DECC/Edward Davey MP respond to our campaign. We reply.

Dear Mr Davey,

Thank you for responding (on the DECC website) to the 220+ communications (at time of writing) which you have received directly from some of the supporters of our campaign.

We find your response to be unsatisfactory and would like to take this opportunity to ask you to respond further to the following.

• Your response fails to directly address any of the 34 separate points listed in our Notice of Non-Consent for Smart Meter Installation/Notice of Liability covering issues of health, privacy, security, safety, grid security, sovereignty and utility costs related to the ‘Smart’ Meter programme.

Please can you address each of the 34 points raised in that Notice individually.

• You state that you “seek evidence and views…[to] ensure [your] policies and requirements [in relation to data access and privacy] are appropriately framed and informed by the best advice… [including consulting with]…a range of consumer representatives”.

If your consultation process does indeed seek evidence and views from all appropriate sources including a concerned public, please can you consult and respond to each point that our supporters and members have made in their Notice of Non-Consent for Smart Meter Installation/Notice of Liability?

• You state that the Government is working with “industry, consumer representatives and a range of other stakeholders and experts on plans for rolling out smart electricity and gas meters” and that this “work includes full and careful consideration of privacy issues, security, and the concerns raised by people worried about health effects.”

Stop Smart Meters! (UK) asked members of your department, who were working in partnership with “Consumer Focus”, for a place at your Workshop on “Potential Health Concerns linked to Smart Metering” on 23rd February 2012.  We were denied access; the grounds for this were that this meeting (on the subject of health concerns) did not represent an appropriate forum for us to present our group’s health concerns about ‘Smart’ Meters.  We are aware that some of the presentations made by qualified individuals as part of the consultation process, run between February and March 2012, raised some very serious concerns about health threats posed by the radiation emitted by ‘Smart’ Meters.

Very worryingly, the concerns raised (and indeed the consultation process itself) were not mentioned in the DECC0009 Impact Assessment on ‘Smart’ Meters issued in April 2012.  In actuality, the document attempts to promote the idea that there are possible health benefits to ‘Smart’ Meters – despite also admitting that “a domestic roll-out of smart meters could adversely affect certain consumer groups,” and that “Consideration will be given to the impacts on different types of consumer, including the vulnerable.”

None of the serious health concerns raised during presentations in the February workshop – or at a meeting held separately on 20 March 2012 with an expert scientist – were mentioned in your follow-up.  We have been informed that during the latter meeting, health issues documented in the RRT’s ‘Smart Meters – Smarter Practices’ report were discussed in some detail.  Also discussed at that time were the increased risks that could arise to the nation’s health, resilience and safety from ‘Smart’ Meters being more vulnerable to the effects of natural and manmade EMP events and cyber attacks than the meters they are presently intended to replace (this issue was covered in the RRT document’s Addendum also discussed at that meeting).  None of this information is mentioned in the 88-page DECC0009 Impact Assessment of April 2012.  These are grave omissions, particularly as substantial documentation (including details of peer-reviewed research indicating serious potential health risks from exposure to RF/microwave emissions similar in intensity to those that could be expected from wireless ‘Smart’ Meters) had been provided on both dates.  Failure to properly address these issues could greatly damage confidence with regard to DECC and its transparency in relation to matters of concern and risk.

We would like, therefore, to bring this omission officially to your attention and formally request that you release, into the public domain, the details of what was discussed during that February stakeholder meeting and the later meeting of 20th March mentioned above.  We are aware that the meetings were held under the ‘Chatham House Rule’, but this does not preclude you from issuing the requested information with the source of each comment withheld.

• You state that ‘Smart’ Meters “are covered by UK and EU product safety legislation, which requires manufacturers to ensure that any product placed on the market is “safe”.

Please confirm (with evidence) the proven safe distance from one or more wireless ‘Smart’ Meters for humans, animals and other wildlife stating the duration of safe long-term exposure in hours (or minutes/seconds) per day.  Please can you make any special mention of proven safe exposure levels for pregnant women and children.  Also, please explain the impact of multiple ‘Smart’ Meters and the ‘Smart’ Appliances that are intended to accompany them on safety levels, with particular reference to occupants of apartments/terraced housing.

• You state that you are “working with the Department of Health and Health Protection Agency to help ensure that [your] policies continue to be informed by the best information and advice.”

