After reading your article about PG&E smart meters I am motivated to write my first ever letter to an editor ("Smart Grid 101," Nov. 18). I found the article lacking in important information. The following information was given to me several months ago by a PG&E representative.
Each smart meter contains two microwave transmitters. The first one comes with the default setting set to on. It is a one-watt microwave transmitter transmitting pulses 24 hours per day for up to a half mile at around 900 megahertz. The smart meter communicates with other smart meters within that half-mile radius and eventually to a transmitter that relays the information back to the PG&E office. This is known as a "radio frequency mesh network." It will allow PG&E to monitor electricity consumption hourly.
The second microwave transmitter in the smart meter comes with the default setting set to off, but it can be remotely set by the power company to on with the permission of the home owner. As I understand it, the function of the second transmitter is to have some control over appliances equipped with appropriate receptors inside the home by sending a pulse every minute from the smart meter's second microwave transmitter.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) says the microwave radiation emitting from the smart meters is below the health and safety standards set by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Here lies the rub. I understand a society's need for safety standards. When given a set of safety "standards" I can choose to, or choose not to, acquire a product based on my assessment of the standards versus my need for the product. When you have no choice, but are forced to acquire the product, the standards should reflect this mandatory condition by being much more cautious.
It is a given that every human's physiology does not respond identically to environmental conditions. Quite the contrary. Many people lie outside the "standard." Given the vast variety of human physiology and the ever-changing body of knowledge concerning human health, I believe the FCC should set much more cautious standards for microwave radiation. The rapid proliferation of microwave radiation over the last decade or so is not a long enough time sample to determine a definitive "safe" level of exposure to microwave radiation for all humans.
I do not use a microwave oven. I do not have a cell phone plan. I do not have Wi-Fi, bluetooth or a radio phone. It is fine if you do; I choose not to. I realize when I am out and about I am exposed to microwave radiation, EMF and all sorts of environmental conditions that may be hazardous to my health. I can live with that as well. But when I am told I do not have a choice, that I must have a microwave transmitter attached to my house, I object. I can understand there are potential advantages in a "smart grid," but in this case the ends do not justify the means.
Robby Jarvis, Trinidad