‘Smart’ meter opponents say similar electrical meters made them ill

Paul Jameson and Donna Greco (above) had some some Woodstockers craft a Faraday cage around their electrical meter

Paul Jameson and Donna Greco (photo by Ashley Drewes)

foiled meter SQ

A Faraday cage on Doreen Peone’s electrical meter (photo by Ashley Drewes)

Skeptics say it’s all in their heads. They say they’re canaries in the coal mine.

Across the country, some people are reporting new utility meters are making them feel ill because of the radiofrequency radiation they emit when transmitting usage data. Headaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and vertigo are frequent symptoms.


Skeptics cite studies that show no ill health effects, and point out that the vast majority of consumers suffer no symptoms and challenge anyone who believes these devices pose a threat to also refrain from using wireless Internet, microwave ovens and cell phones. Responses to those points vary, but it generally boils down to a question of choice—people can control their exposure to devices, but not to a mandatory piece of equipment attached to their home by a municipality or utility.

In Saugerties, the planned installation of 1,800 new water meters in the Glasco Water District became controversial after several residents began warning their neighbors the new meters were unsafe. Though nobody reported a negative experience with the new water meters, several said new electric meters made them feel ill and believe water meters pose similar risks because they also transmit data remotely, though not as often.

Read: Some residents say water meter installers took them by surprise

County Legislator Bob Aiello says he doesn’t have a new “smart” electrical meter, but his neighbor, Doreen Peone, does. After hearing concerns about the new water meters from constituents, he inspected Peone’s electrical meter together with his wife Christine. “I got a funny sensation in my chest, a funny pressure,” he said. “I kinda stepped back and it went away. I’m kind of a hypochondriac about things like this, but I felt something.”

Peone said the new meter has caused ringing in her ears. “I am feeling ill health effects that I believe are related to the installation of the meters,” she said.

Peone says her doctor has been receptive to information she provided him about smart meter-related health problems, though he did not attribute her health problems to electromagnetic radiation.

Several Woodstock residents helped install a makeshift aluminum foil Faraday cage around Peone’s electric meter two weeks ago to mitigate the effects of the radiation.

Peone believes others are suffering meter-related illness but may not even realize it and that the new water meters will compound these problems.

Fellow Barclay Heights residents, Donna Greco and husband Paul Jameson, also complain of health effects from their electrical meter.

“When I am away from the house I feel better,” said Jameson.

Greco agrees: “We sleep better. I think [the meter] disturbs our sleep.”

According to Greco, the couple’s doctor has not found a cause for their ailments.

Greco doesn’t have any aluminum foil around her meter, though she has considered using an instrument to read the radiation from the meter. She says that several individuals from Woodstock are currently offering to read the radiation from anyone’s smart meter for a fee of $50, but she doesn’t wish to spend that much.


There are 50 comments

  1. common sense

    did you ever notice that these people always complain of ailments that doctors can never pin down, rather than something like cancer or heart disease, It’s always ringing in the ears, or vertigo.

    1. brian

      that’s a good question, let’s see what the NAVY, ARMY, FDA, CIA, DARPA, EPA have to say about your statements shall we?

  2. Hika

    Hey Common Sense. I suggest that you check this video out for recorded information on what standing in front of a smart meter does to human blood cells. Maybe it is this that causes ringing in the ears?! The link can be found here and is pretty damning in terms of the effects the smart meter signals can have on human blood. Not good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAjX6Ap02dU&feature=share&list=UUBmSbCRd_Jj5NgV3xTwrkHA

    I’d also say that it seems pretty stupid to me to deploy millions of meters that have not been tested in terms of the effects they have. But wait a minute, maybe the billion dollar stimulus is the reason. This money goes straight to the electricity companies after all. I know that I wouldn’t want to wait around for tests if I could make hundreds of millions of dollars….

    1. common sense

      you don’t want to stand near one of these meters, but every year you go to your gyno, or twice a year to your dentist and you let them expose you to higher doses of radiation, while they stand behind shields of lead protecting themselves????!!?? What’s wrong with this picture? Does your home have radon gas in the basement – that will do you in faster than the meters will. Or how about plastic bottles, still using those, or using a cell phone, or driving a car, or crossing Partition Street in the village, breathing in fumes from new rugs.

      there are a whole lot of things out there that can do you and yours in, the little bit from the meters ain’t one of them.

