17th April 2014
VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT’S SMART METER HEALTH AUDIT
Stop Smart Meters Australia (SSMA) welcomes Mr Russell Northe MP to his new portfolio and trusts that his appointment as Minister for Energy and Resources will bring with it a reality check on a number of unresolved issues in relation to the Victorian Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) rollout.
SSMA formally incorporated as an Association in April 2013, in response to the community’s objections to the Victorian AMI rollout. Paramount within our legal purposes is to provide support and assistance to people opposed to the forced rollout of smart meters on the grounds of health, privacy, security, safety and cost.
Ms Janobai Smith, Spokesperson for SSMA, said:
“Stop Smart Meters Australia takes exception to the inequity of the current AMI rollout policy, having made no provision for the reinstatement of analogue or interval-only meters, in cases where consumers are suffering health effects as a result of wireless smart meter emissions. We believe it is imperative this issue be urgently addressed.”
“We were heartened that an independent audit, to determine whether there are any health risks associated with smart meters, was announced by Mr Northe’s predecessor earlier this year. However, the Victorian Government has failed to advise Victorians who will be conducting the audit, and what the time frame is for it.”
“SSMA believes that the scope of this audit should be extended beyond that of earlier investigations which, patently, have suffered from serious systemic faults. As a concerned community group, we would appreciate the opportunity to have input into this process” commented Ms Smith.
The aim of the AMI Meter Electromagnetic Field Survey, commissioned by the Victorian Government in 2011, was to determine if emissions from smart meters met the relevant ARPANSA standard. As its authors acknowledged, the ARPANSA standard is only designed to protect from heat injury and does not take into account other biological effects. A number of scientific studies have shown that non-thermal effects can and do lead to highly undesirable health outcomes. In SSMA’s opinion, seeking to confirm that smart meter emissions met the current ARPANSA standard, whilst ignoring non-thermal effects, was a waste of taxpayers’ funds.
Similarly, although Energy Safe Victoria’s 2012 report into safety was titled ‘Safety of Advanced Metering Infrastructure in Victoria’, ESV abrogated its responsibilities in regards to health concerns by stating that potential health effects was the subject of separate regulatory arrangements administered by ACMA, which incorporates ARPANSA’s exposure limits and that they had also been subject to a Victorian Government review (i.e. the aforementioned AMI Meter Electromagnetic Field Survey).
Ms Smith states,
“We believe that it is vital that the audit seriously considers why so many Victorians and people elsewhere claim to have developed symptoms, or to have had existing symptoms exacerbated, as a result of the rollout of wireless advanced metering infrastructure. As a minimum, we believe that Victorians who have claimed adverse health effects as a result of smart meters should be interviewed. Written evidence submitted to the UK Parliament in 2012 attested to the fact that the pulsed radiation from smart meters has resulted in thousands of health complaints world-wide. More than 10,000 health-related complaints were submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission alone, and included personal testimonies from medical doctors, psychotherapists and nurses regarding their own symptoms. The costs to government, within this unfolding drama, are real.”
Ms Smith continues
“SSMA is pleased that the government recognizes the importance of ensuring the audit be conducted by an independent organization. SSMA believes that, in order to ensure the audit’s credibility, it is imperative that the personnel concerned have no vested interest in the outcome. As an example, although the AMI Meter Electromagnetic Field Survey has been described as an independent report, there appears to be a close link between industry and one of its chief authors.”
“Clearly, as the matter at issue involves current and potential future health risks to the Victorian population, all personnel tasked with preparing the audit must necessarily have relevant medical qualifications with respect to non-ionizing radiation.”
“SSMA is concerned that the scope of the audit be sufficiently broad to encompass all areas of concern in relation to health. Unfortunately, AMI technology has been rolled out worldwide prior to the undertaking of any studies relating to safety. Specifically, we ask that the audit extend to considering biological testing that seeks to establish whether smart meter emissions cause effects such as breaches of the blood/brain barrier, selective release of calcium from cell membranes, DNA single and double strand breaks and nerve cell death. Additionally, do these effects vary within the population? For example, regulatory bodies in a number of countries are increasingly concerned with the effects of radiofrequency radiation on children” said Ms Smith.