ON THE topic of smart meters, which Harry Hopkins wrote about in TCW recently, I am not sure whether our ministers are ignorant or deliberately misleading us.
In September I wrote to my MP about the Energy Bill, expressing my concerns about forcible installation and about electro-sensitivity. My MP passed my email to the relevant minister. The answer from the Minister for Nuclear and Networks, Andrew Bowie MP, is wrong in so many respects and on so many levels.
Here is part of Mr Bowie’s reply to my MP:
‘Thank you for your email dated 21 September enclosing correspondence from your constituent, Mr Awkward Git.
‘Smart meters are replacing traditional gas and electricity meters as part of a national infrastructure upgrade that will make our energy system more efficient and flexible, enabling us to use more renewable energy and reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels, thereby increasing our energy security. I would like to take this opportunity to address Mr Git’s concerns.
‘There have recently been incorrect reports in the media about the Energy Bill. There are no plans in it to allow smart meters to be forcibly installed. The smart metering measure in the Energy Bill simply relates to extending existing legal powers for smart metering for a further five years.
‘The smart metering rollout is underpinned by consumer choice. There is no legal obligation on consumers to accept a smart meter.
‘While smart meters are not mandatory for energy consumers, the Government wants as many homes and small businesses as possible to be able to benefit from them. Therefore, we have taken measures to normalise smart metering as the default meter offer in Great Britain. This includes obligating energy suppliers under their licence conditions to take all reasonable steps to install a smart meter where a meter is fitted for the first time or when an existing meter needs to be replaced.
‘Regarding Mr Git’s concerns about electro-sensitivity, smart meters use radio waves to allow remote readings to be taken from gas and electricity meters. There is no evidence that radio waves produced by smart meters pose a health risk.
‘The predecessor organisation to the UK Health Security Agency, Public Health England (PHE), carried out an extensive programme of research to assess exposure from smart meters . . . The results of this research confirmed PHE’s advice that exposure to radio waves from smart meters is well below the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines.
‘It is also worth noting that exposure to radio waves from smart meters is likely to be much lower than that from other everyday devices, such as mobile phones. Further information about this topic can be found here.
‘I would also like to emphasise that the public’s safety is a priority for the smart meter rollout. As part of the smart meter installation process, installers are required to undertake a visual safety check. This provides a unique opportunity for installers to spot pre-existing safety related issues within customer homes, unrelated to the smart meter installation, that need to be addressed.
‘We regularly review safety issues with suppliers and share best practice to ensure the highest standards are met. As such, the rollout of smart meters is delivering a net-safety benefit to homes and businesses across Great Britain.
‘Thank you for writing to highlight Mr Git’s concerns. I trust this information will be helpful.’
This is part of my reply to my MP:
‘Unfortunately the statement about there being no health effects on humans is incorrect as shown many, many times over many, many years.
‘Having lived with someone who does have electromagnetic hypersensitivity [my wife] I can assure you it is real and very debilitating to health of both humans and wildlife.
‘The remark about smart meters being “safe” as they meet the relevant standards has been proven wrong as well by scientific research over many years as well by having a “safe limit” of exposure up to 30,000 times what is actually safe.
‘The standards are outdated and were written before mobile phones, wi-fi, smart meters were even envisioned and have not been updated to take these into account.
‘And the remarks about not having smart meters forcibly installed – has the minister (or you) actually read the legislation? I think not.
‘Basically the answer is total nonsense and gives me, yet again on yet another subject, absolutely zero confidence that anyone either in Government, MPs and their researchers, the Opposition nor the civil service advisers has an inkling on what they are writing and making speeches about.
‘It is all just pre-prepared propaganda being repeated ad nauseam in the same words spoken by different Governments on different countries all at the same time that bears no relation to reality. Where do these “replies” come from? Who writes them and distributes them to their captive politicians all over the world?
‘But thank you for taking the time to write the relevant person in Government and forwarding the reply.’