      1. Hika

        I can’t disagree with you that the medical industry exposes us to higher levels of radiation. That said, how many times do you go to get a scan/x-ray/etc? Twice a year? How long are you exposed for? 10 seconds each time? Now, compare that to a smart meter that is on your home, or if you live in an apartment block, maybe you’re the unlucky one that shares a wall with a bank of them. Now think that for every minute that you spend in the sacred space of your own home, 14,000 spikes of “communication” (radiation) each day (under court order, PG&E had to admit to this) are running through your body. Now consider a study on health effects vs safety standards that showed changes in sperm DNA fragmentation & decrease in sperm viability at 1.0uw/cm2, headaches, dizziness, irritability, fatigue, weakness, insomnia, chest pain, difficulty breathing and indigestion all also at 1.0, altered calcium metabolism in heart muscles at 2.5. changes in hippocampus affecting memory and hearing at 4.0, DNA damage at 6.0 and now further consider that smart meters emit signals at 8.0 14,000 times a day. Dude, hopefully now you can see how flawed your argument is. Good luck with keeping healthy with one of them on your home. Mine is gone, I just don’t want any nonsensical legislation getting put in place that enforces this nonsense!

      2. Lyme disease and you

        It seems that you are uninformed about what you call ” A little bit from the meters”. Do you have one yet? They are doing more harm then good to your health and it’s not just a little bit! The only thing being said good about them is the company who sells them and wants you to believe that are safe. Yes…there are many other kinds of dangers that lurk around us on a daily basis but I rather like the idea of feeling safe in the privacy of my own home. The smart meters will not allow you to have that either. They are an invasion of your privacy also. Gathering information about your habits in your home is not private. I suggest you find out more about these before you judge those who know what’s really going on. If I wanted to be exposed to radiation I would have built my house under a cell tower! There are no safe levels when it comes to radiation. Read this from The American Academy of Environmental Medicine

  3. Maud Crossing

    Wireless smart meters will ultimately contribute to the looming health curse of the 21st century. Utility companies tell you that smart meters are safe. Anything that interferes with the natural biological structure of living things is a threat to human life and all living things. Bees do not return to their hives if their hives are within 80 meters of a smart meter. Some ornamental plants do not survive longer than a few days when placed within 2 meters of a smart meter. Tens of thousands of people worldwide have become sick since smart meters were installed in their homes. Most of these sick people’s beds are within 3 meters of a smart meter. World renowned scientists are warning of the dangers of the harmful effects of ever increasing electromagnetic smog, the invisible silent killer that is becoming impossible to avoid in heavily populated areas of most of the modern world. (Compulsory) smart meters deny people of choice as to how much EMR they wish to be exposed to in their homes – smart meters interacting with other smart meters (meshing) emit almost constant radiation as transmissions to and fro can occur more than a thousand times a day, despite what the utility companies tell you. And unlike your wi-fi equipment, smart meters cannot be turned off. Everyone will ultimately be adversely affected by the escalating culture of smart meter madness, and indeed the increasing trivial use of wireless technology.
    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti –

    1. db

      Wikipedia notes, “Quackwatch lists the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) as a questionable organization, and its certifying board, the American Board of Environmental Medicine as a dubious certifying board. They are not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.”

      A great source for the echo chamber, though.

      1. brian

        Quackwatch, if you are without a clue, will curse anything that works, any group for a good cause and convince you the only things on the planet that are good is flouride, vaccines, and other forms of… death. If wiki is your source of good information… god have mercy on your soul… that is the biggest joke of all time. Is the US Army, Navy, Russian Military, FDA, EPA, CIA, DARPA and Pentagon ‘recognized’ by the ABMS? So, ALL the just above agencies have, for decades affirmed the statements of AAEM. So what do you have to say for yourself now? http://bcfreedom.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/microwaves-mutations-and-the-military-part-2/

        1. Derek

          You’ve still yet to present any peer-reviewed scientific evidence.

