "opt out" program does not protect the community at large from adverse effects that they are unaware of and unconcerned about. "

    Kathleen Gorman also makes an excellent point in that Red Rock News should publish clear and complete directions on how to opt out ASAP so that those who would like to protect their brain and cardiac health are able to do so in a timely manner prior to the March 9 install date. Infants, children, pets and the elderly will be the first to be affected, as well as the electrically sensitive like myself. We need to protect each other and preserve our neighborhoods.

  • Nancy Baer

    Stump Commissioner Burns we’re on to your item number “2. Commission discussion, consideration and possible vote concerning requesting the Arizona Department of Health Services to conduct a study on the potential health effects of exposure to radio frequencies emitted from Smart Meters and to docket its report in Docket No. E-00000C-11-0328, the Generic Docket for the Commission’s Inquiry Into Smart Meters.”

    B. Burns Okay. Thank you. I wanted to bring this up again to the commissioners. I’m sure everyone recalls that we all voted before to open the docket – the docket is open – rather to request people who wanted to add any studies that they felt weren’t included and so on. We’ve done a review. There have been about 25 studies and comments filed on different, various health studies some were from the utility industry and some were from other rate payers that who submitted studies that they’ve seen from other areas, including Electromagnetic Safety Alliance of Tucson and the Sedona Smart Meter Awareness group and basic filings, so I’m sure we’ve all looked and we know we do have quite a bit there.
    Some of the filings did not discuss or address ‘smart’ meters per se. Some of them were simply focused on the radio frequency (RF) issue and what kind of interaction there might be from different devices with RF and of course, there are conflicting studies. I know some states conducted their own study. We discussed that a little bit. California commissioned a study by the California Council on Science and Technology. They concluded that there was no evidence that additional standards were needed to protect the public. Texas did something similar. Their staff found no credible evidence to suggest ‘smart’ meters emit harmful amounts of EF (?), so I don’t know if we have an interest in doing a study ourselves. The concern that I have had about commissioning a study is that I don’t believe there’s anyone we can hire to do a study where all interested parties would believe that it was a fair and non-biased study. That would be raised regardless.
    However, there is a potential to have our own department of Health Services do it. I realize that issue of unbiased can be raised in any case, but it is DHS that is place, nothing that we’re actually selecting. Jody, the Executive Director, inquired about that after some discussion that she and I had and they indicated that they are willing to do a study. However, when they came back to respond to exactly what the time period would be and so on, we discovered it would take 12 months. So, we’re looking at a year, if DHS does a study. They also said we could hire someone and they would oversee them and that then would reduce it to six months. So, I’m just kind of putting this in front of my colleagues.
    I’m willing to go any direction, except I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to hire someone because I just don’t think there’s any real benefit to that. We can each form our own conclusions based on all the studies and conflicting studies that have been presented, or we can look at DHS and wait the year.
    From my standpoint I have no problem waiting a year in order to do our own study and there’s another year of activity of ‘smart’ meters; those that have them in our state and other states to go on as well that we would have at the end of the time. From my standpoint a year is fine with me, but I’m willing to yield what the majority of the commissioners think. I’d just like to hear what your comments are, your thoughts.

    Stump Well thanks Commissioner Burns.

    Jerrich Yes, I had some conversations with the Department of Health Services. They receive grant money from the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and that would cover the cost of their study, all but the cost for renting the equipment to measure the RF emissions and thatcost will be about $3K and I said that we would cover that cost.

    Stump Ok. Commissioner Pierce.

    Pierce This is for Ms. Jerrich. They said the cost for renting equipment so that’s for a year long they’re going to rent this equipment? They’re not going to buy it?

    Jerrich The twelve month study is not 12 months of field work. In what they described to me was a timeline as follows; for the first six months they are going to be reviewing what is out there. They said they want to come to this study with a blank screen and without any preconceived ideas and start taking all the literature that is out there and start to understand ‘smart’ meters; if there are different types of ‘smart’ meters, if there’s different levels of emissions, formulate in those first six months their plan of attack and then go out into the field. And then once they receive . . . their plan is to measure the RF emissions from ‘smart’ meters and then the second part of the study is to assess whether those reported emission levels pose detrimental health effects. And so that’s why it’s a twelve month window. They said they wanted to give themselves sufficient time on the front end of six months, they may need less time, but they wanted to give themselves six months in case they needed it.

