Wake Up Opt Out Vermont launches media campaign

For immediate release
Jan. 25, 2012

Jesse Mayhew
Campaign Manager
Phone: 802-779-0500
[email protected]

Rutland, VT – The Wake Up Opt Out Campaign launched new radio and online ads today to help foster continued conversation about the potential dangers and liabilities of smart meter installation in Southern Vermont.

“We are hopeful the media will give Vermonters the full picture of smart meters before CVPS tries to install them at their homes. They need to know these meters impact our privacy, finances and health.” Said Martine McGrail, a campaign organizer and supporter.

“These meters are a violation of our privacy, our security, and our rights,” said Rick Dahm, a concerned Vermonter and campaign volunteer.

“Vermont citizens deserve to know about the liabilities of these new meters.”

This winter Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) plans to install smart meters in homes, businesses, and public buildings throughout all of Rutland and Bennington counties beginning in February. A smart meter is a new style of wireless electricity meter connected to a house or business.

These meters track usage at a far more granular level than previous generations of meters. The fact that data will be transferred to CVPS wirelessly creates a host of privacy and radiation-based health concerns.

“CVPS made very little information about the dangers and drawbacks of smart meters available to their customers.” Jesse Mayhew, the campaign’s manager said. “We believe it is our civic duty to get this information out so Vermonters can decide for themselves if they want to opt-out.”

Wake Up Opt Out radio and online ads describe the risks smart meters pose to Vermonter’s privacy, financial security, and health. The ads drive Vermonters online to download a fact sheet about the new meters. They also encourage Vermonters to immediately opt-out to ensure they avoid the impacts from the new meters.

Mayhew continued, “Our main objective is to get the word out that Vermonters have the ability to opt out of smart meter installation.  People concerned about their privacy, rates, and health can immediately opt-out by calling CVPS at 800-649-2877.”

Press Release

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Privacy policy
  • As a counter to this campaign, I urge those who may have concerns about radio frequency emissions to refer to the Envirnomental Defense Fund conclusions.


    They have spent some time researching the findings of the World Health Organization and the Electric Power Research Institute. The EDF has concluded that smart meters are a good idea. One of the data points is that a smart meter has 1/1000 of the RF emissions of a cell phone.

    While Vermont Electric Cooperative is using a Power-Line Carrier (which is not RF), we do want to support CVPS and GMP in their efforts, and we want to keep our options open in the future.

    VEC has seen very impressive results from our smart meter initiative. We started in 2005 and today have 97% of our meters changed out. The system has paid for itself with operational savings through cutting outages in 1/2, improving our storm response, saving meter read cost, and reducing system losses.

    The area we serve has a higher percentage of low income people and rates are important. The system has been an invaluable tool to help identify reasons for high bills. Our member/customers are very happy with the system.

    We have only scratched the surface of the possibilities of the smart grid.

    David Hallquist
    CEO, Vermont Electric Cooperative

  • Folks

    Please do your own checking into smart meters and take this very alarmist press release with a healthy does of salt. The Smart Grid is simply the digital world coming to the electric system. Using advanced digital sensors and two way communication of data utility operators can remotely and proactively identify problems on the grid before they become serious. Plus the technology helps speed the restoration of power in an outage and we know all about those in VT with our dense woods and tough weather.

    On the customer side there are all sorts of opportunities for you to be empowered to conserve, connect your own onsite renewable power and sell it back to the grid, and hopefully some day soon plug in your car and say no thanks to oil from overseas.

    There are protocols for data privacy and as Dave Halquist points out there are extensive reports on the questions of health effects. Reach out and ask your utility any questions you have or the Department of Public Service which has the job of looking out for you the consumer.

    David O’Brien
    Former Coomissioner of Public Service (2003-11)

  • RobertWilliams


    1. Smart Meters emit radiation almost continuously, day and night, seven days a week.

    2. Family safety is uncertain with a smart meter attached to a home.

    3. It is impossible to know how close a consumer is to their RF Radiation limit, making safety an uncertainty with installation of a mandatory Smart Meter.

    4. Smart Meters can exceed the whole body radiation exposure of cell phones by 60-150 times, over 400 times more radiation than a cell phone if sleeping along the wall where the smart meter is installed.

    5. Radiation exposure from Smart Meters at non-thermal levels shows accumulating evidence of human cell damage, DNA chain breaks, breaches in the blood-brain barrier, sperm damage, toxin exposure, cancer, miscarriage, birth defects, semen degradation, autoimmune diseases, etc.

    6. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is a real and sometimes debilitating neurological problem for the affected persons (Mild et al., 2004).

    7. FCC guidelines do not protect the public and cannot be used for any claims of Smart Meter safety.

    8. Smart Meters exceed the RF Microwave Radiation standards of many other countries by 12 to 60 million times.

    9. SUMMARY: Given the evidence of existing and potential further harm from Smart Meters, governmental agencies for protecting public health and safety should be much more vigilant towards Smart Meter electromagnetic radiation exposures because governmental agencies are the only defense against such involuntary exposure.