          Of course, you tend to mock “peer-review” in general, even though it’s how *actual* science is done.

  4. Not-touching-this-with-a-ten-foot-pole

    As my name implies, I’m not touching this topic with a ten foot pole…aside from this. I thought I might add though that aluminum foil really possesses no serious shielding properties. If you want to block the transmitted frequency, you need to look into copper shielding.

    On a side note, you should do some research on the frequency spectrum.

  5. common sense

    well now that we have all of you in one place, it will be easier to track your movements and to see what you are all up to. What type of havoc you are attempting to spread, rumor mongering, and mischief making. It’s easy to track you when you leave your homes, or bunkers, the police are constantly monitoring your vehicle movements with their license identification equipment, and via ezpass should you try to leave the area. Is that someone following you, our an innocent bystander on the corner, are they following you, are your doctor’s records really secure???

    Have a safe and happy day.
    Be seeing you!

    1. brian

      Actually, another one with zero clue what they are talking about. If someone does their research and understands the issue, it is ‘they are paranoid’ might I suggest you do some research yourself? There is a big difference between fear and awareness of danger. Remember, the NSA was just looking for ‘terrorists’ etc.
      It’s great you want to trash people who are only looking out for the rights of you and your kids… but at the same time write nonsense like be safe and happy? Does this imply that people who do their homework are ‘unhappy’ or ‘unsafe’? What does this mean? Are your dr’s records secure? No they are not… what is your point? Should someone, including people who can hack my meter, be able to monitor my every move so they can come in and steal people’s kids? Do things to their wives or daughters? Come on man… make some sense for a change. Is it so bad that people do their research, when people are hacking baby monitors and swearing at kids from remote locations… knowing who and when someone is home? Give us a break… you can poke fun at everyone you want and bring up things like radon or god knows what else you want… it still doesn’t stop the truth. Sure, there is exhaust fumes on the planet… and? Does that mean we need to be exposed to that AND RF/EMF from smart meters, their routers, and ALL the meters in a 125 mile area? Does that make any sense? Would you send your kid, if you had the choice into a room with 10 smokers or 1? Think for 2 seconds on that, if you can… Other people are dumb enough to use cell phones, cordless phones… does that mean people who want to have the choice not radiated in their own home by default use these devices just because other people are to dumb to do their homework? Should my baby have to be exposed because there is radon in someones house? Government is taking away choice… I thought you liked freedom, if not, then go to a dictator country, they are already where you want your country to be!

  6. Inside Nine

    Smart Meters: All benefits to the utility companies. The Costs: way too high. Why are devices which could compromise my health placed anywhere near me. I’ll read my own meter and report to the utility if it will save them a bit of cash. These devices are just helping the “fat cats” get fatter at our expense. Doesn’t anybody really care anymore?

  7. Henry

    You are confusing water meters that are on for only seconds per year with electrical meters that are constantly transmitting. There is plenty of correct information available that you ignore. WHy are you choosing to scare people unnecessarily? I think promoting wrong information to scare people is mean.

    1. koncerned in kaatsbaan

      The electric meters are coming too! Already installed in many places. If the concerns are valid about electric meters we need to be having this conversation.

  8. Sarah

    This all boils down to property rights. I find it incredibly disconcerting that so many people think these citizens should just allow this device to be installed on their property. People are so ready to give up their rights and buy into the government propaganda. If people have serious concerns about these devices, then they have every right as property owners not to allow them installed on their properties. Property owners are going to be footing the bill for these meters. Why are people so willing to give up their rights and chastise others who stand up for theirs? Why do people try to intimidate and bully others into apathy? WHAT GIVES?

    1. Derek

      You still have your property rights. But if you want access to municipal water, then you use the equipment they dictate. Otherwise, dig a well and have fun.

      1. Jerry

        Very strange perspective. This suggests people should either opt out or go along with whatever the local government does. What about making your voice heard, informing your neighbors, seeking support for an alternative? What about participating in the process? In this case it’s probably too late to make much of a difference because the meters have already been purchased but I think it’s pretty clear if people had been paying attention when this vote happened they would have objected on not only health grounds but is-it-worth it grounds. I’d rather live in a town where people participate in self government rather than isolate themselves if they don’t like something.

