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Opposition Strategies

The content of this page is subject to ongoing revision in response to periodic updates to us from various sources. The actions described herein have met with varying degrees of success, depending upon the competency with which they were applied, as well as the circumstances of each particular instance. The reader is advised that the information herein should not be relied upon without first obtaining professional legal and medical advice. Before proceeding, check to see if your electricity supplier offers a smart meter "opt-out". Please note that some details are specific to Australia.

Much of the section immediately below also applies to smart gas and water meters. A section on these can be found at the bottom of this page. Content relating to opposing microwave towers is currently in preparation.

Smart Electricity Meters

Two of the most commonly installed smart meters in Australia. The Landis & Gyr E350 and iCredit 500.

At present, each State is pursuing a different implementation policy on the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) or "smart grid". This worldwide agenda includes electricity, gas and water meters mounted on each premises. Each connects to the supplier via a 900Mhz microwave network, and both transmits usage data, and receives operational commands. Some residences experience disproportionate EMR since they are set up as "nodes" which collect data from adjacent properties and pass it down the line toward the "collector" usually mounted on a distant power pole or street lamp.

In addition to imposing a finely incremented and adaptable billing regime to opitimise profits, the device profiles daily activities within the premises based upon the energy consumption signature of each appliance. In essence, the technology is a form of unwarranted mass surveillance that has commercial as well as law enforcement value. The promise of a customer interface to "improve energy efficiency" has yet to be delivered to any significant degree.

A chart showing how smart meters profile you daily behaviour via appliance usage.

Victoria was the first State in Australia to enforce blanket installation of smart electricity meters. This resulted in a massive consumer backlash based upon health, privacy and billing issues. Queensland and South Australia have conducted trials and are set to follow. In New South Wales and Tasmania, it appears the plan is to phase them in gradually by stealth or "customer demand", rather than rely upon coercive legislation. This is expected to be driven by a new generation of smart appliances that do not fully function unless connected to a Home Area Network (HAN) via the 2.4GHz ZigBee module embedded within each smart meter. An ability is thereby gained to establish higher billing rates for "non-essential" appliances, disallow their use in times of power shortage, or partner with product manufacturers to enforce warranty conditions or impose a per hour rental-type fee. Consumers are simply being funneled into a shearing shed of endless permutations, none of which have much to do with "saving the planet".

Another little-publicised, industry "innovation" enabled by the AMI is prepayment, whereby the provider bills the customer for a certain amount of future usage, and then, once consumed, the meter cuts off supply via a control signal from head office.

    

ZigBee Module interacts with smart appliances.

Although subject to legal challenge based upon discrimination, customers who do not participate may be levied a fee to opt out and retain their manually read meter. The above situation continues to evolve toward a nation-wide grid, so keep up-to-date with developments in your area.

Does Opposition Work?

Unfortunatley, a sticker is not enough.

This depends upon a number of factors, to be explored further below. Instances where refusal has failed are often the result of the customer being bullied, deceived, exploited, or convinced of some supposedly legal obligation. As an example of the latter, in Victoria power companies received a so-called Government "mandate" to push smart meters as part of the global energy efficiency"and surveillance agenda. However, uncertainty remains as to what extent this is enforceable against the properly expressed wishes of a third party, such as the account holder or occupant. This is probably why thousands of customers who steadfastly resisted have been bypassed for installation, at least so far. Here is the paid advice received from one Barrister on this critical point. http://www.emraware.com/documents/smart_meter_legal_advice.pdf

Who Owns What?

The actual meter box, wiring, fuse panel and underlying building structure are generally the property of the titled landowner. However, the meters are nornally owned by the electricity distributor. According to the terms of a typical service contract, access must be granted for the purpose of data collection, repairs and maintenance. "Upgrades", as in smart meters, are not necessarily specified. Check your Contract. What does this mean in practice when the owner or occupier does not want to be "upgraded" from their existing analogue meter to a "smart" one? The term "Mexican stand-off" comes to mind. The owner has a Common Law right not to be trespassed against or have posessions modified, devalued, or "damaged" without consent.

Here is the relevant Australian Court ruling that can be cited to service providers and the police as a precedent for the right not to be trespassed. Make a copy and keep it by your door. http://www.emraware.com/documents/plenty_v_dillon.pdf

  

Apartment buildings have banks of smart meters which subject adjacent residents to even higher levels of EMR.

