Since 2013, there have been at least 5 attempts to pass smart meter regulation in New York state, but none have advanced beyond committee discussion, and none would have offered sufficient protection to the public. However, NY senate member Pete Harckham has introduced S. 5632 that does offer the best protections we’ve seen to date. He is currently the Chairman of the Committee on Environmental Conservation.
The state legislature is in session now through the first week of June. However, after early May it’s next to impossible to get anything through due to tons of administrative backlog. So the actions detailed below need to happen now, otherwise we’ll have to wait until 2024!
Here is some history and perspective. Since around 2009, utilities have been on a mission to do away with reliable analog meters that have been in use for 100 years, and install digital meters that communicate through pulsed electromagnetic frequencies which are basically microwaves. The utilities send a notice with a sentence at the end informing us we can “opt-out”, but we’ll be charged a fee of $9.50 per month. Most people don’t bother reading that far. For those who do opt out, rather than just leave their analog meters the utilities then install a 1-way digital meter, which still emits levels of microwave frequencies that can sicken people.
Essentially, S. 5632 offers “analog choice”, meaning that when a utility notifies us they will be installing digital smart meters, we would have to agree to it in writing. If we choose to avoid having these sources of hazardous emissions in our homes, we can opt-out and keep our analog meters without any fees being imposed. Also, if we already had a smart meter installed, we can have it replaced with an analog meter. By the way, if passed this will also apply to digital water and gas meters.
While this is all positive, the bill does fall short in a few important ways. Specifically, there’s a need for protections for people living in larger residential buildings, small businesses, and neighborhoods where smart meters are mounted on exterior walls. The photo above and below show why.
So here is a 3-step call to action that you can do in 15 minutes or less.
This is Civics 101, folks. We need to lobby officials who we elected to represent our interests. Find your NY state senator. Go to:
Find your NY state assembly member. Go to:
Write down their name, phone number, and email in a place you can easily find.
Call Sen. Peter Harckham’s office at (518) 455-2340. A staff member will answer. Convey your appreciation and support for S. 5632. Also, convey the following both by phone and email:
1. Please add provisions to S. 5632 to protect residents of large residential buildings, as well as small businesses. If necessary, introduce a separate bill with these provisions:
2. Allow small businesses to have analog meter choice.
3. Allow owners of multi-family homes to have analog meter choice for their entire building, including hallways and any other common area.
4. Require that residential buildings have smart meter covers installed. The cost will be paid by the Biden Infrastructure Bill and the utilities. If smart meters are in a basement and adjacent to another living space or residential property, they shall have shielding from behind to prevent microwave frequencies from leaking into those living spaces.
5. Buildings with digital meters installed on their exterior shall be required to have meter covers made of protective shielding material.
6. The utilities reference to compliance with FCC guidelines from 1996 are inapplicable today due to the 9th District Appeals Court decision on Aug. 13, 2019 establishing that the FCC’s refusal to update their guidelines was “arbitrary and capricious”.
This is absolutely urgent! Contact the Chair of the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Conservation, Deborah Glick at https://www.nyassembly.gov/mem/Deborah-J-Glick. Ask her to submit a companion bill for S.5632 to regulate smart meters, following the same script as for your Senator above.
Contact your Assembly member (see link above to locate your member) with the following message:
There is a bill in the Senate with regulations that protect the public from digital smart meters. See S. 5632. While this is a good first step, there is a need for legislation that contains these additional protections:
Repeat 1 through 6 above.
Understanding the Depth of the Problem
We appreciate you reading this far. Please take a few more minutes to gain a bit more knowledge on the problems posed by smart meters, and how existing policy is an affront to our rights to health, privacy and property.
The utilities have imposed a harmful, unnecessary technology upon the public using very misleading and deceptive methods. The public needs to understand the following:
1. Analog meters have many benefits over digital smart meters
2. Smart meters inflate monthly bills, and utilities conceal how they do so.
3. Smart meters use electric current, therefore, there is an increase in energy use which is an additional drain on the environment. They literally worsen the harmful effects of climate change.
4. The cost of electricity required to power smart meters is deliberately hidden from the public. Analog meters are mechanical, requiring no additional electric current.
5. Smart meters are unsafe due to lack of grounding and filtering,
6. Smart meters compromise privacy and are vulnerable to hacking,
7. Ultimately analog meters have none of these risks.
8. Smart meters have a 6-7 year lifespan, then must be serviced or replaced. Analog meters last forever.
9. There are no real benefits of smart meters to utility customers.
Lastly, please spread the word far and wide! We can do this!