        1. Derek

          But here’s the thing: the public is, in general, not experts in the field they’re trying to have a say in. Frankly, I don’t want the easily-crazed folks who confuse VLF and UHF, or who will happily yap on their cell phone for hours, to be the ones setting the standard – via a political process – for something scientific like RF emissions.

          Let the experts in their field make their decisions, and if you don’t like those decisions, there’s excellent ways to opt-out of their process. But holding the public hostage to folks who don’t understand science is the wrong way to go about things.

          1. Derek

            Sarah: Not at all. But I don’t trust today’s Internet Junkies who have no concept of what actual science is, to be the ones who decide for the rest of us what scientific progress is acceptable.

            In my experience, anyway, the same people who latch onto the (smart-meters, these-chemicals-in-your-food-are-actually-toxic, you name it) bandwagons are the same ones I have to point at Snopes three times a day to refute the nonsense they spew.

            Again – nobody’s making you take municipal water. If you don’t like the hardware they use to deliver the service, don’t use it. Build your own competing water service, or dig a well, or have your water trucked in from the outside into a tank.

  9. Sarah

    That’s fine, but I don’t understand the attitude when people stand up for their rights. No wells with have to be dug if the government worked together with its citizens. WHAT IS WITH THE ATTITUDE?

    Here’s a video of installers hoping fence into woman’s yard to install meter and they had police back up.


    1. Derek

      One person is not “science”. Show me the peer-reviewed scientific research showing the danger.

      ProTip: There ain’t much of it.

  10. Sarah

    Derek, people have shown you plenty of evidence and you have belittled everything they have shown you. I think you will only be satisfied with your opinion, which is your right. I am not going to waste my time digging up articles for you to belittle.

    1. Derek

      People have shown me plenty of STUFF, but precious little of it with actual scientific peer-review, which is how *real* science is done.

      If you don’t want to present scientifically-sound evidence of your position, that’s clearly your right, but it weighs heavily on how much credence it will be given.

  11. Sarah

    Also, much research these days unfortunately is paid for by companies or institutions who would benefit from it. And yes, many chemicals in food are toxins and that is rather mainstream knowledge. But you can make decisions for yourself what you will but in your body, what you will do with your property, but no one, scientists, you, whomever, can determine what others should do.

    1. Derek

      That’s why the peer-review process exists. So that individual “made to order” research has to be able to be replicated by other people, the data (and the collection methodology for that data) open to scrutiny by independent scientific analysis, etc.

      But none of the research I’ve seen any of the “anti smart-meter” crowd put forward has been peer-reviewed. Odd, that, no?

      1. Sarah

        No I don’t find it odd as most research is in journals which are behind pay walls. And there isn’t information on smart meters readily available except for the status quo research which backs up the federal governments policies.

        1. Derek

          Journals have these things called “abstracts” which outline the premise, and the outcome, of research, EVEN IF you still have to be a paying member of the scientific society in question to read the whole thing. They’re how you know which journal articles you want to pay to download and read.

          Except you won’t find much in the way of abstracts that support the anti-smart-meter positions, either.


    Derek: How do you square this with previous comments about freedom and mob rule? When the town said the Food Truck Festival on Rt. 212 couldn’t have people parking along a busy road and needed to file permits like other large festivals, you wrote:

    “Zoning exists because “Person A” thinks he knows better than “Person B” what “Person B” should do with their property, and “Person A” got together with a whole bunch of other people and through the miracle known as the “Tyranny of the Majority” now gets to FORCE Person B to what Person A wants.”


    “you believe in mob rule. I get it. “If me and enough of my buddies agree you need to do something, you need to do something”. Never mind freedom, it’s all about the tyranny of the majority.
    Tell me – how many people do I need to meet you with in an alley to be able to label “mugging you” as “taxation”.”

    Based on this reasoning, I would think this issue is a much better case of person A deciding what person B should do with their property, and your conclusion that everyone needs to go along with a prevailing view of the safety of smart meters because only a minority are opposing it is exactly like mob rule! (By the way, do you really think people in the middle of a densely packed subdivision in barclay heights are going to dig their own well? Is that even allowed? And are you really suggesting the town should force people to spend thousands on this rather than let them opt out of the new meter?)