  • M. Hertz

    Although maybe not intentional, the radiation emissions from AMR and “smart”
    transmitting utility meters is making people sick where ever they are being installed across the U.S.
    The utility industry now knows this and they are lying when they say the meters are safe. Transmitting utility meters are not safe.

  • Doesn’t the value of an intelligent grid that better matches generation and distribution of electricity with its known risks to people and the environment, vastly outweigh the dangers of a small RF generator outside the home, since we have so many already inside our homes, cars and even pockets?

    And how does electrical consumption data and time frame (unless you’re growing pot in your basement) threaten privacy? Pot growers can opt out.

    Those of us who would like to lower the need for excess generation and hopefully pay less for the trade should opt-in. The only data available to the utility is how much electricity we use at different times in the diurnal cycle. Don’t I want the system more efficient, especially if that’s reflected in my cost?

  • Mr. WIlliams,

    What you are presenting has been taken out of context from the report, which was not done by the California Department of Health, it was done by a health officer who was reporting to the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors.

    One key sentence you left out was – “There is no scientific literature on the health risks of SmartMeters in particular as they are a new technology”

    You are quoting general statements in the report that were directed to our current level of ubiquitous Radio Frequency Emissions, which are driven primarily by cell phones, wireless computer networks, and other traditional sources. All of these sources “emit radiation almost continuously”.

    The only scientifically reviewed studes were done by the World Health Organization and the Electric Power Research Institute, which show these meters are an insignicant part of the radio frequency mix.

    There may be unanswered questions about the effect of Radio Frequencies, however, to single out smart meters amongst a myriad of electronic devices is flawed. I would argue that this line of reasoning would prevent the tremendous opportunity we have to reduce another important health issue, emissions from power plants and utility vehicles. The ability to reduce emissions through more efficient power distribution is a known benefit. One example is Vermont Electric Cooperative has elminated over 15000 truck rolls per year.

    David Hallquist
    CEO, Vermont Electric Cooperative

  • Paul Donovan
  • Nancy Baer

    When two of the most central errors are corrected – the failure to take into account duty cycles of cell phones and microwave ovens and the failure to utilize the same units (they should compare everything in terms of average whole body exposure) the cumulative whole body exposure from a Smart Meter at 3 feet appears to be approximately two orders of magnitude higher than that of a cell phone, rather than two orders of magnitude lower.


  • Melissa Levine

    The CEO of Vermont Electric recommends that Vermont residents concerned about RF emissions from Smart Meters look at the Environmental Defense Fund statement.
    However, the Environmental Defense Fund references industry insiders (including scientists with close ties to industry) and flawed reports. For example, Microwave News writes that the scientist that EDF is relying on (Leeka Kheferts) is “a long time operative of the electric utilities industry” http://www.microwavenews.com/junkscience.html. Also “The Electric Power Research Institute,” although ostensibly “independent,” is commonly viewed as an arm of the utility industry.
    Smart meters emit pulsed (on and off) radiation tens of thousands of times a day. This same type of radiation was declared a class 2b possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization partly because of studies (Hardell) which found increased gliomas (brain tumors) from exposure. The same radiation which Smart Meters emit has also been found to cause double strand DNA breakage and to make the blood brain barrier more permeable (which could allow toxins to enter).
    The EDF also references a California report (CCST) which was put together by a pro business organization and challenged by many independent scientists. I wrote about this in a blog post http://stopsmartmetersirvine.com/2011/12/18/health-effects-from-smart-meters-utility-industry-gets-a-free-pass-from-the-fcc/
    Also Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear scientist from UC Santa Cruz, who reviewed the CCST report said it had flawed comparison data (which they took from a PG&E reference) between “smart” meters and cell phone exposures, which then were used to falsely claim that radiation exposure from a “smart” meter was much lower than that from a cell phone. When the error was corrected, however, Dr. Hirsch says, it showed that exposure to radiation from a “smart” meter is actually 100 times higher than a cell phone.

    Melissa Levine, StopSmartMetersIrvine.com

  • A couple responses to the above comments. First it is worth noting that Mr. Hallquist leads a utility that utilizes a different type of smart meter than is currently being proposed for the CVPS and GMP territories. VEC’s meters are hardwired, and as a result do not emit nearly as much radiation and only transfer collected data four times a day. Additionally, the issue isn’t just that Vermonters’ privacy, finances, and health could be impacted, but it is that they have not been told they have a choice. Most Vermonters will not learn of the opt-out option, and will likely be subjected to this radiation 24/7 on the side of the their home without their informed consent. Wake Up Opt Out is simply doing what the utilities should be doing – telling their customers about the drawbacks of smart meters and encouraging them to make a informed choice for their themselves and their family.

    Jesse Mayhew
    Campaign Manager, Wake Up Opt Out

  • Patty Stein

    I encourage all vermonters to look at your utility bill and see how much you are already being charged for “service charges” These charges include meter reading etc. So the $10 opt out fee for meter reading is really just a fine. I would be willing to pay the $10 which is much less than the current service charge. Utility company refused my request, and instead is going to double charge me for the same sevices.

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