Energy and Climate Change CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Rachel Acworth (SMR114)

To whom it concerns

I am deeply concerned to read of the government’s plans to coerce everyone in the UK into having Smart meters in their homes. I am not a scientist, but I am well-educated: I am a trained nurse; I have a fist class degree in Theology from Exeter University; an MA from King’s College, London and an MMus from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. I expect to be treated as a sensible, intelligent human being, able to make my own mind up about whether I should subject myself or my family to unnecessary RF EMF’s in our home. I do not like the implication in your questions that I need to be convinced/persuaded to accept a Smart Meter in my home. We have chosen not to have WiFi in our home, and since removing it, we have all felt noticeably better (no headaches, for example when using the computer). I have a mobile phone which is turned on for emergencies only and I believe it is a basic human right to choose to avoid EMF’s as much as possible. I absolutely do NOT want a Smart meter in my home and already I am alarmed to hear friends in the UK recounting how they have been threatened with legal action if they refuse. There is SO MUCH scientific evidence from around the world demonstrating the devastating biological effects on not just human life, but animal and plant life too, that I find it incredible that any intelligent, moral government would even consider increasing the EMF load in our country. (www.bioinitiative.org) Why can’t we learn from the messages around the world of chaos, illness, and so on, and choose NOT to have wireless Smart meters here at all. It makes me deeply suspicious about your moral integrity and the real motivation for these meters. Really, truthfully, WHO is going to benefit from this? The companies (in China?) who manufacture them? The sums don’t add up, as your own audit suggested last year. Please, please, listen to the scientists and doctors around the world who are dealing with the fall-out from EMFs every day in their work. Oncology doctors around the world are deeply concerned about the effects of EMFs. Clearly the fact that the government gains so much in tax from all these gadgets: mobile phones, 3G and now 4G, is a huge influence. Maybe it is time that the long-term (hidden?) costs in terms of cancer treatments and health care should take priority? I work as a singing teacher and therapist, and am working closely with a number of Electromagnetically sensitive people. Their symptoms are severe, and NOT imagined. Please, if nothing else, take this growing group’s concerns about Smart meters seriously.

1. Are the Government’s cost and timescale predictions for roll-out realistic and will it deliver value for money? No, the government’s own audit last year found that Smart meters would not be cost effective.

2. What are the potential benefits of smart meters for consumers, and what barriers need to be overcome in order for consumers to realise them? Are there any real benefits for the consumer at all? Why aren’t you considering potential hazards for consumers, which are not difficult to find, given the examples already occurring around the world of illness, increased bills, chaos in New York during their recent storms made worse by Smart meters not working. Instead of talking about barriers to be overcome for consumers to realise “benefits”, consumers are wondering what barriers need to be overcome to get our government to listen to our concerns and look at the alternatives, such as Wired Smart meters.

3. Is there a possibility that suppliers will gain considerably more than consumers from smart meters? YES. Is enough being done to ensure that any financial benefits accruing to suppliers will be passed on to consumers? NO.

4. What lessons can be learned from successful smart meter implementation and usage elsewhere in the world? What lessons should be learned from the problems that have arisen?

5. Will smart meters empower customers to take greater control of their energy consumption? NO

6. Will consumers on pre-pay meters obtain the same benefits from smart meters as other consumers? Pass

7. Should vulnerable customers and the fuel-poor be first in line for smart meters so they can get the benefits sooner? What benefits?

8. What is the best way of involving third-party trusted messengers, such as charities, consumer groups, community organisations, local authorities and housing associations in roll-out?

9. What are the potential obstacles to rolling out smart meters in the UK and how should these be addressed? What pitfalls have hindered roll-out programmes elsewhere and are we doing all we can to avoid them? You are so hell bent on installing these things inspite of scientific and anecdotal evidence that EMFs are dangerous to human health and well-being as well as having implications for all life on earth, including BEES on whom we depend, ultimately. see bioinitative.org

10. Are levels of public awareness of and support for smart meter roll-out increasing? Who knows? Are you throwing enough money at it?

11. Is enough being done to increase consumer awareness about smart meters? Could DECC’s consumer engagement strategy be improved?

12. Are consumers’ concerns about privacy and health being addressed adequately? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

13. Is there any evidence that consumers’ concerns about smart meters are declining or growing? My concerns are growing. I will not have a smart meter in my home.

14. Will the commercial benefits of smart meter roll-out be captured within the UK?

15. Will DECC’s current approach to roll-out, including on procurement and establishment of the central Data and Communications Company, deliver an optimal data and communications strategy? The same results could be achieved with WIRED smart meters.

16. What criteria should DECC use to measure the ongoing success of roll-out? Pass

I hope you are able to gather together a terrific team of scientists and doctors who can really advise you on the issues at stake here. I wish you well in your decision-making process.

February 2013

Prepared 26th July 2013