Even if the building is a rental property, the occupant is lawfully entitled to certain benefits such as safety, privacy, and enjoyment. However, prior to any any action against installation of a smart meter, it would be prudent to ensure the landlord, or his authorised agent, are "on side" and willing to support you. You might find it motivating to suggest that the increasing negative publicity surrounding smart metering could, for all future times, make the property less attractive to prospective tenants, or buyers.

Implied Consent

What many do not realise until too late is that their "consent" for a smart meter has already been given; not specifically but by legal implication arising from accepting the electricity service to begin with. This bring us to the first step the refusal procedure, withdrawing the implied consent of the account holder. One objective in doing so might be to "protect" the box against unauthorised tampering, which thereby frustrates operations upon it such as may be required to fit a smart meter. The hundreds of thousands of customers worldwide who don't want a smart meter would much prefer a simple "opt" out scheme of the type already offered in some localities. Unfortunately, this freedom of choice usually only transpires as an industry concession to the type of direct actions described below.

Competency

One factor seems to be how lavishly any display of refusal is made. Courts are rigged to maintain the status quo. There is a presumption in law that the "average" citizen, no matter how well informed, is incompetent to argue on matters that imply technical expertise. Irrespective of relevance or common sense, such testimony or evidence may simply not be admitted. This antiquated view, coupled with any historical "acquiescence" on one's part to corporate will, tends to undermine the validity of objecting. Consequently, there is benefit in displaying a high degree of competency, preferably over the longterm; or finding a suitably credentialed advocate. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/incompetent

Human Rights

Most developed countries, Australia included, are signatories to various international (UN) human rights treaties. Provisions against unfair discrimination may apply to involuntary exposure of EHS suffers to ambient EMR. Others dealing with medical procedures specify that informed consent must first be obtained. This could apply to accidental "microwave therapy" from wireless networks since they precipitate known biological effects. Depending on the jurisdiction, individuals may also have Common Law rights relating to nuisance, property damage, and invasion of privacy which over-ride the statutory laws and lax safety standards put in place to protect industry and government revenue. https://www.humanrights.gov.au/common-law-rights-human-rights-scrutiny-and-rule-law

Fire Hazards

    

Smart meters have been the cause of numerous fires worldwide with resulting deaths and loss of property.

.Thermograph of smart meter wiring juction overheating

1 - The Letter

This takes the form of a signed legal Notice sent by registered post, stating that one does not wish to have a smart meter installed for the reasons given. The latter could relate to reasonable concerns over loss of privacy, impaired health, fire hazard, or potentially unfair and discriminatory billing practices. There are a number of examples of such letters on the internet, which can be adapted to suit individual circumstances. Also see the two in the section on smart gas and water meters at the bottom of this page.

http://www.bantexassmartmeters.com/smart-meter-refusal-letter/
http://www.emraware.com.documents/GENERIC - Smart Meter Refusal Letter.docx
http://www.emraware.com/documents/smart_meter_notice.rtf

It is advisable to support any objections with credible legal or scientific evidence. For example, enclosing with the Notice references to peer-reviewed literature on the adverse biological effects of microwaves of the type emitted by the device in question. This has the added effect of forewarning the recipient of probable damage or injury, and thus making them potentially liable for subsequent negligent action or willful avoidance on their part relative to your request.

Does it pay to plead your case or try to reason logically with offical industry or government bodies. In short, no. They are collectively pursuing an intractable economic and control agenda, and are only interested in neutralising your opposition. If you are lucky, you may receive a canned reply telling you there is nothing to worry about. The objective of any such exchange is not negotiation but to simply wear you down to a state of hopelessness. It may be more productive to join with others and approach some of the politicians or legal advocates who are attuned to the cause.

Where to send the Notices? You are probably purchasing electrcity from a "retailer" who buys it from a "distributor", or wholesaler. The former utilises the metered data for billing, while the latter normally owns the meter itself and is responsible for its upkeep. Under Australian consumer law both the retailer and distributor can be subject to liability for products which are defective or cause damage or injury. So, to avoid future buck-passing, address a separate refusal Notice to both parties. Copies of these signed letters can be fastened inside or outside the meter box to advise contractors that their employer has been duly notified. Prior to their arrival, take photos of the original condition of the box and its contents for documentary purposes.

