Smart Meters… Safe or Dangerous

What looked like a boring City Council agenda last Tuesday evening, January 23, turned into an interesting evening that need further investigation by this reporter before reporting.

The evening started off with a Special Presentation by a group of Chelan citizens concerned with Chelan PUD’s move to install a smart meter system in the Lake Chelan Valley. Laura Folsom began the conversation by telling the Council that smart meters are not only detrimental to the environment, but are also detrimental to our health. “Particularly those with compromised health issues,” Folsom said.

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Chelan Resident Laura Folsom

The PUD’s Smart Meter Plan would establish an energy grid in the community so electricity meters can be read remotely. “We are asking you for a temporary opt out,” said Folsom.

A smart meter is an electronic device that records consumption of electrical energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing.

According to Folsom, the group has one ally at the PUD in Commissioner Ann Congdon. A telephone conversation with Congdon on Thursday confirmed her concerns with a smart meter system, but she said, “I’m only one of five commissioners. The staff and Steve Wright are absolutely convinced that RF (radio frequencies) are minimal…less than a cell phone.”

Ann Congdon

PUD Commissioner Ann Congdon

Congdon went on to say that there are compelling arguments on both sides of the issue. She mentioned Dr Martin Pall who has studied electromagnetic fields and the dangers that lie within these fields. “He has proven it affects our cells,” said Condon.

Congdon said we are swimming in a sea of electromagnetic fields (radio frequencies) and that she hopes we don’t look back 10 years from now and ask ourselves why were weren’t looking deeper into the issue.

Congdon said that one in 42 kids have autism. “It’s at an epidemic proportion and no one knows what is causing it.” Plus, it seems that the more we use electromagnetic energy the more cumulative it becomes in our environment.

Richard Lear, Brown University, has written a paper on Dr. Pall’s research called “THE DANGERS OF SMART METERS” and other microwave transmitting technology.” It can be accessed here: https://stopsmartmetersoregon.com/category/dr-martin-pall/

Folsom told the Council that the PUD’s system would set up a grid around the whole community with a hub every one-quarter mile that picks up and sends out frequencies. “They say that they only omit a small amount of safe frequency, but when devices to read the transmissions were off the charts, it is just false what we are told. Every appliance will now come with a chip that will talk to your meter. Get 20 devices shooting that frequency around and there is a tipping point of safety,” said Folsom.

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Resident Brigitte Sztab

Brigitte Sztab also stepped to the podium as asked the City to consider opting out. She feels the community is not informed. Robin Casal asked if there was a time frame for rolling out the smart meters? Mayor Cooney replied he had no idea. I don’t know when they are rolling it out,” he said.

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Chelan Mayor Mike Cooney

Apparently the PUD made a presentation a few months ago to the Council. “We will bring it up at the workshop,” said Cooney. “There are two sides to every issue.”

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Councilman Tim Hollingsworth

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said he would like to see the PUD’s presentation and asked, “What specifically can the City do? Do we have the authority (to opt out)? What are the ramifications?”

Mayor Cooney asked that all the Councilmembers be given the PUD presentation so that all of them are updated on the issue.

There will be more to come as the community educates itself to the benefits and potential dangers of electromagnetic fields, and how the PUD’s plan will affect them.

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