City Council Discusses Opt-out for Radio Read Water Meters

By Richard Wolfson, PhD, THE FAIRFIELD WEEKLY READER, June 14-20, 2012

Approximately 100 people crowded into Fairfield’s City Council meeting Monday night [June 12, 2012] to discuss the city’s proposed bill to opt-out of the Neptune radio-read (RF) water meters.

Many residents expressed concern because of extensive reports worldwide of potential health damaging effects from radiation from pulsed RF meters. Fairfield meters emit pulses of radio frequency radiation every 14 seconds, 24 hours a day. Residents who want to opt out and get a different, non-RF meter will have to pay $100 plus $75/hr for installation, and an additional $10/month, even though the alternative meter costs only $91, compared to $240 for the Neptune wireless.

Numerous people said citizens should not have to pay extra to remove a potentially harmful device the city installedwithoutconsent.KathrynSeranduccomparedtheopt-outfeetoprotectionmoney. JohnRevolinski proposed dropping the $10/month fee, but was opposed by other council members.

Many were upset the city purchased these meters and installed them in homes without informing the public or researching their health effects. City officials were contending the meters were safe, without direct evidence. Also, city officials passed on misinformation about the meters, saying they only transmit once a month. Even years after meters were installed, the technology was not clearly understood by the city.

John Brown reported on meter problems across the country resulting in drastic overcharges, with no transparency for dispute. Also, through cost-benefit analysis, Attorney-Generals of Illinois and Connecticut demonstrated no cost benefit for consumers, rejecting industry bids to deploy RF meters.

Public defense lawyer Steve Druker said the Neptune website confirms there is no direct research proving these meters are safe. Mr. Druker, an expert on food safety, explained food additives need to be directly proven safe before approval. These meters would not be allowed if they were regulated like food.

Bob Rabinoff, PhD explained that because of safety concerns with RF meters, scientists would not even be allowed to test this device on animals. Yet the device is in 1500 Fairfield homes. Residents are in effect involuntary test subjects. Many can not afford these high opt-out fees even though they do not want the meters. The radiation is considered particularly harmful to pregnant woman, elderly, and babies.

In Vermont customers can choose non-RF meters for no charge, no opt-out fees. Likewise, Ashland, in Oregon, and California Counties Ojai, Santa Cruz, Marin, Lake, and Mendocino and 8 other counties have followed suit. On June 7, opt-out fees for Southern California Edison (SCE) customers were suspended on moratorium while CPUC determines whether the fees are legal.

Alliant Energy recently revised its plan to install electric smart meters in Iowa beginning in 2013, stating that they have no current plans to do so.

Fairfield City Council heard the comments and is researching a non-RF alternative, such as one in Sioux City that transmits water meter data via telephone, avoiding RF emissions entirely.

The Coalition for Safe Meters has posted an information website: https://fairfieldsafemeters.wordpress.com

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