Opt-Out and Opt-in Programs Across the U.S.


An increasing number of states and/or utilities are offering opt-outs of smart meters. While smart meters should be banned—along with all other wireless devices and digital electrical meters—until they are made safe for humans and other organisms, at least opt-outs provide some relief from the harm of EMFs. Below is a table of smart meter opt-outs and opt-ins.
Eugene, Oregon, offers an opt in to smart meters.

Analog meters are definitively offered as the opt-out meter in four states: Arizona, California, Maine, and Texas. The Nevada public service commission urges the utilites to provide the meter that will have the “greatest customer acceptance,” which, clearly, is the analog.

Three states offer the “existing meter” as the opt-out meter. An existing meter might or might not be analog.  Georgia, Hawaii, and Consumers Energy in Michigan.

Three states let the utility decide: Florida, Maryland, and Nevada. The Nevada public service commission urges the utilites to provide the meter that will have the “greatest customer acceptance,” which, clearly, is the analog.

Four states or utilities definitively forbid analog opt-outs: Fountain in Colorado, DTE in Michigan, Central Hudson Valley in New York (AMR), and Port Angeles in Washington (touted as the first place to ban smart meters—not much help you are required to have a digital meter on your home!).

Two states/districts require smart meters: Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.

The remaining states with opt-outs have policies that are unclear or that do not provide for analog opt-outs.

Opt-outs that do not provide for analog meters are the least useful, because of the harm from dirty electricity. Opt-outs like that currently in Michigan and other states that simply turn off the radio that transmits to the utility but leave in the transmitter, antennas, and the ZigBee wireless radio are the absolute worst.

Note that the AMR meters offered by utilities like Tucson Electric Power (TEP) are as dangerous as the regular smart meter. They are not a drive-by AMR meter that wakes up only when someone with handheld device drives by. They communicate with the utility every 30 seconds according to the information on TEP’s own website, often via collection towers. In some instances, their signal is picked up by drive-by meter readers. Regardless, any AMR meter and any digital meter generates dirty electricity. The only meter that does not generate dirty electricity or emit RF is an analog meter.

SmartGridLegalNews provides periodic, but not always up-to-date, news on smart meter opt-outs.


Smart Meter Bans or Opt-Ins

Smart Meter Bans in California
Over 50 local governments in California have voted to ban smart meters. See StopSmartMeters.org for a list.

Unincorporated areas of Marin County vote to ban smart meters for another year.  The Board of Supervisors, declaring "a current and immediate threat to public health, safety and welfare," outlawed installation of the meters but left enforcement issues up in the air. The state Public Utilities Commission, and not the county board, has jurisdiction over the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. meter program.

County supervisors also agreed to post information about Smart Meters on the county website, and consider appointment of a "point person" to help residents with questions about meter matters.

PG&E's Brittany McKannay said 191,931 Smart Meters have been installed in Marin, and 3,495 customers have opted out.   February 4, 2014.

Fairfax Town Council in Marin County, California  unanimously votes to impose three-year ban on the installation of Pacific Gas and Electric's smart meters. Fairfax Mayor David Weinsoff said that when the Fairfax Town Council conducted public hearings on smart meters in 2010, the community's opposition was overwhelming. "When a community speaks so loudly and so wisely, really there was no question that the council should continue to impose this moratorium," Weinsoff said.

Just like DTE, the California utility says that local entities cannot impose a moratorium. Several California governmental entities, including the Fairfax Town Council and the Marin County Board of Supervisors, have filed an administrative challenge to California’s opt-out ruling.

Fairfax Councilman Larry Bragman says that the meters are a poor investment of ratepayers' money and that "there are potential health effects that have not been fully studied. The impact to privacy has not been dealt with effectively by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). That is becoming more of an issue, now that the awareness of privacy issues has become so much more a matter of public concern."  February 10, 2014.

Opt-In in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene, Oregon’s municipal utility, EWEB, requires people to opt in to smart meters. People can keep their existing meter, which may or may not be an analog.  City of Eugene Resolution No. 1322, October 1, 2013.

Port Angeles, Washington Bans Smart Meters But Requires Digital Meters.



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Terms to Know

Advanced meter: smart meter (term used by DTE to hide the fact it is a smart meter).

AMI meter and AMI program: another name for the smart meter and the smart meter program. AMI stands for advanced metering infrastructure.

Blood-brain barrier: EMFs can cause the blood-brain barrier to be breached, allowing toxins to enter the brain. Toxin entry is thought to be partially responsible for Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Dirty electricity: spiky, pulsed electromagnetic field generated by smart meters that rides through building wiring and permeates the building’s rooms. Responsible for many of the health problems seen with smart and digital meters.

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs): consist of an electrical field and a magnetic field. Fields are created by the flow of electrical current through the wire, sunlight, etc.  

Electromagnetic frequency: examples are 60 Hz electrical current of your home, RF of a cell phone. Often used interchangeably with electromagnetic field.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS): sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. Symptoms are complex and involve all bodily systems

Hydrogen bonds: Electrostatic bonds that help hold the DNA double helix together. Breakage of hydrogen bonds may cause changes in DNA that can lead to cancer. RF and other EMFs may disrupt the Hydrogen bonds.

Meter upgrade: the installation of an advanced (smart) meter on your home by DTE.

Microwave radiation: the type of radiation emitted by smart meters. Known to cause biological harm.

Non-transmitting meter: another name for the DTE and Consumers opt-out meters.

Opt-out meter: this is a smart meter. The only thing that is different is the radio-transmitter is turned off. It still generates dirty electricity, it still retains the two antennas, and it is only incrementally less harmful to your health. It can still record detailed information about your electrical usage.

Radio-disabled meter: another name for the DTE opt-out meter.

Radio-off meter: another name for the DTE opt-out meter.

Radiofrequency (RF): high-frequency electromagnetic waves in the range of 10 MHz to 300 Ghz. All wireless devices, including smart meters, cell phones, and Wi-Fi emit RF.

Switched mode power supplycontained in all smart meters, it creates dirty electricity.

van der Waals bonds: an extremely weak electromagnetic force that helps hold the DNA double helix together. Breakage of the van der Waals bond may cause changes in DNA that can lead to cancer. RF and other EMFs can disrupt the van der Waals bonds.