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IF Power hosts meeting to address Smart Grid health concerns

By By Caleb James, Reporter
Published On: Feb 13 2013 12:44:58 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 13 2013 11:04:47 AM CST

Caleb James reports.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

As a trial period continues for a Smart Grid power system in town, Idaho Falls Power has been hosting open houses to address neighborhood concerns.

The company is planning a transition to a system where energy consumption would be reported directly to the power company from customer homes.

On Tuesday night, medical experts addressed concerns about the radio frequency emissions from Smart Grid meters.

“It's this meter that communicates back to us,” said Idaho Falls Power assistant general manager Bear Prairie.

Prairie said the Tuesday night meeting was about putting Smart Grid technology into context.

“Are all radio frequencies harmless?” said Prairie. “Are they all harmful?”

Questions about the health of the radio frequency emitting Smart Grid meters has been in the air as an estimated 900 trial period meters are deployed throughout Idaho Falls.

Prairie said medical experts and radio frequency experts will use the Tuesday night meeting to compare and contrast the emissions from smart meters with common applications already in use.

“Wi-Fi routers, baby monitors, a host of different things we're operating in our daily environment,” said Prairie.

A pamphlet handed out at the meeting showed an individual would have to be exposed to the emissions from a smart meter for 375 years to equal the dose from just one year of cell phone use at 15 minutes per day.

But a group of Idaho Falls neighbors opposed to Smart Grid technology passed out their own literature at the meeting.

They said there is no definitive proof the meters are safe.

“They are gentlemen who've been paid to come and propagandize the people of Idaho Falls that smart meters are good,” said Don Shanz, who is a member of the group A5.

The full name of the group is the American Alliance for Advancing Awareness and Action.

The pamphlet passed out at the meeting detailed concerns about cost, privacy, security, health and constitutional violations.

The A5 group will hold their own meeting Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Linden Park Elementary School in Idaho Falls

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