Saturday February 9, 2013

Smart meters may sound like a good thing, but ...

Editor of the Reformer:

Smart meters are being installed automatically without your consent on every home in America. They pose a very immediate and a very real privacy risk and a very probably health risk. Yet what do you really know about them?

What is your energy usage? This info will be made available to the highest bidder who may want to sell you a new appliance or for free to the police or FBI who may be screening everyone for suspicious energy usage. When are you home, when are you away and what is your billing data? Any thieve who can hack a cell phone can now access this data constantly 24 hours/day 7 days a week. Because unlike your cell phone, your smart meter cannot be turned off.

Our leaders scream about cyber security and furiously write bills to "secure" the Internet while at the same time Obama’s Recovery Act allocates $3.4 billion to reimburse states for the costs of installing smart meters on every home in America. Soon every home and the energy grid itself will be susceptible to a phone hacking.

Imagine if this money was used pay consumers to winterize or install solar and wind generation facilities directly in their homes? Have you ever wondered how many trillions and how much energy we lose, distributing power pole to pole across hundreds if not thousands of miles? For some reason that information is not made available to the public from the power companies.

Big Agriculture, big Pharma and big Energy with it’s centralized, metered and monopolized system of energy distribution is about to make billions more through this "smart" technology. Multimillion corporations are already producing smart appliances. Imagine the windfall for programmable home security and energy saving devices soon to be released. After-all energy is a multitrillion dollar industry, God forbid we empower the consumer to generate their own power, I shudder to even think of such blasphemy.

In May of 2011 The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified mobile phone use and other radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as a possible carcinogen (group 2B). Yes smart meters are supposed to generate less electromagnetic radiation than a cell phone. Although even that is being debated ... let’s say it is true.

Think ahead for just a bit. You are walking your dog or taking your baby for a stroll and hundreds of smart appliances are beaming usage data to hundreds of Smart Meters during your neighborhood stroll. How much cumulative radiation did you, your dog or your baby just get exposed to?

In Vermont smart people can opt out of smart meters by sending a certified letter to their power company saying that they do not have your permission to install a smart meter on your property and that you are exercising your right to opt out of this program.

Chris Pratt,

Brattleboro, Feb. 4

Super Bowl blackouts and nuclear power

Editor of the Reformer:

Vermont Yankee parent company Entergy dropped the ball when power went out at the Super Bowl last weekend. For 34 minutes technicians scrambled to restore power while 110 million people waited. An independent investigation has been prompted by Entergy’s failure to provide an adequate explanation for the outage. According to the San Diego Union Tribune "Entergy spokesman Chanel Lagarde told The Associated Press they had not been able to reach a conclusion on the cause of the outage and wanted a third-party analysis." Entergy recently partnered with the Superdome to upgrade the electrical system including more than $600,000 for upgrading the dome’s electrical feeder cable system. (http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/feb/05/outside-experts-to-probe-super-bowl-power-outage/)

Simultaneously, Entergy is having safety problems at 40 year-old Pilgrim Nuclear plant on in Massachusetts. It has been shut down twice in the past month and six times in the past two years. The Cape Cod Times reports that a valve that had just been replaced isn’t working. "They are used to relieve/control pressure in the reactor coolant system and therefore perform an important safety function" wrote Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) spokesperson Neil Sheehan. (http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130206/NEWS/302060332).

Similar problems plague Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear complex near New York City, which the state of New York is trying to close when its 40-year license runs out this year.

When problems are systemic the management is responsible. How can we trust Entergy to maintain the highest levels of vigilance at Vermont Yankee when the company is plagued by so many problems? The discussion about Vermont Yankee is not about the viability of nuclear power in general, rather it is about aging power plants and Entergy’s terrible track record when the game is on the line.

John Loggia,

Brattleboro, Feb. 5