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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 high-tech meters 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.

smart meter arrests
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 (electricalpollution.com) echoes the medically unfounded claims that similar campaigns have leveled against cell phone towers or Wi-Fi networks.  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.

Smart Meter protesters
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."

Smart Meter
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.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald [Naperville]



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End the scam
By Shadowmaster625 on 1/25/2013 10:25:11 AM , Rating: 0
This is nothing more than a huge scam from every frickin angle. People need to wake up and wise up before this absurdity consumes everything. And I mean everything. Let's examine how massive this scam is.

1. It destoys jobs. What the hell is wrong with paying someone a decent wage to go read meters? They arent saving any money on this crap. If it werent for the Federal Government subsidizing the elimination of these jobs the utilities wouldnt even consider this huge malinvestment.

2. Why the blazing F*** is the federal governemnt subsidizing the elimination of jobs anyway? HUH? This crap needds to stop. Stop electing this scum.

3. The meters themselves only carry a resultion of 1/10 of a kwh, so you cannot use the meter to measure your own power consumption. Want to find out how much juice your fridge or your dryer consume? Tough s***. You cant do that anymore because ther eis no frickin way to read milliAmp hours. Maybe you dont know what a milliAmpHour is but I assure you many people do. Ww used to be able to reduce our power consumption and thus our power bill by simply knowing what devices consume what amount of power so we know what to upgrade and/or what we will get if we upgrade. This right here is arguably the biggest most blatant part of the scam.

4. They are wasting the cops' time on crap like this. Dont they have a backlog of marijuana joint smokers to arrest?

5. Look at that infrastructure. Those antennas on those poles. If people get pissed off enough that crap is going to get destroyed. And if it does then whatever profits they thought they had vanish in an instant. So they eliminate a bunch of jobs just to make a few extra bucks, but then dont even make any money. That's why I say this is just so stupid in so many ways.

6. When you have companies shedding jobs in an effort to lose money , which is exactly what is going to happen with this smart grid crap, you can bet there is some ulterior motive. And there sure is. They want the control grid, no matter how untenable and unprofitable such a thing is, the statists want that central control grid, so they can feel like they have even more power. Sick bastards. These frickin bastards ruin everything they touch but still they want to get their filthy mitts into more and more. It wont stop until their ideology is flushed from society.




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