US utility regulator says smart meters not harmful to health

April 3, 2014

On the US east coast, Main Public Utility Commission says it isn’t convinced that smart meters pose a health treat, striking a blow to the body of anti-meter activists in the state. A hearing examiner from the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) compiled a 67-page report to investigate concerns that radio-frequency emissions from meters and wireless networks are harmful to human health.

The report will help the commission to take a final position on the protracted case involving health issues taking place in the state, which is expected later this year.

The PUC study gathered written and oral testimonies from expert witnesses on the connection between brain tumors and the use of cellphones, and from residents who link the meters with symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. After reviewing the testimony, the PUC staff said that the scientific evidence presented in the case is inconclusive and that no credible, peer-reviewed studies show a direct health risk from smart meters.

The studies that do show a risk are based on exposures to much higher radio-frequency levels, the staff noted. The staff also determined that the radio-frequency emissions from the smart-meter network comply with federal safety standards, and that no state or federal regulatory body or health agency in the United States or Canada has found smart meters to be unsafe.

The report said it agreed with the World Health Organization and others that more research is needed, especially since radio-frequency-emitting devices are now so common.

Fighting back

Anti-smart meter activists have until April 11 to dispute the examiner’s report.

In 2009, the PUC approved utility Central Maine Power Company’s plan to replace analogue electricity meters with digital smart meters for its 620,000 customers. Health activists soon objected, joined by residents who claimed that they suffered from various medical symptoms after the meters were installed.

In 2012, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court agreed with the activists and ordered the PUC to take a second look at the health issues.


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