2 - The Sign

To deter unauthorised entry, or "trespass", a plastic laminated sign can be firmly secured to the outer surface of the meter box door declaring the same intent as the Notice above. This should be signed in ink by the occupant and/or owner.

Here is one possible design. There are many more online.

Some activists suggest listing favourable Court rulings relating to trespass upon the sign as a claim of authority. The ones below are particular to Australia.

  • Kuru v State of New South Wales [2008] HCA 26 (12 June 2008)
  • New South Wales v Ibbett [2006] HCA 57; (2006) 231 ALR 485; (2006) 81 ALJR 427 (12 December 2006)
  • Plenty v Dillon [1991] HCA 5; (1991) 171 CLR 635 F.C. 91/004 (7 March 1991)
  • George v Rockett [1990] HCA 26; (1990) 170 CLR 104 (20 June 1990)
  • Halliday v Nevill [1984] HCA 80; (1994) 155 CLR 1 (16 December 1984)

From prior indications, dwelling within this "no trespass" gray area for an indefinite period seldom results in a disconnection, even though threats are frequently made to do so. More likely, it will trigger a campaign of innuendo and baffling jargon, concocted by the best legal minds. To inhibit this from meaningfully progressing, never let them take it up a level by maneuvering you into "denying access" to their meter. "Of course you can access your meter, just don't trespass upon my property".

3 - The Access

The provider's last resort is to assign a private contractor to forcefully fit the smart meter, often waiting until the building is unoccupied. In doing so, they have been known to ignore or tear down posted warning or "no trespass" signs, climb over locked gates, trample gardens, etc. The only way to prepare for this is to physically limit entry to the meter box, such that to circumvent it would constitute trespass and damage to your property. Having said that, the more ruthless installers may simply flout any ensuing liability and cut away impediments to their work. It is also possible that, if caught, the occupant could have them charged or ejected by calling the police. However, the response may be unsympathetic so you need to know your rights to successfully prompt action.

Possible modifications vary according to the type and location of the actual meter(s). Obviously, they need to remain visible to the extent that each can be read for billing. Otherwise, you may receive "estimated" invoice until the situation is resolved one way or the other. Any work must be performed correctly so as not to cause an unsafe and/or "illegal" situation. For example, blocking access to the master switch or circuit breakers poses a risk in the event of a fire or electrical fault.

Due to the wide range of possible scenarios, it would be inappropriate to make specific recommendations. But it is probably safe to say that of the few thousand home occupants in the State of Victoria who successfullly prevented a "mandated" smart meter from being fitted, virtually all did so by physically "locking" their meter box, while stil providing visual access for the meter to be manually read. The following images, included for educational value only, are examples from the internet. Consult both a licensed electrician and legal advisor before proceeding.

    

    

From left-to-right: A patio door lock installed on the hinged panel within this type of meter box deters entry to the hidden wiring, while still allowing meters to be read and "accessed". Locked box with viewing port/flap for meter reader. Locked mounting bracket. Wire screen/mesh cage.

At the Door

Installation of the meter requires that electricity be turned off for a brief time. This could have dire repercussions for persons inside the premises, i.e. someone on life support. For this reason, contractors should ideally announce their arrival, but do not aways do so. If you find them on your property, state what actions have been taken to refuse a meter and demand that they leave immediately; three times if necessary. Call for witnesses if possible. Obtain their official ID, and request that any offers, demands, or threats of "disconnection" be submitted in writing. If they quote a so-called "law", ask for a copy of the actual wording, and ascertain that it is binding upon you and not simply a "mandate" unto them, "company policy", etc.

Having a digital voice recorder or camera ready at the door can provide evidence of events, as well as help ensure personal interaction remains within appropriate bounds. It is also a deterent in itself since no one wants to be recorded performing illegal acts. Subject to certain criteria, individuals have the right to record to media for private use in protecting their legal interests. Installers have no right to touch your person or possessions. Read up on trespass law to determine how and under what circumstances you can insist that someone either leave your property or face the police.

Already Installed?

Have you noticed there is a new meter in your box? The first step is to determine if it is microwave enabled. Due to their similar shape and digital display, some meters can be mistaken for smart meters. So why did one replace your prior analogue (spinning wheel) meter? The primary differences are a computerised time-of-use (TOU) billing function, and, in the case of grid-connected solar, bidirectional measurement of current.