We are familiar with the HPA’s position on RF EMR exposure and have serious concerns about their view – as do a great many scientists, medical professionals and experts who advocate the adoption of a far more precautionary approach to the issue.  The HPA follows standards developed by ICNIRP; these same standards were voted out of date and obsolete by the EU Parliament on 4th September 2008, 522 votes to 16.  This was after many members of the EU Parliament had read and taken into account the findings of the 2007 BioInitiative Report, a practice which ICNIPR itself promotes.

At a presentation to the Radiation Research Trust Conference in September 2008, Paolo Vecchia, the Chairman of ICNIRP, made the following statement: “The ICNIPR guidelines are neither mandatory prescriptions for safety, the “last word” on the issue nor are they defensive walls for Industry or others.”  This comment makes it clear that any decision to adopt these guidelines into national legislation as “sufficient to protect public health” is political.

• You state that “system security is… a top priority in the Government’s work on smart meters” and that you are “working with the appropriate range of experts and following best practice to ensure security is properly built in to system design”.

What, therefore, is your view on GCHQ’s comments about ‘Smart’ Meters creating a “strategic vulnerability” to the UK’s energy infrastructure which will “leave families prone to terrorist attacks”?      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2156648/Government-plans-install-smart-meters-homes-leave-open-cyber-attack.html#ixzz1xIbotW39

On this issue of security, we have posted a disturbing video where ethical hackers in Germany showed how easily they were able to penetrate the (supposed) best practice-based ‘Smart’ Meter security to determine how people spend their private time at home, even including what films and other content they watch on television and when they watch it.  This kind of data gathering is a gross invasion of privacy and it is easy to see how it would be misused.  http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/move-over-murdoch-how-to-hack-a-smart-meter

• Are you consulting with other nations and agencies who are highlighting unforeseen risks presented by the so-called ‘Smart’ Grid, such as the FBI in the US who recently highlighted hugely expensive ‘Smart’ Meter security problems costing one company alone up to $400m per year due to security breaches?  http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/fbi-smart-meter-hacks-likely-to-spread-utilities-are-unprepared/ .  As is stated in our Notice, former CIA Director James Woolsey referred to the ‘Smart Grid’ ides as a “really, really stupid idea” and he is far from being alone in this view.

• We are concerned that your consultation process is not including experts such as hacking expert David Chalk who believes that, with a web-enabled ‘Smart Grid’, there is a “100% certainty of a total catastrophic failure of the entire energy grid within 3 years” creating a scenario “worse than nuclear war”.  His stark warning also referenced the fact that “there is not a power meter or device on the grid that is protected from hacking – if not already infected – with some sort of trojan horse that can cause the grid to be shut down or completely annihilated.”  http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/hacking-expert-david-chalk-joins-urgent-call-to-halt-smart-grid

• We also wish to again raise the issue of EMP threats, both man-made and solar-derived (http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/smart-meter-vulnerabilities-to-space-weather-manmade-emp-and-cyber-attacks).  In the UK, ‘Smart’ Meters are being designed so they can be disconnected remotely.  This may be a serious design flaw that could easily be exploited by hackers, cyber terrorists and rogue nations.  What is your view on this?

• We also wish to take this opportunity to mention the risks posed to ‘Smart’ Meters by extremely cold weather.  The lowest temperature that UK Smart Meters are designed to operate in are in fact often exceeded during very cold spells in many areas of the UK.  It is predicted that for outdoor meters this failing could result in inaccurate meter readings being given, and even meter shut down which could result in many people being left without heat or water at a time when they most need it.  What is your view on this?

In closing, you say that you believe that ‘Smart’ Meters “will bring important benefits to consumers and to the nation”.  In contrast, we believe that if you allow the ‘Smart’ Meter programme to continue, this period in human history will be regarded as the inception of a new ‘dark’ age where the lights – cognitively and literally – went out.

We hope that you will take time to seriously reconsider your department’s position on this hugely risky ‘Smart’ Meter programme.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Your sincerely,

Stop Smart Meters! (UK)

2 Comments
  1. Stop smart meters, learn from America and Australia, we don’t need to copy

  2. Hi Hilary,

    Agreed – we should be taking heed from the disastrous impacts being seen elsewhere and taking far more notice of the threats that these programmes present.