    1. Derek


      Here’s the difference: nobody is making people get municipal water. So the water company can set whatever standards (in terms of hardware used to deliver that product) it wants, and if you don’t like them, don’t buy your water from them. (I would further contend that the water company has no right to demand support from taxpayers, and should be living off of its customer-base like any private company).

      In other words, there is no “tyranny of the majority” at play there because nobody can force you to do anything. (They can put conditions on the use of their facilities but that’s no different).

      Can you see the difference?



        Yes, I see what you’re saying. It makes sense if you’re coming from an antagonistic point of view toward the government instead of thinking of it as a representative of the community’s interests. That logic squares with your other comments.

        by the way, there is no water company, just like there’s no highway company. It’s just the town or village, depending. The government owns the reservoir and the infrastructure and bills users. And it does live off its customer-base. The water dept. budget is separate from the part of the budget funded by taxpayers. (Although the town as a whole is buying the meters, so that part isn’t separate … strange because in other cases of capital projects only the residents in the area payed)

        1. Derek

          I think history shows that it’s wise to have an antagonistic view towards the government. They very rarely, if ever, have anyone’s back but the folks sitting in the leather-backed chairs.

          I shouldn’t have said “water company” so much as “water provider” because you’re right, it is an operation wholly owned-and-operated by the gov’t. And you’re right (and I would agree) that the town at-large shouldn’t have paid for the meters, the “water department” should have, out of their operating budget that gets funded by customers.

  13. common sense

    the BIG LIE – if you say it loud enough and long enough you hope people will believe it. As Derek said, you do not have to get the water meters, you can dig your own well, however it you like the convenience of town provided water then you must dance to their tune and let them install a new water meter. That’s how it works.
    If you don’t like it, then vote those out who are making you use the meters, that’s how a democracy works. However I’ve yet to see any of the candidates saying that they oppose the installation of the meters, which seems that you are screwed.
    Maybe you can run next year and get the decision reversed and have the meters removed, but till then you can foment revolution, and rise up and overthrow the government, but other than that. The current body politic was elected by the majority to represent the majority.

  14. Stacey

    I thank all of you for your concerned intelligent input on this important issue. Yes, these are an unnecessary health risk, particularly since the old water meters work just fine.
    I agree with Sarah’s assessment of Derek being fascist, he does seem like an apologist for Big Brother and perhaps is here purely with the intent to shill. Wouldn’t be the first time a government shill posed online as just another citizen.
    People have absolutely every right to have the final say about what gets installed on their own property, furthermore, the Town made this deal with the meter company *without* getting input from the Home owners, whose TAX DOLLARS would be financing this “project”.
    Bravo to the good people of Saugerties for taking a stand on how THEIR OWN Tax dollars will be used.
    Elected officials are put there to HEED the will of their constituents,
    not to enact their own agendas,
    The Tax payers have finally awoken and are claiming their rightful authority to call the shots, the only reason it’s controversial is that the elected officials got too comfy expecting the usual apathy.
    Thankfully, the slumber has worn off ! GO SAUGERTIES CITIZENS, I know you can do it ….

    1. Derek

      If you think I’m a fascist, you’re clearly not reading my writings that often. I’m about as libertarian-anarchist as one can get and still be legally allowed to remain un-incarcerated.

  15. common sense

    so Stacy do you really believe that residents should get to decide on everything that comes before the council? Does that mean you believe the town should assume the cost of a referendum on every issue? That would be costly and time consuming. These folks are elected to represent the people, and do the best they can, not hold a vote every time a tough issue comes up. If you don’t like the decisions they made, vote them out and run for office then you can go to referendum on issues rather than having the backbone to make the decisions. Of all the water meters that are being install, what percentage of those people at who’s homes they are being installed object. A loud minority does not over rule a silent majority – to paraphrase Tricky Dicky.

    1. genaire

      Is there any town in America that puts up for a general vote an under-$1 million project for replacement water system parts?

      If so, how did that work out?

  16. Sarah

    I studied elections in DC and yes states from Alabama to Washington state have elections over ordinances and other small issues.

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