       

Two examples of a TOU meter. These are read on demand by a handheld device, and do not emit microwaves.

If an actual smart meter has made its arrival, the obvious response is to serve a legal Notice requesting that it be removed immediately and the prior analogue type refitted. However, the deed having already been done, success is less likely, at least according to the current regime. Chances might be greater for those who had followed the above three steps. The final options are to move house, switch to stand-alone solar, or band together with others and commence litigation as is presently being done worldwide. Possible avenues for the latter may include Common Law nuisance, tresspass, willful damage, invasion of privacy, or discrimination based upon electro hypersensitivity.

A softer option may be to explain to your supplier that you are "electro-sensitive" and ask that they turn down the meter's emitted signal strength to protect your health. If possible, support this request with a doctor's certificate. This compromise is possible in many instances, since signal strength is often "cranked up" upon installation to ensure reliablity of the mesh network.

Sympathetic employees have even advised occupants how to reduce their exposure by applying metal foil or sheeting to interior walls behind the meter so as to reflect radio frequency signals away from living areas.

In both of the above cases, it would be wise and prudent to confirm the final result with a certified RF meter.

Covering only the outside of the meter may inadvertently reflect RF back through the wall into the building.

Out of sheer desperation, some residents attempt to seal off their meter's EMR with aluminum foil or car windscreen reflectors. However, this usually results in someone eventually coming around to "check on things", issue a warning, and maybe bill you for their time. Similarly, if the an installed smart meter is deliberately disabled or unofficially replaced with an analogue one, the person responsible may be pursued in court for safety breaches or "stealing electricity".

Unless the customer has undertaken to physically interfere with an installed smart meter, or not pay their bills, there are few cases of electrical power to a premises actually being disconnected, in spite of threats to do so. According to law, that could create an "unsafe" situation for the occupants.

For additional information on this technology, and its potential adverse impacts, please refer to our following page which lists organisations offering content on this issue. http://www.emraware.com/organisations.html

Smart Gas and Water Meters

Smart metering of gas and water is also part of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), such as the Landis & Gyr Model 750 gas meter utilised in Australia. Once installed at your premises, these devices can be upgraded with an RF pulse module for wireless transmission of usage data. The transmitted signal is around 400MHz which penetrates the body deeper than the 900MHz of smart electricity meters. Also unlike the latter, the gas meter is powered by a Lithium battery with a stated lifesan of five years. Due to this limitation, there are necessarily fewer transmissions per day. http://www.landisgyr.com/webfoo/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Automatic+Meter+Reading+System.pdf


Landis & Gyr model 750 meter with RF transmitting module attached.

    

An open cage and enclosed box to prevent access without the occupant's consent.

An opposition strategy similar to that used for smart meters can be applied here, with a slight change of wording for legal Notices, and different methods to prevent physical removal of an existing meter or an attached RF module. Prior to any action in this regard, the reader is advised to seek professional advice and ensure that their obligation to the service provider to allow access to their meter is not diminished.

Here is an example of a legal Notice sent to SP AusNet that has so far resulted in the company stating it will replace the customer's existing gas meter with a type that does not emit RF. http://www.emraware.com/documents/letter_sp_ausnet.pdf. And a follow-up letter. http://www.emraware.com/documents/letter_sp_ausnet_2.pdf

Further Reading

Advice from Stop Smart Meters NZ. http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/your-options-if-your-electricity-retailer-sends-you-a-notice-to-say-it-plans-to-install-a-smart-meter/
75,000 Victorians Refuse Smart Meters. http://stopsmartmeters.com.au/2013/11/18/75000-victorians-refuse-smart-meters/
Stop Smart Meters. http://refusesmartmeter.com/Small Steps To Avoid Big Injuries.pdf
How to Refuse Smart Meters to Protect Your Health and Privacy. http://refusesmartmeter.com/Small Steps To Avoid Big Injuries.pdf
Say No to Smart meter Installations - Forum. http://www.ata.org.au/forums/topic/899
Woman's Electricity Cut off After Smart Meter Refusal. This case is presently before VCAT. http://www.streetnews.com.au/womans-electricity-cut-off-after-smart-meter-refusal/
Smart Meters - Refusing Installation? http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1709827

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