    Pierce The reason I bring it up is there are variations in the type of equipment they could use to measure this and I would want them to use the most sophisticated to do that, but I think they’re going to find beyond where the ‘smart’ meters are actually located, that there are radio frequency issues and some places will be more than others, depending on who constructed a facility, or the wiring they used, all these types of things. I think that the bottom line as Commissioner Burns said is that some of the studies we read and certainly some of the books I’ve read on it is the radio frequency issue in itself is, could be the issue, not just ‘smart’ meters, or all ‘smart’ meters. And I guess what we want to find out in this, are all ‘smart’ meters the same? Are we finding that some are manufactured a little differently by even the same manufacturer? Is there a standard that they should have and are they all meeting that standard?

    Jerrich That question regarding RF levels from ‘smart’ meters and whether or not all ‘smart’ meters emit the same level is exactly the question that DHS talked to me about that they want to research prior to going out into the field.

    Pierce Well, okay.

    R. Burns Mr. Chairman?

    Stump Yes, Mr. Burns.

    R. Burns Are ‘smart’ meters still being installed by the utilities while we are trying to find out whether or not they’re safe?

    B. Burns Chairman Stump, may I add something here?

    Stump Sure.

    B. Burns They are being installed, however at this point if the customer does not want the ‘smart’ meter they are not installed, or if they are installed and they find out they have one and they don’t want it, they are being removed and replaced. So, during this period of time unless the Commission does something different people are not getting them if they don’t want them.

    Pierce Mr. Chairman I want to make sure if that that’s completely accurate including the Coop areas, not just APS, but all the areas we regulate that anyone who does not want them doesn’t have to have them? How do we make sure that works out for staff to do this?

    Olea Yes, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. This is Steve Olea for staff, I know that we have talked to APS, TP and Unisource and they are doing just as Commissioner Burns said, but will make the inquiry to the Coops to make sure they are doing the same thing.

    Stump Yes, Commissioner Pierce I think that’s a good point, coops based on this specific issue don’t appear to show up on our radar quite as much as in terms of hearing from constituents.

    Pierce Actually, Mr. Chairman I hear from many of them that are in Navapache’s.

    Stump Yes, that’s a good point. They must like you better. They email you.

    Bitter-Smith Mr. Chairman, just a quick question for Jodi.

    Stump Yes.

    Bitter-Smith Initially, I thought the time frame you were talking about was six months and now it’s sounding like a year. Any hope of being closer to the six months than the year time frame to do this?

    Jody The six month option would be if DHS would hire an independent consultant that would be a cost that would be borne by the Commission . . .

    Bitter-Smith Okay, which I don’t believe that’s what we’re talking about doing clearly, but it sounded like there were some variables on their year time-frame that perhaps they could do the research collection; a lot of that is as Commissioner Brenda Burns mentioned, in the docket already. I’m thinking . . . it would seem they could do that in a shorter time period than six months.

    Jody I agree, again DHS wanted to give themselves the maximum of six months just to make sure that they scope out the project correctly and in email they sent me, the timeline is as follows for the 12 months:

    Months 1-6 To review the literature and to scope out the project
    Months 4-6 To develop a sampling protocol
    Months 6-8 To implement the sampling protocol
    Months 9-12 Compile findings and analyze results and develop the final report

    So if there’s time to shave off it’d be on the front end of the six months.

    Bitter-Smith Right.

    B. Burns And some of these things can be done concurrently as well. I appreciate the fact that DHS is willing to do it. I was disappointed when I discovered what Jody found out from them with time frame, but I guess as she’s saying they’re trying to give themselves the outside amount of time that might be required and hopefully it would come in sooner. And, of course, we all realize too, this is the health issue which is a big issue, but the privacy concerns are also out there, but concurrently with that we all just need to continue to research, or whatever we need to do to with regard to making ourselves comfortable that we put in place a enough safeguards for privacy. But, anyway on the health issue, unless there are other comments or concerns, I guess I’d go ahead and make a motion that we ask DHS to proceed.

    Stump Yes, before we do that I believe Commissioner Pierce has something
    to say.

    Pierce And I certainly would love to . . . loud thumping begins and continues until the end of the meeting.

  • Nancy Baer

    APS "officially" moved back its "deployment" date until 3/31/14, however some residents have reported that their original analog meters have been replaced by digital "stealth" meters. Do the research and make an informed decision.

  • wb

    these meters are not healthy, period...and you can put a "hands off" legal notice next to your meter . OR if rhe old one, with the disk in it, is gone,
    APS will put it back must insist, like I did. tell them, the old one
    with the turning disk, because they have 3 meters !

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