IL Women Arrested in Their Backyards for Trying to Block Smart Meter Installation
January 24, 2013 3:04 PM
comment(s) - last by
City "exercise its right" to remove those looking to stand in the way of "progress"
In an incident that's sure to draw national attention, two women were dragged from their own backyards and arrested by police in Naperville, Illinois (a town located approximately 30 minutes west of Chicago) after they tried to block installation of
the city's new smart meters
President Obama has been pushing
for a "smart grid" for some time, with more high-tech meters that can access more detailed information on power usage. Proponents argue the
cut down on waste and mistakes. Critics cite a variety of concerns ranging from national security to health.
The two arrested women -- Jennifer Stahl and Malia "Kim" Bendis -- were leaders of an anti-smart meter group dubbed "Naperville Smart Meter Awareness". The group's website links to a critical article on the project which points out its $23.6M USD cost, only $11M USD of which came from a federal grant.
Even Mark Curran the Naperville director of electrical utilities admits that the meter rollout has taken "longer than we anticipated", after being fraught with technical delays.
Arrest photos of Jennifer Stahl (left) and Malia Bendis (right) [Image Source: Naperville PD]
Aside from finances, though, there appears to be a relatively strong luddite component of the group's campaign to block the meters. The group links to a number of speculative websites that compile information on the supposed "health risks" of smart meters. The commentary on one site (
) echoes the medically unfounded claims that similar campaigns have leveled
against cell phone towers
. Comments the site:
This is of great concern because the exposure to microwave and radiowave radiation from these meters is involuntary and continuous. The transmitting meters may not even comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "safety" standards ... However, those standards were initially designed to protect an average male from tissue heating (cooking) during a brief exposure. These standards were not designed to protect a diverse population from the non-thermal effects of continuous exposure to microwave and radiowave radiation. Therefore, these "safety" standards were not designed to protect the public from health problems under the circumstances which the meters are being used.
To date, there has been no comprehensive peer-reviewed work supporting the notion that Wi-Fi or cell phone signals cause cancer or other health effects, but that hasn't stopped critics from suggesting that undiscovered risks may indeed exist.
Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Board of Directors (L-R): Jennifer Stahl (Secretary), Kim Bendis (President), and Board Members Amanda Rykov, Lisa Rooney, Tom Glass
[Image Source: Naperville Smart Meter Awareness]
Despite the shaky science, one must wonder whether the city's strong-arm tactics are justified for citizens who don't want the meters. Ms. Stahl's arrest came at 4:30 when police invaded her backyard with the installation crew after cutting the bicycle lock she used on her fence gate. When police found Ms. Stahl standing in front of her old-fashioned "dumb" meter refusing to move, they arrested her and charged her with interfering with a police officer and preventing access to customer premises.
Ms. Bendis's arrest proceeded similarly. She was charged with attempted eavesdropping and resisting a peace officer.
A defiant Ms. Stahl told reporters, "It was forced on my house today. It was really a violation. I violated something, but I’ve been violated too so I guess we’re now in a society of violating one another. I have not done the work of attempting to educate the community and advocating for the right of anybody in Naperville to refuse the smart meter just to stand off to the side."
Ms. Bendis declined to comment to reporters, citing advice from her lawyer.
Both women were released within hours. City Manager Doug Krieger defends the arrests, commenting, "The previous installation attempts were met with some resistance and we wanted to ensure our employees’ safety. The city has always had and maintains the right to access our equipment, and today we were simply exercising that right."
The Elster Rex2 smart meter (left) is being installed in homes, supported by wireless stations attached to poles and other infrastructure (right).
[Image Source: Naperville Smart Meter Awareness/Elster]
While the cost is one reasonable criticism against smart meter projects, another more ground criticism is security. Prominent sources, including defense contractor Lockheed Martin Comp. (LMT), have suggested that Chinese or other sophisticated
rivals of the U.S. could "hack into" smart meter networks
and use attacks to cripple or otherwise interfere with the U.S. power grid. If this premise holds true it would represent a tremendous new national security risk.
Another interesting criticism
comes from security researchers
[PDF], who report that smart meter data, if carefully analyzed, could reveal intimate details of one's life. For example, a house hooked up to smart water and electric meters could allow a third party to track when people shower, whether a home alarm is on, and how often people use their televisions.
Daily Herald [Naperville]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
1/25/2013 7:57:30 AM
Property ownership is an illusion.
You are missing a couple very important points:
1. Bylaws of the city demand that the house be connected to a power grid (there may be a few cities that do not, but most do). You can put up all the generators and solar panels you want, but you have to be connected to the power grid. And that connection has a meter even if it is to sell back your surplus power to the grid. You pay for that connection but the hardware used to connect to the grid is owned by the utility company. The utility company has the legal right to come onto your property and maintain (i.e. update) that equipment.
2. It is the government that mandates to the power how you are metered. It is the power utility that is tasked with executing that mandate. As the meter is the property of the power utility, they dictate the hardware that is used, not you. Likewise as stated in (1) due to the bylaws you have no choice but to allow the power utility entry on your property maintain
equipment. If you do not, the power utility can without prejudice cut off your power altogether leaving you eating cold diners by candlelight.
We all have the illusion that we own our real estate. The fact of the matter is that ownership is an illusion. If the government wants your property, it is a simple matter of re-zoning your lot to be commercial and you are stuck with having to sell and leave within a given time frame. Sure you can appeal and fight it, but at the end it is not your decision whether the re-zoning happens and you are left out on the street.
Likewise you stop paying your property taxes and guess what happens to your property. (Hint, you won't get to keep it or even the money from its sale).
1/25/2013 6:47:58 PM
Where I live, if they rezone your property they can not force you to move, but if you ever sell then it has to be used for the new zoned purpose. I know several farms that are now within the city limits and surrounded by malls and housing developments and those farms have the right to operate as long as the same owner or their family operates it. Now if the government wanted to pull Eminent Domain to serve their purposes then you would get what they pay you and you would have to leave, but simple rezoning does not always force you to move.
"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
Wi-Fi Fearing Citizens Find Hideout in West Virginia
September 15, 2011, 11:52 AM
UPDATED: Obama's "Smart Grid" Initiative Appears to be Mostly Talk
June 13, 2011, 9:42 AM
Lockheed Martin Says "Smart Grid" Will Allow China to Hack U.S. Power
October 5, 2010, 8:20 AM
Municipal Companies Learning From PG&E's Mistakes
May 25, 2010, 7:16 AM
Cell Phone Antenna-Fearing Residents Vow Not to Give Up After Defeat
March 31, 2010, 11:16 AM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information