Choose Your Own Utility Meter In MA: Getting Involved In Democracy


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Wireless utility meters, called “smart meters” are touted by industry and government as a way to reduce energy costs and usage. However, wireless utility meters also raise health concerns due to the continuous EMF radiation they emit into one’s home and neighborhood. Privacy and security risks are also incurred, as electricity usage data on all individual residencies with these meters is transmitted and stored with utility companies. This data has already been analyzed and used in the courts as evidence in a wide variety of cases involving an individual's daily routines, whereabouts and activities within a house, as well as number of occupants, among other privacy concerns. As for security risks, building the new utility smart meter grid poses huge national security risks by way of hackers being able to disable or tamper with our electricity delivery system from the convenience of their own homes.

Massachusetts has been part of an ongoing nationwide pilot program to switch out (at enormous national expense) all utility meters from the standard analog meters we’ve used for decades without problem or incidence, to the new smart meters laden with health, privacy and security concerns. Most consumers are unaware of the program or that they even have these meters already installed on the outside of their own homes. A MA House bill is currently working its way through legislation that will assure the right to choose what type of utility meter will be installed and operated in one’s home or place of business, and to do so without incurring any fees. The text of the bill can be found here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/SD344 .

You can get involved in the democratic process to protect yet another of your rights concerning your health and privacy by contacting your State senator or representative to ask them to co-sponsor this bill, expressing your support for it. Make your contact by Tuesday, January 31 for greatest effect. The House deadline for co-sponsors to sign on to this session’s smart meter opt-out bill, SD344, sponsored by Senator Michael Moore, is next Friday, February 3rd.  Senators have more time to sign on, but all legislators are currently deep in the process of deciding which bills to co-sponsor, so now is the time to make contact. As of Thursday, January 26, Representative Diana DiZoglio and Representative David Linsky had officially signed on as co-sponsors. 
If you have already contacted your Representative and your Senator, now is the time when a follow-up email, or a phone call together with a follow-up email, can make a difference. We have been told that legislative aides print out all email requests for co-sponsorship and gather them into a great pile for their Representative or Senator to review. (My own Representative reportedly has around 6000 bills to review!) An email can be fairly brief.   (e.g., Dear Senator/ Representative,  I hope you will sign on as a co-sponsor of SD344, the smart meter opt out bill. Wireless utility meters raise concerns about security, privacy, and health which are not being properly addressed. All Massachusetts ratepayers should have the right to choose what type of utility meters they will have and to do so without paying any fees.) If you have more time, you are welcome to send a one-page introduction to the subject, complete with references. But please consider sending something to be printed out and physically placed in front of the legislator.  Legislators can send requests to be co-sponsors of the new bill, SD344, through the online system LAWS.

 If your own Representative or Senator happened to be one of the co-sponsors of last session’s smart meter opt-out bill, H. 2868, or of one of the budget amendments  based on H. 2868, by all means remind and thank him/ her for past support and ask him/ her to commit to co-sponsorship again this year.

THESE ARE THE SENATORS WHO CO-SPONSORED H. 2868 IN 2015:
Jennifer L. Flanagan, 617-722-1230  Jennifer.Flanagan@masenate.gov
Michael O. Moore617-722-1485  Michael.Moore@masenate.gov
Richard J. Ross,  617-722-1555  Richard.Ross@masenate.gov

THESE ARE THE REPRESENTATIVES WHO CO-SPONSORED H.2868 IN 2015:
Former Representative Stephen L. DiNatale, Sponsor
Brian M. Ashe, 617-722-2017   Brian.Ashe@mahouse.gov  
Jennifer E. Benson, 617-722-2014  Jennifer.Benson@mahouse.gov
Angelo L. D’Emilia, 616-722-2488 Angelo.D’Emilia@mahouse.gov
Marjorie C. Decker, 617-722-2450  Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov
Geoff Diehl, 617-722-2810  Geoff.Diehl@mahouse.gov
Diana DiZoglio, 617-722-2060  Diana.DiZoglio@mahouse.gov
Michelle M. DuBois, 617-722-2011  michelle.dubois@mahouse.gov
John V. Fernandes, 617-722-2396  John.Fernandes@mahouse.gov
Paul McMurtry, 617-722-2582  Paul.McMurtry@mahouse.gov
Keiko M. Orrall, 617-722-2090  Keiko.Orrall@mahouse.gov
Dennis A. Rosa, 617-722-2396  Dennis.Rosa@mahouse.gov
Donald H. Wong, 617-722-2488  Donald.Wong@mahouse.gov

THESE ARE THE SENATORS WHO CO-SPONSORED BUDGET AMENDMENT #868 LAST SPRING:
Michael O. Moore, Sponsor, 617-722-1485  Michael.Moore@masenate.gov
James B. Eldridge, 617-722-1120  James.Eldridge@masenate.gov
Jennifer L. Flanagan, 617-722-1230  Jennifer.Flanagan@masenate.gov
Jason M. Lewis, 617-722-1206  Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov
Kathleen O'Connor Ives, 617-722-1604  Kathleen.O’ConnorIves@masenate.go

THESE ARE THE REPRESENTATIVES WHO CO-SPONSORED BUDGET AMENDMENT #709 LAST SPRING: 
Marjorie C. Decker,  Sponsor, 617-722-2450  Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov
Brian M. Ashe, 617-722-2017   Brian.Ashe@mahouse.gov  
 James M. Cantwell, 617-722-2140  James.Cantwell@mahouse.gov
 Diana DiZoglio, 617-722-2060  Diana.DiZoglio@mahouse.gov
 Dennis A. Rosa, 617-722-2396  Dennis.Rosa@mahouse.gov
 Former Representative Tom Sannicandro 
 Former Representative Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

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